Crime & Courts

Former ICE agent impersonated supervisor, tried to get man out of Kansas jail, feds say

A former Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer is charged with impersonating an ICE supervisor in an attempt to have a man released from a Kansas jail.

Andrew J. Pleviak was indicted Wednesday in federal court on one count of false impersonation of a federal officer, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release.

Prosecutors alleged that Pleviak, 42, of Topeka, tried to get the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office to release a man from custody last month. Pleviak was formerly an ICE officer and falsely claimed to be an ICE supervisor when speaking with a Kingman County sheriff’s deputy.

The man Pleviak allegedly tried to help, Juan Diego Tapia-Alfaro, was arrested Aug. 2 after a search warrant was served at his Kingman County home. The sheriff’s office, ICE’s Wichita office and the Kansas Department of Revenue were investigating after Tapia-Alfaro was accused of fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license using the identity of someone living in Puerto Rico.

Pleviak’s attempt to get the man released from jail included five phone calls, which the sheriff’s office recorded, and showing up in person with a memorandum on ICE letterhead from the agency’s Wichita office, according to an affidavit filed in support of the charge.

Pleviak had claimed he was a real ICE supervisory deportation officer in Wichita and that ICE was going to drop the immigration detainer on Tapia-Alfaro, the affidavit said. The fake letter said that Tapia-Alfaro had been in the U.S. for 18 years and had four children who are U.S. citizens.

Pleviak, purporting to be the ICE supervisor, claimed that Tapia-Alfaro was working with ICE and the Drug Enforcement Administration and was “their most important confidential informant for the biggest drug traffickers in Kansas,” according to the affidavit. Without him out on the street, Pleviak allegedly wrote in the fake letter, “the case they’ve been working on for over a year will stop.”

Pleviak was arrested about 10 minutes after showing up to the jail with the letter.

Tapia-Alfaro told a deportation officer that he met Pleviak while working at Pleviak’s home.

If convicted, Pleviak could face up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Pleviak previously was an ICE agent, but was convicted in 2018 of violating a federal computer security statute. That federal case came after a KAKE-TV anchor told Wichita police that Pleviak was sending her sensitive law enforcement material and sexual texts.

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