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Russian spy ring: The 11 suspects, the criminal complaint

28

June

In what law enforcement officials portrayed as an extraordinary takedown of a Russian espionage network, the Justice Department on Monday announced charges against 11 people accused of living for years in the United States as part of a deep-cover program run by SVR — the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB. Criminal complaints filed in federal court on Monday read like a thriller: secret Russian agents assigned to live as married couples in the United States, even having children to further their cover. Spies swapping identical bags as they pass each other in a stairwell. Invisible writing and codes. Money caches buried for years in a rural field.

AP_NYR104_APTOPIX_DOJ_RUSSI

[Associated Press]

In this courtroom sketch, Anna Chapman, left, Vicky Pelaez, second from left, the defendant known as "Richard Murphy", center, the defendant known as "Cynthia Murphy", second from right, and the defendant known as "Juan Lazaro" are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York, Monday, June 28, 2010.


The suspects

Anna Chapman was arrested Sunday in Manhattan where she lived. On 10 separate Wednesdays since January, Chapman was trailed by U.S. agents as she met with an individual who they said was known to visit the Russian Mission at the United Nations in Manhattan.

Mikhail Semenko was arrested at a residence in Arlington, Va. He is a stylish man in his late 20s, said Tatyana Day, who lives across the street from him. He had a girlfriend and the young couple spoke to one another in Russian and “kept to themselves,” Day said.

Vicky Pelaez and a defendant known as “Juan Lazaro,” were arrested at their residence in Yonkers, N.Y. Pelaez is a Peruvian-born reporter and editor for El Diario/La Prensa, Spanish-language newspapers, for several years. She is best known for her opinion columns, in which she often criticizes the U.S. government.

Christopher R. Metsos claims to be a Canadian citizen. The FBI investigation reveals that he does not live in the United States, but has traveled to the country regularly and has met at least one of the other defendants on numerous occasions in New York City. He remains at large.

Richard Murphy, 39, claims to have been born in Philadelphia. He is married to Cynthia Murphy, who claims to have been born in New York, under the name Cynthia A. Hopkins. They have lived in the United States since the mid 1990s. Since the fall of 2008, they have lived in Montclair, New Jersey. They have elementary-school aged daughters.

Howard Heathfield, claims to be a naturalized U.S. citizen, born in Canada. He is married to Tracey Lee Ann Foley, who also claims to be a naturalized U.S. citizen, born in Canada. They lived together in Cambridge, Mass. They have lived in the United States since 1999. The couple appear to be in their 40s and have two teenage sons.

Michael Zottoli, claims to be a U.S. citizen born in Yonkers, N.Y. He is married to Patricia Mills, who claims to be a Canadian citizen. They have lived together over the years in a number of locations, including Seattle. In October 2009, they moved from Seattle to an apartment in Arlington, Va. 

Sources: the criminal complaint; AP; New York Times; Bloomberg

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:19am]

    

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