I-Team: Man charged with impersonating a federal officer during local protests

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One man may have had members of law enforcement convinced he was one of them during a Black Lives Matter protest on May 30. According to records, two Metro leaders even spoke to Zachary Sanns during the demonstration.

Sanns is the husband of a Metro officer, and now, he is being charged by the US Attorney’s Office for impersonating one.

The incident happened in downtown Las Vegas, where prosecutors say Sanns blended in with police during a protest, posing as a federal agent.

A criminal complaint alleges Sanns donned a tactical vest similar to what law enforcement would wear. He also wore:

  • A ballistic helmet with night vision goggles
  • Mask
  • Gun belt with a pistol
  • Taser
  • Pepper spray
  • AR-15 rifle

A Metro Deputy Chief told him he did not want him on the front line facing protesters with an AR-15. The chief assumed he may have been a federal agent, and when asked, Sanns said he was a federal officer.

Assistant Sheriff Chris Jones asked him who he was with, and Sanns told him the State Department.

The sergeant who Sanns’ wife serves under even went to a party at their home, where Sanns showed him his weapons. The sergeant believed Sanns worked in law enforcement.

Police started connecting the dots, though, after Sanns made a complaint to Metro about his wife’s coworkers.

They confirmed he is not a federal employee and was enlisted in the Marine Corps from 2011-2016. He was also a Department of Defense contractor for the US Navy for less than a month last December.

They also saw a photo posted by the Las Vegas Review Journal, which showed tattoos on Sanns, including the SS font used by Nazi units in World War II. It is an authorized symbol used by some Marine Corps scout snipers.

Prosecutors said when Sanns was taken into custody, he continued to say he was an “off the books contractor” for a federal agency.

He is charged with impersonating a federal officer and is in custody in Pahrump.

It appears the court date for Sanns is not yet scheduled.

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