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Ex-Homeland Security investigator accused of impersonating officer

Members of the Clovis, N.M., Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics team handcuff a U.S. airman during a hostile threat exercise at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., June 20, 2012. (Airman 1st Class Eboni Reece/U.S. Air Force)

A former U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigator faces felony charges after being accused of lying that he was an active agent to Richmond County deputies.

Maurice Dale McNeal, 46, of Appling, was arrested about midnight Saturday after he tried to pull over a vehicle under the guise of being a Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The incident happened in a parking lot off Walton Way Extension, the release said. Deputies were already in the parking lot due to an unrelated call.

McNeal told the driver and deputies that he was a Homeland Security special agent, the release said. He also allegedly showed them a Homeland Security ID and a Customs and Border Patrol ID.

The deputies became suspicious once he told them that someone in the vehicle stole a camera from his motorcycle, the release said. They contacted Homeland Security, which said, “McNeal no longer worked for their agency or U.S. Customs,” according to the sheriff’s office.

Homeland Security spokesman Lindsay Williams confirmed to that McNeal had been an employee of his agency, but he could not provide further details. Williams could neither confirm nor deny whether Homeland Security has an active investigation involving McNeal.

A Customs and Border Patrol spokesman said he was looking into whether McNeal is an ex-agent with his agency as well.

McNeal, who was carrying a 9 mm handgun during the incident, faces counts of impersonating an officer and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Anyone with information is asked to contact deputies at 706-821-1020 or 706-821-1080.


© 2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution