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Who Were The 2010 Russian Spy Ring?

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Who Were The 2010 Russian Spy Ring?

russian spy ringIt was reported last week that Anna Chapman, the modern-day Russian Mata Hari, is on the fast track to becoming a Russian superstar.

Chapman has been the face of the 2010 Russian Spy Ring since the story broke during the summer of 2010. It was during this time, that the FBI arrested the various members of the spy ring because of their mission to “search [for] and develop ties in policymaking circles.”

However, with the exception of Chapman, not much has been reported about the other members of that Spy Ring. Here is a quick rundown of the 11 major players in the 2010 Russian Spy Ring and their various roles.

Mikhail Semenko

Mikhail sent encrypted messages to a car parked in a restaurant parking lot. The mysterious parked car had Russian diplomatic plates. Then, Semenko later met with an undercover FBI agent who was impersonating a Russian agent and accepted $5,000, which he delivered to a drop site in an Arlington, Virginia park.

Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez

This couple may have been the most surprising participants in the Russian spy ring due to the fact that Vicky Pelaez was a popular columnist who wrote for the New York City Spanish language newspaper, El Diario La Prensa. They were accused of communicating with a diplomat at the Russian Embassy in an unidentified South American country.

Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills

This pair claimed to be a married couple; one an American citizen and the other Canadian, but actually they were both spies for Russia since at least 2004. They often received encoded radio transmissions while living in Seattle. During an FBI investigation, investigators found random numbers used to decode the “radiograms.”

Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley

russian spy ringThese two Russian spies were actually married and at the time of their arrest, had two sons; 16 and 20 years old. It seems this couple was keeping tabs on members of the World Future Society, described in the media as “a think tank on future technologies that holds conferences featuring top government scientists.” They commonly corresponded electronically with unidentified individuals located in Moscow.

Richard and Cynthia Murphy

This couple was tasked with financial espionage. Cynthia Murphy networked professionally in New York City financial circles in an attempt to secure details about the global gold market. The couple was also attempting to gain information concerning the U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the nuclear program of Iran, and the latest information about Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty talks. They often communicated electronically with and traveled to Moscow. They even met with the third secretary in the Russian mission to the United Nations.

Christopher Metsos

russian spy ringChristopher claimed to be Canadian citizen; however, it was later discovered that he stole the identity of a deceased child. Metsos was the middleman for all of the other agents listed above. He commonly acted as a fiscal intermediary between the Russian spies; traveling from Canada to New York to deliver various amounts of money to them. After his arrest, Metsos seemed to have skipped bail and his whereabouts remain unknown. A Russian Political Analyst theorized that he was a double agent and is being hidden somewhere in the U.S., but the analyst cited no sources or revealed any evidence in regards to this claim.

Anna Chapman

Finally, the most famous person in the Russian spy ring was Anna Chapman. However, Chapman’s roles in the Russian spy ring was possibly the least important. Her only responsibility appears to have been to pass information to Russian agents via encrypted private computer networks. She often did this at places like Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. She was arrested after accepting a fake passport from an undercover agent.

This entire case is interesting and quite reminiscent of the cases and stories that took place during the Cold War. Many believe that the Russian Spy Ring is just another example of how the Cold War never really ended; it simply just evolved.

Originally published on

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
Lori is TSW's editor. Freelance writer and editor for over 17 years, she loves to read and loves fringe science and conspiracy theory.

Top Secret Writers

Gabrielle is a journalist who finds strange stories the media misses, and enlightens readers about news they never knew existed.
Sally is TSW’s health/environmental expert. As a blogger/organic gardener, she’s investigates critical environmental issues.
Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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