Anchorage Police Officer charged as illegal immigrant

Amanda Coyne|Alaska Dispatch

An officer of the Anchorage Police Department has been working the city’s streets using a false identity for nearly six years, according to federal prosecutors, who made the announcement Friday afternoon.

Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, was arrested on passport fraud charges this week. Mora-Lopez, a Mexican national, was using the name “Rafael Espinoza” and had been since beginning with APD back in 2005, according to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler.

Mora-Lopez pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When asked to state his name during an arraignment hearing today, Mora-Lopez said his last name was Lopez. During the hearing, Tom Bradley, an assistant U.S. prosecutor, said that Mora-Lopez was not a danger to the community and that although he posed some flight risk, he thought that conditions put on his release pending trial would minimize those risks. Mora-Lopez will be released on a $50,000 bond. The trial is scheduled for June 27.

Mora-Lopez had lived in Anchorage since the 1980s. He has a wife and at least one child. He was also very popular among Anchorage police, according to Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew, who said that officers were “devastated” because he was such a good, hard working officer.

The stolen identity was not discovered during police department background checks. In fact, it was the State Department that discovered Mora-Lopez was using the false identity when he either applied or reapplied for a passport.

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