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Press Release

Suspected Pseudocop Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Jose Luis Rodriguez-Treto, a 28-year-old Mexican citizen, has entered a plea of guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. 

On Jan. 22, 2013, two Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents were in their unmarked government vehicle and moved to exit the highway. Rodriguez-Treto was driving his black Ford Escape and activated flashing white lights similar to those used in law enforcement vehicles from behind the agents. Based on the flashing lights and the type of vehicle, the agents believed they were being pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle.

However, rather than pulling them over, Rodriguez-Treto passed them with the vehicle still displaying flashing white lights in front and flashing red lights in the rear. As he passed, the agents noticed a car seat in the back seat and believed him not to be a law enforcement officer. In fact, they thought they were observing a pseudocop vehicle on its way to, or coming from, a crime. 

Pseudocops are individuals who portray themselves as law enforcement for the purposes of committing crimes, primarily narcotics-related thefts of drugs or money.

The agents stopped Rodriguez-Treto, who was travelling with his wife and infant child. At that time, agents discovered a loaded pistol magazine in his pocket, a pistol hidden in the glove box, a pistol hidden in the diaper bag, a rifle under the back seat, police scanners, a badge stating “special police,” and other law enforcement paraphernalia. Rodriguez-Treto is a Mexican citizen with no legal status in the United States and admitted to owning the weapons. 

Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle has set sentencing for June 26, 2013, at which time he faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Rodriguez-Treto will remain in custody pending that hearing.

This case was investigated by HSI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph Leonard and Ana Cano. 

Updated April 30, 2015