Wednesday, July 28, 2010

anna fermanova

Another glamorous Russian arrested in U.S. spy investigation as she tries to 'smuggle weapons parts onto plane'

A young beautician has been charged with trying to smuggle weapons parts into Russia as U.S. authorities continue to investigate suspected foreign spies.

Anna Fermanova, who lives near Dallas, Texas, was apprehended while trying to take three hi-tech night-vision rifle sights aboard a flight to Mexico.

The 24-year-old was stopped in March by officials at JFK Airport in New York and the items were confiscated.

She was allowed to complete her journey and arrested when she returned to the U.S. earlier this month.

Fermanova is currently under arrest at her parents' home in Plano, Texas, on $50,000 bail.

She is expected to attend court in New York in the next few weeks where she faces a possible ten years in prison.

Under U.S. law, sophisticated military weapons cannot be exported without the approval of the U.S. State Department.

A customs officer claims Fermanova had covered the rifle sight's serial numbers with marker pen.

Fermanova told officials she covered the markings 'so they would be less noticeable' when she tried to take them overseas without a licence, it is alleged.

Her arrest comes just weeks after glamorous spy Anna Chapman was deported to Russia.

Like Chapman, Fermanova has a Facebook page that includes provocative photos of herself. Chapman lived in New York; there is no evidence to suggest the two knew each other.

But Fermanova's lawyer Scott Palmer said his client is not a spy.

He said Fermanova bought the rifle sights online for a friend of her husband, who lives in Moscow, and that they were to be used for hunting.

'There's no terrorism, no spying, nothing that remotely touches these recent concerns,' he said. 'She's one woman who bought something on the Internet, put it in her luggage and this apparently violates federal law.'

Mr Palmer said Fermanova is a U.S. citizen who was born in Latvia and raised in the Dallas area. She splits her time between Dallas and Russia, where her husband has a job in the country's financial industry, he said.

The federal affidavit states that Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel are investigating Fermanova and others for attempting to export U.S. military commodities to Russia without the proper licenses.

Mr Palmer said Fermanova has been studying to become a cosmetologist. She has a Texas cosmetologist's license that expires next year, according to the state's Department of Licensing and Regulation.

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