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Russian Agents Infiltrated US Society

Russian Agents Infiltrated US Society

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 feder

Associated Press

June 29, 2010

Oleg Gordievsky, a former deputy head of the KGB in London who defected in 1985, said Medvedev would know the number of so-called illegal operatives in each country.

The 71-year-old ex-double agent told The Associated Press that, based on his experience and career in Russian intelligence, he estimates Moscow likely has about 40 to 50 couples operating under deep cover in the U.S.

The Murphys, Lazaro, Pelaez and Chapman were held without bail but didn’t enter a plea. Another hearing was set for Thursday.

Pelaez is a Peruvian-born reporter and editor and worked for several years for El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country’s best-known Spanish-language newspapers. She is best known for her opinion columns, which often criticize the U.S. government.

In January 2000, Pelaez was videotaped meeting with a Russian government official at a public park in the South American nation, where she received a bag from the official, according to one complaint.

Pelaez was born in Cusco, southeast of Lima, and Lazaro discussed plans to pass covert messages with invisible ink to Russian officials during another trip Pelaez took to South America, a complaint said.

The complaint alleges authorities overheard an unguarded Lazaro once saying in his home, “We moved to Siberia … as soon as the war started.”

Waldo Mariscal, Pelaez’s son, said his mother was innocent. “This is a farce,” he said.

Robert Krakow, an attorney for Lazaro, said after the court hearing that his client was innocent and that the information in the complaint “had no value”.

An attorney for Chapman, Robert Baum, argued the allegations were exaggerated and his client deserved bail. Prosecutors countered that Chapman was a flight risk, calling her a highly trained “Russian agent” who is “a practiced deceiver.”

Two other defendants, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, were arrested at their Arlington, Va., residence. Also arrested at an Arlington residence was Semenko.

Zottoli, Mills and Semenko appeared before U.S. Magistrate Theresa Buchanan on Monday in Alexandria, Va. The hearing was closed because the case had not yet been unsealed in New York. The three did not have attorneys at the hearing, U.S. attorney spokesman Peter Carr said.

Two defendants known as Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley were arrested at their Cambridge, Mass., residence Sunday. They appeared briefly in Boston federal court Monday. A detention hearing was set for Thursday. Lawyers could not be found or did not return calls.

Spokesman Michalis Katsounotos said 54-year-old Christopher Robert Metsos was arrested early Tuesday based on an Interpol arrest warrant. Metsos appeared in a Larnaca court, which ordered Metsos released on $24,700 bail after surrendering his travel documents. The court also ordered Metsos to report to a Larnaca police station once a day.

Katsounotos says Metsos will remain on the island for one month until extradition proceedings begin.


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