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12th person in Russia spy probe detained

world Updated: Jul 13, 2010 18:53 IST

The United States has detained a 12th person following the break up of a Russian spy ring which led to a dramatic spy swap last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

FBI counterintelligence agents have been investigating the 23-year-old Russian man since last fall when his name surfaced in a decade-long espionage investigation, the Journal said, citing a US official familiar with the matter, adding that the Russian would be deported.

US prosecutors last month charged 11 people with being Russian agents. Ten in US custody entered plea deals last Thursday as part of a diplomatic agreement to swap them for four people held by Russia, most on charges of spying for Western intelligence agencies.

The 11th person jumped bail in Cyprus after he was arrested there.

FBI agents began monitoring the 12th man, whose name could not be learned, shortly after he entered the United States in October 2009, the Journal reported.

However, investigators weren't able to gather enough evidence against him to bring charges and came to believe his case was different from that of the others who ended up being charged in the spy ring, the paper said.

Instead of being charged, the man was in federal custody on Monday in the process of being deported, the Journal reported. His location wasn't disclosed.

The swap, which took place in Vienna last Friday, helped to resolve a scandal that threatened to strain US-Russian relations. Such swaps are not unprecedented but were more a fixture of the Cold War.