SUSSEX - Gavin Snake, 27, of Sussex regularly wore a Homeland Security badge around his neck and passed out business cards identifying him as an officer, "almost every time he was out," according to the criminal complaint, but investigators said the badge was purchased on Amazon.
On Jan. 27, Justin Ness, a friend of Snake's, called police to report a smell of marijuana, which he said was likely coming from Snake's apartment. Ness said Snake was also a Homeland Security officer, and when police arrived to Snake's residence, he introduced himself as an officer.
Snake showed police the silver badge fastened to his belt, labeled "special police," and said he was part of a drug task force. After police contacted Snake again, the complaint said, he had also fastened a radio with a microphone connected to his belt, similar to the way police do.
When investigators told Snake he was lying, he admitted to the lie and said he did it because, "they (Homeland Security officers) are a good role model."
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed he was not an officer. Investigators also researched Snake's Facebook page and found numerous photos of him wearing a Homeland Security uniform in public.
Ness, who first reported the marijuana smell, told officers Snake had been telling friends that a deputy had harassed his girlfriend and threatened to put her in a mental hospital while at Community Memorial Hospital, where she works. According to the complaint, Snake said he was going to kill the deputy for abusing his powers as a law enforcement officer.
Snake faces one count of impersonating a peace officer and a second count for threatening a law enforcement officer, which carry maximum penalties of six years and nine months in jail and/or $20,000 in fines.