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Morning Notes: Spies Like Us

“Like a Hollywood movie” — That’s how many news reports describe the bust of an alleged Russian spy ring over the weekend. If the movie was ever produced, much of the action would be set in Arlington. Arlington is the place where three of the 11 suspects lived and were arrested. It is also the site of some intrigue on June 26, 2010. According to court documents, video surveillance cameras installed by the FBI captured one of the suspects, Mikhail Semenko, leaving an envelope containing $5,000 cash at a “drop site” in an unnamed Arlington park.

Residents Describe Arrested Neighbors as Reserved, Ordinary — Neighbors and colleagues of the three arrested Arlington residents say they never imagined that they were in the midst of alleged “secret agents.” Mikhail Semenko worked at Travel All Russia, a Russian travel agency in Lyon Park. He was fluent in four languages, drove a Mercedes S-500, and spent much of his time with his Russian-speaking girlfriend, according to a North Arlington neighbor.

Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, meanwhile, had two young children who are now in protective custody, reports ABC 7. Zottoli and Mills each had a Russian accent, a neighbor said, but no one suspected they were part of a spy ring. They lived in the River House Apartments in Pentagon City after moving to the area from Seattle last year, according to court documents.

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