Courts & Crime

Passport application exposed Alaska policeman's identity

Federal authorities caught an illegal immigrant from Mexico working as an Anchorage police officer after he and the U.S. citizen he was impersonating filed for separate passports using the same personal information, police said Tuesday.

Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, faces one count of passport fraud in federal court. It's unclear yet if additional federal or state charges will be filed, or if the dozens of cases Mora-Lopez investigated during almost six years on the police force are in jeopardy.

Court records indicate Mora-Lopez posted bail Tuesday and was released under conditions that include home confinement and electronic monitoring.

He was known to the Anchorage Police Department as officer Rafael Espinoza, thought to be 51 years old. The alleged imposter was a respected patrol officer who worked nights and received an award last year for saving a person's life, according to Police Chief Mark Mew.

But it appears he was living a lie.

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