12th Russian in Spy Ring Probe Deported

Spy Swap: Trade Takes Place, 10 Russian Spies Head HomeABC News
The United States and Russia exchanged spies this morning on the tarmac of the airport in Vienna, Austria, bringing an end to a 12-day saga that reminded the world that secret agents and invisible ink are not a thing of the past.

The 12th person who surfaced in the final months of the FBI Russian spy probe has been removed from the U.S. and is currently on a deportation flight to Russia.

Alexey Karetnikov, 23, had been living in the Seattle area, according to federal law enforcement officials. His Facebook page indicates that he had worked at Microsoft.

"As part of the agreement, Mr. Karetnikov admitted that he was present in the United States in violation of immigration law and voluntarily agreed to deportation in lieu of further court proceedings," said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler in a statement. "Once deported, Mr. Karetnikov would face criminal and civil penalties if he returned without express U.S. Government permission."

Though no criminal charges were brought against Karetnikov, a law enforcement official told ABC News that he surfaced during the probe.

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Spy Swap: U.S. and Russia Exchange Spies in Vienna

"We investigated thoroughly, and if we had been able to prosecute the individual we would have," the law enforcement official said.

The man's involvement in the probe, which ended last week with a Cold War-style spy swap in Vienna, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. He entered the U.S. in Oct. 2009.

He was arrested by ICE agents on June 28 for immigration offenses, according to federal law enforcement officials.

The 12-day spy saga ended last Friday with the U.S. and Russia exchanging spies on the tarmac of an airport in Vienna, Austria.

A jet chartered by the U.S government delivered the 10 Russians who admitted in New York court last Thursday that they were Russian agents. They were sentenced to 11 days of time served and expelled from the U.S. under the terms of the spy swap, which released four people who had been convicted of spying for the west.

Teenage Son, Juan Lazaro Jr., Left Behind

The teenaged son of two members of the Russian spy ring is heartbroken at being left behind - his parents were flown to Russia over night as part of an elaborate "spy swap" reminiscent of the Cold War.

Juan Lazaro Jr., already an accomplished concert pianist at age 17, seemed calm outside the federal courthouse in New York after saying goodbye to his parents last Thursday, but he was suffering deeply, said his father's attorney, Genesis Peduto.

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He did not answer questions of whether he would follow his parents to Russia, and gave a little smile before ducking into a subway station after leaving court Thursday.

When asked how he could maintain a positive demeanor given the circumstances, his 38-year-old half brother Waldo Mariscal said "he is always like that."

Speaking on the family's front porch in Yonkers, NY last Friday, Mariscal said Juan Jr. will likely want to stay and finish his last year of high school in New York City.

"A lot of wonderful [piano] teachers are here in New York City," said Mariscal, adding that Juan Jr. was at a piano lesson when Mariscal made his statement.

Mariscal was emphatic that he and Juan Jr. do not believe their parents are spies.

"We believe in the integrity of our parents," Mariscal said. "The only Russian thing my mother likes is vodka."

As part of the plea deal arranged yesterday, Juan Jr. and Mariscal are entitled to a free airline ticket to Russia, but his father's lawyer says his future whereabouts are uncertain.

"They are very nervous and stressed right now," said Peduto. "As part of the plea arrangement they will have to give up their house."

Mariscal said Friday the two brothers had been packing for several hours but that authorities had been "kind" by not forcing them out of the house immediately. He said they do not know when they will have to leave.

Vicky Palaez, Juan Jr.'s mother, cried and gestured to her children in the courtroom last Thursday. The Russian government offered her a $2000 per month stipend in Moscow.

Juan Lazaro Sr., who admitted to spying for Russia, has been using a fake name. His real name is Mikhail Vasenkov.

Palaez and Lazaro's lawyers say they do not know whether the two will stay in Russia.

Mariscal indicated yesterday outside the courthouse that their parents will likely go to Peru where they met 30 years ago. The brothers speak Spanish to each other - neither they nor their parents speak Russian, according to Peduto.

Juan Jr. is a musical prodigy, according to several people who knew him, and he has performed in concerts around the world.

His success as a young musician earned him a scholarship to an arts school in Manhattan, according to Palaez's attorney John Rodriguez.

"He's 17, he is a concert pianist, he was a child prodigy, and he is the recipient of a scholarship to a conservatory and goes to a renowned music and art high school," Rodriguez told ABC News.

Lazaro's piano concerts have been posted to YouTube, where he plays Chopin and Beethoven, often closing his eyes while he plays, seeming to be completely absorbed by the music.

At a 2008 concert in Peru, Lazaro Sr., a proud father with his tuxedo-clad son standing next to him, was interviewed by an education consultant about how to raise a musical prodigy.

His brother is also proud, promoting Juan Jr's concerts with a Facebook page dedicated to concerts and posting videos of the concerts for their "Facebook Friends" to see. Click Here for the Blotter Homepage.