Montclair couple, 9 others formally charged with spying for Russia

Federal officials have formally charged a Montclair couple and nine other suspects with spying for Russia.

The Montclair couple was arrested by the FBI, along with nine other suspects from three states, for allegedly serving for years as secret agents of Russia's intelligence service.

Richard Murphy and Cynthia Murphy were arrested at their Montclair home on Marquette Road on Sunday night. Both were charged with conspiring to act as unlawful agents within the United States and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mikhail Semenko, a 28-year-old Seton Hall graduate, was arrested in Washington D.C. on Saturday night after an exchange with an undercover federal agent.

A Star Ledger report says Semenko was a budding Russian spy who was fluent in four languages.

Federal authorities say the goal of the group was to penetrate U.S. government policymaking circles.

According to court papers in the case, the U.S. government intercepted a message from Russian intelligence headquarters in Moscow to two of the defendants. The message stated that their main mission is "to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US" and send intelligence reports.

The court papers also allege that some of the ring's members used invisible ink, coded radio transmissions and encrypted data, and employed Hollywood methods such as swapping bags in passing at a train station.

Russian officials have denounced the arrests as "Cold War-era spy stories."

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