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Raleigh man gets 30-month prison term for impersonating a federal law officer

This undated file mug shot provided by the Wake City-County Bureau of Identification shows Christian Desgroux, 58, who is accused of impersonating a federal officer.
This undated file mug shot provided by the Wake City-County Bureau of Identification shows Christian Desgroux, 58, who is accused of impersonating a federal officer. File

A man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for impersonating a federal law enforcement officer.

Christian Gerald Desgroux, a Raleigh auto mechanic, received a 30-month sentence and three years of supervised probation from Chief United States District Court Judge Terrence W. Boyle, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Authorities say Desgroux pretended to be a federal officer and used the 911 Raleigh-Wake Communication Center Nov. 27, 2018, to report “that a bomb was contained in a van being operated by illegal immigrants, who were planning to take the bomb to Washington, D.C.,” the release says.

Court records say Desgroux, 59, falsely stated he was in pursuit of the vehicle and that the occupants were firing at him.

Raleigh police say 18 officers responded to the emergency call, resulting in Glenwood Avenue being shut down in both directions for over 45 minutes, according to the release.

Raleigh police determined the incident was a hoax, the release says.

Desgroux previously has pleaded guilty to impersonating a military officer and landing a helicopter at SAS in Cary in November 2017. He was sentenced July 31, 2018, and was serving a term of supervised release at the time of the incident.

In that situation, he posed as a U.S. Army general and piloted a helicopter to the SAS campus in Cary to impress a woman, authorities said.

Desgroux was born in Chile and became a U.S. citizen in 2016, The News & Observer previously reported. He came to the United States in 1978 and moved to Raleigh in 1980.

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Joe Johnson is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer. He most recently covered towns in western Wake County and Chatham County. Before that, he covered high school sports for The Herald-Sun.
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