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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Marion man pleads guilty to impersonating U.S. Marshal

A 52-year-old Belleview man pleaded guilty this week to impersonating a Deputy United States Marshal.

On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced that Derry Wayne Lambert has pleaded guilty to the charge of falsely impersonating a federal officer.

Derry Wayne Lambert
Derry Wayne Lambert

Lambert faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet.

According to the plea agreement and arrest report, on July 31, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office corporal was at the Marathon gas station near S Highway 301 and SE Highway 42 when an “unfamiliar emergency siren” was heard in the area. The corporal then observed a black pickup truck with no agency insignia that was equipped with flashing red and blue emergency lights, a Public Address (PA) system, and an audible siren.

The arrest report stated that the pickup truck drove around other vehicles and through a red light. Since there were no calls for service in the area at the time that would require this type of response, the corporal approached the pickup truck and conducted a traffic stop.

The corporal made contact with the pickup truck’s driver and sole occupant, identified as Lambert. He was wearing a hat with a Department of Justice seal and lettering that said “Police U.S. Marshal.”

Derry Wayne Lambert photo showing hat and badge (impersonating U.S. Marshal)
Lambert’s hat and badge (Photos: United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida)

Lambert presented the corporal with a fake U.S. Marshal badge and claimed that he was investigating gang activity in Marion Oaks. He added that he was responding to a shooting in Marion Oaks, though the report stated that there were no reported shootings in the area.

The corporal attempted to verify Lambert’s alleged law enforcement status with negative results, and MCSO’s U.S. Marshal liaison was contacted in order to interview Lambert. During the interview, Lambert claimed that he works “out of Texas” for the U.S. Marshals, and he stated that his law enforcement credentials were in his work vehicle.

Man arrested in Marion County for impersonating U.S. Marshal
Lambert speaking with MCSO’s U.S. Marshal liaison over the phone (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

MCSO stated that the pickup truck Lambert was driving at the time of the traffic stop, which was identified as his personal vehicle, was equipped with emergency lights and an array of sirens. When asked why his personal vehicle had the flashing lights and sirens, Lambert told investigators, “In Texas, it’s not like here.”

Man arrested in Marion County for impersonating U.S. Marshal 3
Lambert’s pickup truck was equipped with emergency lights and sirens (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

Lambert provided inconsistent information throughout the interview, and investigators determined that Lambert was impersonating a Deputy U.S. Marshal. During a search of his pickup truck, a .380 caliber pistol was found in addition to the full control panel for the emergency lights and sirens, according to MCSO.

Man arrested in Marion County for impersonating U.S. Marshal 1
Lambert speaking with investigators while detained in an MCSO patrol vehicle (Photo: Marion County Sheriff’s Office)

Lambert was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail on July 31. Several days later, he was released from the jail on $18,000 bond.

This case was investigated by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Janette Swartzberg.