COSTA MESA (CBSLA) – An armed 30-year-old woman dressed in a law enforcement uniform and falsely identifying herself as a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in a traffic stop earlier this month in Costa Mesa, authorities said.

Michelle Brianna Hughes who was arrested on Nov. 1, 2019. (Credit: Costa Mesa PD)

On the evening of Nov. 1, Michelle Brianna Hughes of Huntington Beach was taken into custody after her 2016 Chevrolet Impala — equipped with a law enforcement light bar and government-exempt license plates — was pulled over in the area of Harbor Boulevard and Merrimac Way.

According to Costa Mesa police, Hughes lied to officers that she was an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy. She was wearing a tactical vest with a police patch. She also had a loaded, unregistered handgun and was donning a law enforcement belt which included handcuffs and a taser.

When officers searched her car, they found more police uniforms for other agencies and more government exempt license plates.

Hughes was charged with impersonating a police officer, carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm and being in possession of a high-capacity magazine.

She was released after posting bail, police said.

Investigators have released photos of Hughes in her uniform, along with her car and the items she was carrying. They are searching for anyone who may have come into contact with Hughes while she was impersonating an officer. Anyone with information should call detectives at 714-754-5097.

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