They allegedly got close to a scientist involved in designing bunker-busting bombs and a top former intelligence official.
Five of the suspects will appear later in a Manhattan federal court - a couple known as "Richard Murphy" and "Cynthia Murphy", who were arrested in Montclair, New Jersey; Vicky Pelaez and a man known as "Juan Lazaro," who were arrested in Yonkers, New York state; and Anna Chapman, who was arrested in Manhattan, New York City. Another three - Mikhail Semenko and a couple known as "Michael Zottoli" and "Patricia Mills" - will appear in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, after being arrested in Arlington, Virginia. The final two people - a couple known as "Donald Howard Heathfield" and "Tracey Lee Ann Foley" - were arrested in Boston, Massachusetts, and will appear in a federal court in the city.
A suspect known as "Christopher R Metsos" remains at large.
All of the arrested suspects, except Ms Chapman and Mr Semenko, have also been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
"Each was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison on conviction.
Nine were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison on conviction."*
"In Moscow, Russia called the arrests an unjustified throwback to the Cold War, and senior lawmakers said some in the U.S. government may be trying to undercut President Barack Obama's warming relations with Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it was regrettable that the arrests came amid Obama's push for a 'reset' in Russian-U.S. ties."
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