Russia deports American who sneaked into Siberia for ‘a better life’

A 29-year-old U.S. citizen has been deported from Russia after illegally entering the country in search of “a better life,” Russian media outlets reported Monday.

The man, identified as Colorado-based insurance salesman Julio Prieto, is reported to have attempted to enter Russia via its southern border with Kazakhstan. However, after being denied entry because he lacked a visa, Prieto attempted to sneak over the border and was detained by border guards on Sept. 14 near a checkpoint in the town of Karasuk, east of Novosibirsk.

The local prosecutor’s office said that Prieto told them he had been “looking for a better life,” Ria Novosti reported in October, with hopes of finding employment in Siberia. A number of reports noted that Prieto had been born in Mexico and that he spoke English with a thick accent.

Prieto pleaded guilty to the charge of illegally entering Russia, for which he could have faced up to two years in prison. However, he was fined only 7,000 rubles ($105), and then declared exempt from that fine and given a lesser fine of 2,000 rubles ($30).

On Monday, Prieto was deported from Russia on a flight from Novosibirsk to New York, with stops in Moscow and Dublin. The Russian government paid for the flight.

A source in the bailiff’s service told the Tass news agency that Prieto’s experience in Russia had hit him hard. “He was extremely disappointed. He had said he wanted to stay in Russia, which initially he had liked,” the source said. “He had been hoping for Russian hospitality, but he failed to get it and was deeply disappointed.”

Author: Hassan Khazaal

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