FROM:  Nick Muyo, Public Information Office 408-792-2826   CONTACT PERSON:  Special Agent Lamont Scott (510) 637-5051   For release on January 14, 2008   U.S. CUSTOMS OFFICER CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANORS FOR ILLEGAL TRAFFIC STOPS   On 1-2-08, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office caused a complaint to be issued against U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer Thomas Murphy, age 59, who is charged with two counts of detaining a person against his or her will under color of authority (Penal Code Section 146); and two counts of impersonating a peace officer (Penal Code Section 538d (b)(2)).  The charges stem from an investigation that began in September 2007, after a man reported being pulled over by Murphy on Highway 101 at the 13th Street off ramp.  The man said Murphy asked him questions and then searched the vehicle.  Murphy confiscated the driver’s property then left.    Investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating anyone else who may have been pulled over by Murphy on Highway 101 or on Interstate 680.  Investigators say Murphy purchased a red flashing light for his 2002 green SUV, which he used to make the traffic stops.  Investigators believe the car stops were made between October 2006 and September 2007.  Murphy lives in the South Bay but commuted to the North Bay daily for work.  An investigation revealed that he made the stops along his route to and from work.  Murphy is not a peace officer and is not permitted to make traffic stops.  He is currently on administrative leave from his job as a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer.   Mr. Murphy has since self-surrendered and is scheduled to appear in court on February 25, 2008.   If anyone has any information on this case, or believes they may have been pulled over by Thomas Murphy, please contact Special Agent Lamont Scott at the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General at (510) 637-5051.   ###

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