Three wanted Russian citizens were arrested for spying on behalf of Russia in New York City, and attempting to recruit New York residents as intelligence sources.

The suspect identified as Evgeny Buryakov, 39, was arrested earlier today in Bronx, New York, and is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan federal court later today. The other two wanted are no longer in the United States, they were identified as Igor Sporyshev, 40, and 27-year-old Victor Podobynyy.

According to the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court, Bruakov operated as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank. SVR agents operating under such non-official cover – sometimes referred to as “NOCs” – typically are subject to less scrutiny by the host government, and, in many cases, are never identified as intelligence agents by the host government.

The other two spies were in the US as official representatives of Russia, from November 22, 2010, to November 21, 2014.

During the course of their work as covert SVR agents in the United States, the three spies regularly met and communicated using clandestine methods and coded messages, in order to exchange intelligence-related information while shielding their associations with one another as SVR agents. In numerous recorded communications, the two agenst that fled the US discussed their attempts to recruit United States residents, including several individuals employed by major companies, and several young women with ties to a major university located in New York as intelligence sources for the SVR.

The defendants are charged with participating in a conspiracy for Buryakov to act in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. The second count charges Buryakov with acting in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without first notifying the Attorney General, and charges Sporyshev and Podobynyy with aiding and abetting that offense. The second count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

“These charges demonstrate our firm commitment to combating attempts by covert agents to illegally gather intelligence and recruit spies within the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will use every tool at our disposal to identify and hold accountable foreign agents operating inside this country – no matter how deep their cover.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added: “The arrest of Evgeny Buryakov and the charges against him and his co-defendants make clear that – more than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War – Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy.”..  New York City may be more hospitable to Russian businessmen than during the Cold War, but my Office and the FBI remain vigilant to the illegal intelligence-gathering activities of other nations.”