Wed, July 14, 2010
World > Americas > U.S.-Russia spy case

U.S. deports another person in Russian spy case

2010-07-14 02:05:12 GMT2010-07-14 10:05:12 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. officials said Tuesday a Russian who was suspected of being connected to a Russian "spy ring" was deported on immigration charges.

The man, 23-year-old Alexey Karetnikov, was ordered to leave the country Monday by an immigration judge, Homeland Security officials were quoted by local media as saying.

The man has been under surveillance since he entered the country last October.

Karetnikov admitted being in the country illegally and voluntarily agreed to be removed from the United States, said Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Homeland Security.

The suspect will face criminal and civil charges if he enters U.S. territory again without permission, said the spokesman.

Quoting government sources, CNN reported that Karetnikov was en route to Russia, flying from U.S. West Coast to Moscow.

He had been living in Seattle, Washington state, and his Facebook page indicates that he had worked at Microsoft. Karetnikov was arrested on June 28 for immigration offenses.

The report also said the deportation was not based on a suspicion that he may have passed classfiled information to Russia.

In fact, all the 12 suspects involved in the recent Russian "spy ring" case, including Karetnikov, are just "small fishes," said a U.S. security official on the condition of anonymity.

Ten other suspects, all of Russian origin, pleaded guilty last week to being illegal foreign agents in the United States, and were subsequently ordered to leave the country in exchange for four people convicted in Russia for being Western agents. It is not clear whether Karetnikov was part of the spy swap deal.

There was another suspect in the case, but authorities have lost track of him. The man was caught in Cyprus, but later went missing after being released on a bail.

The swap of spy suspects was conducted on the tarmac of an airport in Vienna, Austria, last Friday.

A U.S. charted jetliner delivered the ten suspects who confessed to be Russian agents in a New York court last Thursday.

However, a teenaged son of two of the suspects was left behind in the United States.

Juan Lazaro Jr., 17, remained calm outside a New York courthouse last Thursday after knowing that his parents would be deported on spy charges.

As part of a plea deal arranged on Monday, the teenager and his 38-year-old half brother Waldo Mariscal are entitled to a free air tickets to Russia, but his family lawyer says his future destination is uncertain.

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