Russian man identified in spy ring probe deported
WASHINGTON — Federal authorities detained a 12th person in their investigation of a Russian spy ring in the United States, and he has been deported to Russia, law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
The man, Alexey Karetnikov, entered the United States in October and was living in the western part of the country, officials said. Karetnikov, a Russian in his early to mid-20s, had been held on immigration violations because there was insufficient evidence to charge him with a crime, they said.
“He was just in the early stages; had just set up shop,” said one senior federal law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details of the case were closely held. The official added that the FBI began monitoring the Russian almost immediately upon his arrival and that he had “obtained absolutely no information.”
An immigration judge issued an order Monday for Karetnikov’s removal from the United States, said Matt Chandler, a Homeland Security Department spokesman.
Karetnikov admitted that he was illegally present in the country and agreed to the deportation in lieu of further court proceedings, Chandler said.
U.S. officials said Karetnikov was sent home Tuesday. They wouldn’t specify where he had been living in the western United States, but database searches show that someone with Karetnikov’s name had been living in an apartment in Redmond, Wash., since October.
That man’s Facebook page says he worked for Microsoft Corp. and a Romanian-based software company called Neobit. A Microsoft spokeswoman said she was looking into a reporter’s inquiry about Karetnikov but didn’t provide any more information.