Peruvian-born Vicky Peláez, who has been living and working in the US for more than 20 years, was arrested in New York under charges of espionage in favor of the Russian federation.
She was arrested, along with another nine suspects, as part of an operation seeking to break up a mission secretly monitored by the FBI for more than a decade, US media reports.
Pelaez and her Uruguayan husband Juan Lazaro were arrested while they were arriving to their house in Yonkers, New York, and their house was raided, searching for documents and other evidence.
The couple is being accused of conspiracy against the US and money laundering via a real state business to cover their ties with the Russian federation.
This could mean a 20-year prison sentence.
The investigation file states that Pelaez received money from a Russian representative in 2000, during a trip to a South American country, and her husband received money too in 2007.
There is also a tape with the recording of a conversation about how they entered US $80,000 that the Russia had paid them.
The accusation alleges that the presumed spies were trained in the usage of short-wave radio devices, encrypting and foreign languages.
Pelaez’ eldest son, Waldo Mariscal, claims that his mother is innocent and that this would be a plot with “political motivations” seeking to shut her opinion column in the Hispanic newspaper El Diario/La Prensa, the most widely read Spanish language newspaper in New York City.
Her columns were very critical to US policy towards Israel, Cuba, and immigration, among other foreign policy issues.
International press associations, such as Reporters Without Borders, have not yet protested Pelaez’s arrest.
During the ’80s, Pelaez was a widely known TV reporter in Peru, and was detained for a time along with her cameraman by the Revolutionary Group Tupac Amaru.
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