He apparently also bragged to patrons at a strip club in City of Industry that he was an ICE agent. Here's KTLA's story on Matthew Ryan Johnston's 2-year sentence - w/ a working link to the DOJ news release: https://t.co/kYlhHA3cnx— Melissa Pamer (@mpamer) May 23, 2018
Matthew Johnston, 26, had every one of his friends and family members believe he was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
He was far from it, though.
Johnston, who lived in Fontana, California, was able to fool every one he knew he was an ICE agent. The man had acquired a full regalia of an ICE agent, including the uniform, the badges, police lights, Homeland Security ID, handcuffs, handgun and a tactical vest emblazoned with the words “federal agent.” He completed his persona by having a Facebook page in which he wrote his job description as “fugitive apprehension” for the DHS.
In fact, he enjoyed his pretense to the maximum.
Johnston once pursued a car and flashed his fake police lights, which caused a collision, according to the prosecutor. He also once pretended to be an ICE agent to speak to someone over an undocumented immigrant and used his fake status to brag about in a strip club in Industry, California.
However, his fake persona went down in shambles, all because his girlfriend was stopped by a deputy.
On Oct 11, 2017, a deputy pulled over Johnston’s girlfriend after she accidentally activated his fake blue and red police lights on his white Audi. When she was questioned, the girlfriend said the car belonged to her boyfriend who was an ICE agent. After further confirmation, the deputy told Johnston’s girlfriend to take off the lights and let her drive away.
But the next day, when he asked about Johnston at a local ICE office, he was told there was no person of that name working there. A more careful search of ICE records showed Johnston never worked there.
The deputy then went to the girlfriend’s home and asked her about him. She showed him a picture of Johnston, his DHS ID card and a badge that proclaimed “Special Agent Matthew Johnston” had “Clearance Level 2.”
She also said Johnston was in the habit of giving her $1,500 or 2,000 each week , if she needed money.
After the incident, the local and federal enforcement got a warrant to search Johnston’s home and found 32 firearms, around 10,000 rounds of ammo, homemade rocket launchers and rockets, cannon fuses and other explosive devices.
They also uncovered a huge treasure trove of homemade explosives, including an exploded pipe bomb and expended smoke grenade, in a desert where Johnston traveled.
When questioned why he concocted this elaborate deception, Johnston said it was because his ex-wife shamed him in front of his daughter and told her “he had done nothing with his life.” He decided to pretend to be an ICE agent to show his friends and family “he was ‘somebody’ and had done something with his life,” showed court records.
Johnston was arrested and pleaded guilty to possessing an unregistered destructive device found in his home. He is now sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Perhaps if Johnston had spent this much effort in actually finding a job, he would not be in this predicament.
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