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Rio Rico men arrested for pretending to be cops

Posted at 10:39 AM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 11:59:48-04

RIO RICO, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Police have arrested two men for pretending to be police officers, pulling someone over and then posting about it on Facebook. 

Nogales Police Sgt. Robert Fierros tells KGUN9 that officers received information about a suspicious dark blue Chevrolet sedan with red and blue police lights in the area of Paseo Escoba in Rio Rico on Tuesday night. 

Police found the car, a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu that had red and blue police lights fixed to the front windshield. With the car, they found and detained 28-year-old Ernesto Garate. 

During the investigation, officers learned of a Facebook video posted showing a car with red and blue lights activated pulling over another car. 

"In the video, we can hear chuckling and joking, there's some vulgar language in Spanish," said Fierros. "And it appears that they may have been just stopping the car and then driving off after that."

Police say the men are Garate and 26-year-old Jorge Orozco. Police say the fake traffic stop happened at the end of February within the city of Nogales. 

From the initial investigation, Nogales Police say it appears the two men merely thought this was entertaining. But for Nogales Police, this was far from a joke especially after they investigated a home invasion case in January where multiple suspects posed as police in tactical gear and stormed into a Nogales home. 

Fierros says as of right now, there's no indication the two cases are connected. 
"In seeing the danger that this first case posed to the community and now seeing this vehicle, we would certainly want to make sure that we communicate this and look into this as far as we can," he said. 

Both men were charged with a felony count of impersonating a police officer through the Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office. Nogales Police investigated this case with the assistance of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

There is at least one incident where the men used the vehicle to impersonate a police officer, but officers believe there may have been other similar incidents in the Nogales/Rio Rico area.

For both officer safety and community safety, police ask the public to report any information they believe may be related to this case or if they had contact with this suspects or vehicle.

You can report information to Nogales Police by calling 520-287-9111.