Russian spies probe: beautician arrested in Texas
Published 28/07/2010 | 10:09
A young Russian beautician, Anna Fermanova, has been arrested in Texas as part of the American investigation into suspected foreign spies, it has emerged.
The 24 year-old, who lives near Dallas, was apprehended after attempting to take state-of-the-art night-vision scopes and other restricted items to Russia.
The items were confiscated when she attempted to board a flight to Moscow earlier this year. She was arrested when returning to America this month.
The case is being compared to that of Anna Chapman, a suspected Russian spy who was arrested in New York and then returned to Russia under a "spy swap exchange" earlier this month. There is no evidence that the two women knew one another.
It has been reported that Miss Fermanova was arrested on July 15th for "knowingly and intentionally" attempting to export "defense articles on the United States Munitions list." The night-vision goggles and scopes cannot be exported without approval from the US State Department, as they are considered to be sophisticated military weapons.
Among the items she was caught with were a Raptor 4X Night Vision Weapons Sight, which she had bought online. A customs agent claimed that the sight's ID numbers "had been covered with black marker pens".
Miss Fermanova is under house arrest and has had her passport confiscated. She is expected to attend court in New York later this month where she faces up to 10 years in prison.
Scott Palmer, the woman's lawyer, said that the charges were "false allegations" and "too sensitive to be discussed." It was reported that Ms Fermanova's husband intended to resell the night-vision scopes to hunters.
Miss Fermanova is thought to split her time between Moscow and Dallas, Texas. She teaches English in the Russian capital.
According to her Facebook page, she is a 2005 graduate of the Ogle School of Hair Skin and Nails. She holds a cosmetologist licence in Texas.
She came to America as a child with her parents from Latvia.
There is growing concern in America over the actions of apparently "cold-war style" spies, several of whom were caught last month living apparently ordinary lives in suburban America.
Earlier this month, 10 suspected spies including Chapman, pleaded guilty to federal charges and were deported as part of Cold War-style spy exchange. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, signed a decree pardoning four Russians convicted of spying for the US.