MARION COUNTY, Fla. — A Central Florida man faces years in federal prison after pleading guilty to impersonating law enforcement.
According to an incident report, an actual Marion County deputy was filling up their patrol car at the Marathon Gas Station on U.S. Highway 301 in Summerfield on July 31 when they heard the sound of an unfamiliar siren approaching the intersection at U.S. Highway 42.
The Deputy said they watched as a black GMC pickup truck traveling northbound on U.S. 301 passed several vehicles on the right shoulder as they were stopped at the red light.
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According to the report, the truck had flashing red and blue lights and continued through the intersection as the signal remained red.
The deputy at the gas station said they became suspicious after noting there were no priority calls for service in the area at the time that would require such a response, so they stopped fueling and went to stop the truck.
Deputies say the driver, later identified as 52-year-old Derry Wayne Lambert of Belleview, was wearing a black hat with “Police U.S. Marshal” and a Department of Justice seal on it. They also noted he was holding a gold badge with “U.S. Marshal Service” on it.
When asked where he was going, deputies say Lambert claimed to be heading to a shooting in the Marion Oaks area.
When asked why his driver’s side mirror was missing, Lambert said it was shot out while he was working a call in Marion Oaks the previous night.
Deputies say Lambert was unable to produce credentials from the U.S. Marshal Service with his name and picture on them, claiming he left them at home in his other vehicle.
An actual deputy U.S. Marshal with the sheriff’s office responded to the scene to interview Lambert. During the interview, Lambert admitted to activating the lights in his truck to enter the intersection.
According to the sheriff’s office, Lambert again claimed he was on his way to assist his “squad” with a case he was working and deactivated his lights once he made it through the intersection because he was canceled from the call.
According to the report, Lambert repeated the claim that he was a U.S. Marshal based out of Texas sent to Florida to conduct an investigation in Marion Oaks.
However, the actual Deputy U.S. Marshal noted Lambert was unable to provide answers to basic questions that a U.S. Marshal should know, like where he’s assigned and his current job assignment.
Once the Special Deputy determined Lambert was not with the U.S. Marshal Service, he was placed under arrest for false impersonation of a law enforcement officer, unlawful use of a badge, and unlawful use of blue lights.
Deputies say they also found a .380 caliber pistol in Lambert’s truck, leading to another charge of possession of a firearm while committing a felony.
After Lambert was booked into jail, deputies say they found a hidden compartment in his wallet containing seven pills later identified as the anti-anxiety drug diazepam. For that, Lambert was also charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and smuggling contraband into a prison.
The State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that Lambert pleaded guilty to false impersonation of a federal officer. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in federal prison.
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