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Police: Illegal immigrant working as officer caught when stolen ID victim sought passport

Posted: April 26, 2011 - 8:25pm
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In this undated photo provided by the Anchorage Police Department, Rafael Mora-Lopez is shown. Mora-Lopez pleaded not guilty Friday, April 22, 2011, to charges of passport fraud in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Federal agents processing a renewal request for his passport discovered the alleged fraud. Mora-Lopez had been employed as an Anchorage police officer since 2005 under the name Rafael Espinoza. He was arrested Thursday, April 21, 2011, after federal and state authorities searched his home and found documents confirming his true identity. (AP Photo/Anchorage Police Department)
In this undated photo provided by the Anchorage Police Department, Rafael Mora-Lopez is shown. Mora-Lopez pleaded not guilty Friday, April 22, 2011, to charges of passport fraud in U.S. District Court in Anchorage. Federal agents processing a renewal request for his passport discovered the alleged fraud. Mora-Lopez had been employed as an Anchorage police officer since 2005 under the name Rafael Espinoza. He was arrested Thursday, April 21, 2011, after federal and state authorities searched his home and found documents confirming his true identity. (AP Photo/Anchorage Police Department)

ANCHORAGE — Authorities say a Mexico-born illegal immigrant working as a police officer in Alaska was caught only after the U.S. citizen whose identity he stole applied for a passport.

Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said Tuesday that Rafael Espinoza lives outside of the U.S. and recently applied for a passport. Mew says around the same time, the officer using Espinoza’s name had applied for a passport renewal.

Rafael Mora-Lopez was arrested last week after federal agents processing his renewal request discovered the alleged fraud. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of passport fraud.

Authorities say documents revealing his true identity were found in his home.

Mora-Lopez has been working as a police officer in Anchorage for six years.

Authorities say he and Espinoza have no known criminal records.

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