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Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > Former Soldier Extradited from Ukraine Will Face Federal Charges for Crime Spree in Florida

Former Soldier Extradited from Ukraine Will Face Federal Charges for Crime Spree in Florida


The United States government has extradited a former soldier from Ukraine on years-old charges concerning an alleged “international crime spree” that included a double murder of a Florida couple that he robbed to fund travel plans to Venezuela. According to federal authorities, the soldier planned to wage military-style raids against Venezuela’s socialist government.

In a U.S. Department of Justice news release, authorities stated that the 34-year-old suspect is facing indictments in Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona since 2019. The FBI extradited the suspect from Ukraine to the United States after the European Court of Human Rights rejected his claim challenging the extradition. The suspect, who is a U.S. citizen from Surprise, AZ pleaded not guilty to the charges he is facing in Florida.

In the three cases, the suspect is facing a litany of serious charges including using gun during a deadly violent crime in Florida and violating the Neutrality Act, as well as conspiring to kill people in a foreign country, which is a country with whom the U.S. is currently at peace, according to the indictment.

In addition to the killings in Florida, the defendant is accused in North Carolina of trading a military smoke grenade, guns, and cash to use someone’s identity to apply for a U.S. passport. In Arizona, he is charged with showing a U.S. passport to Mexican authorities to try to get a Mexican visa in violation of passport restrictions.

The killings in Florida 

According to authorities, the killings in Florida occurred in April 2018, the year after the suspect met another U.S. soldier in Ukraine, where they claimed to be a part of a volunteer battalion helping Ukraine fend off Russian forces. The pair were detained in Kenya while trying to enter South Sudan in 2017 and were eventually deported back to the U.S. according to an FBI affidavit.

Authorities say that the Florida couple, who were in their 50s, planned to buy guns from the two former soldiers that they had listed online for sale. Instead, the men allegedly killed the couple to steal $3,000.

Authorities have Facebook Messenger conversations between the two men detailing their plans. They planned on traveling to Florida, purchasing body armor, committing robberies, stealing boats, and then escaping to South America or Ukraine while smuggling guns and ammunition. In the Florida case, the defendant’s conspirator was convicted on charges in Florida over the murder of the Florida couple.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

The Matassini Law Firm represents the interests of those facing federal charges in Tampa, FL. The stakes are high in criminal cases, and you want to ensure you present the best defense possible. Call our Tampa criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense right away.



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