This story is based on reporting for El Diario/La Prensa by Annie Correal.
NEW YORK – Among the 10 people in the U.S. arrested and accused of being part of a Russian espionage ring Sunday night were a long-time columnist for El Diario/La Prensa and her husband. They were charged with conspiracy and money laundering, and are described in media reports as “Russian intelligence officers.”
Vicky Peláez is originally from Peru and has been on staff at El Diario, New York’s oldest Spanish-language daily, for more than 20 years. Since 2000 she has written a weekly column in which she has often been sharply critical of the U.S. government and its international policies. Her husband, Juan José Lazaro, is a retired political scientist. The two live in Yonkers, NY where they were detained after returning from a party Sunday night.
While more than two dozen people searched their home – removing boxes and electronic equipment – two FBI agents questioned their youngest son, Juan José Lázaro Jr. who is 17. They asked him about his parents’ politics and their trips abroad. “They asked me I had ever seen my parents with a large sum of money, if there were secret compartments in our house, if there was a computer they never let me use.” He added, “There were around 30 people searching the house. They didn’t even let me go get my school books.”
Authorities are still looking for an 11th suspect.
This article was written by Annie Correal a reporter for El Diario and Feet in Two Worlds.