In this courtroom sketch, Anna Chapman, left, Vicky Pelaez, second from left, and the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York, 28 Jun 2010
In this courtroom sketch, Anna Chapman, left, Vicky Pelaez, second from left, and the defendant known as 'Richard Murphy' are seen in Manhattan federal court in New York, 28 Jun 2010

The U. S. Justice Department has announced the arrest of 10 people accused of spying for Russia.

Eight of those arrested on Sunday are charged with carrying out long-term, deep cover assignments in the United States on behalf of the Russian Federation.

A total of 11 are accused of involvement in the spy ring.  One remains at large.

In court papers, the Justice Department described those charged as “illegals,” whose goal was to become sufficiently “Americanized” so that they could gather information about the United States for Russia.

It said the Russian intelligence agency SVR had tasked them with one main mission – to “search and develop ties in policymaking circles” in the United States.

The arrests took place in the states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia.  All those taken into custody are charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General.  All but two are also accused of money laundering.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum of five years in prison, while the money laundering charge carries a 20-year maximum sentence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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