GREENBELT, Md. – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Antione William Tuckson, age 37, of Waldorf, Maryland, for federal charges of false impersonation of an officer and employee of the United States and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment was returned on May 12, 2022, and unsealed upon his arrest on May 20, 2022. A federal criminal complaint was filed on May 19, 2022 charging co-conspirator Nijea Nicole Rich, age 40, of Baltimore, Maryland with impersonating a federal officer and conspiracy to impersonate a federal officer. Rich was also arrested on May 20, 2022.
Tuckson and Rich had their initial appearances late on May 20, 2022 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan ordered that Tuckson be detained pending trial, and ordered that Rich be released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.
The indictment and criminal complaint were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; U.S. Marshal Johnny Hughes; Postal Inspector in Charge Greg L. Torbenson of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
According to the two-count indictment, the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint and other court documents, Tuckson and Rich purported to be and identified themselves as a Deputy United States Marshal. The indictment alleges that Tuckson illegally possessed a 9mm caliber semi-automatic pistol.
According to court documents and information presented to the Court at the initial appearance and detention hearing, Tuckson allegedly has a history of impersonating law enforcement officers and since December 2020, Tuckson has allegedly used the registered trademark “USMS Special Services,” along with police-style vehicles equipped with red and blue flashing lights, weapons, a fake identification card and badge, and other law enforcement gear to pose as a Deputy United States Marshal.
As detailed in court documents, on March 6, 2022, while working as an armed security guard with a canine companion at a restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Tuckson allegedly attempted to detain two patrons who had disputed their bill. Court documents allege that Tuckson then falsely held himself out as a Deputy United States Marshal to Prince George’s County Police Department (“PGPD”) officers in an attempt to justify his unlawful possession of a firearm. When confronted by PGPD officers as to Tuckson’s status as a federal officer, Tuckson allegedly had Rich pose as his supervisor within the United States Marshals Service in communications with PGPD. Police arrested Tuckson and recovered a loaded 9mm firearm from Tuckson’s hip during the search incident to his arrest.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, shortly after Tuckson was arrested, Rich, wearing police-style clothing, arrived on the scene and claimed to Prince George’s County Police officers that the canine was her emotional support animal and was also a patrol dog owned by Tuckson. Rich was wearing tan tactical pants, was armed with a handgun, and carried two sets of handcuffs, a radio, and what appeared to be an expandable baton. At one point, Rich allegedly stated to the officers, “You locked up a U.S. Marshal?” Officers contacted the Prince George’s County Animal Services Division (“ASD”), who took custody of the canine.
Early the next morning, Rich allegedly identified herself as a U.S. Marshal and displayed an identification card that said U.S. Marshal to an ASD employee, who was unloading the canine from a van. Rich allegedly told the ASD employee that the man arrested was a U.S. Marshal and that the dog was a working dog and belonged to the Marshals Service. According to the affidavit, Rich arrived in a black sedan that looked like a police vehicle and was wearing a black Kevlar vest. The ASD employee released the dog to Rich.
As detailed in the affidavit and other court documents, U.S. Marshals Service personnel searched its databases and found no record that Tuckson or Rich are or ever were U.S. Marshals or employees of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Law enforcement executed a search of Tuckson’s home on May 20, 2022, and recovered firearms, including an AR-style rifle and a pistol-grip pump-action shotgun.
If convicted, Tuckson and Rich each face a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison for impersonating a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Rich faces a maximum of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy. Tuckson also faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment or a criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment or criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy F. Hagan, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter L. Cooch, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.