When an Etsy Craft Store and Alleged Russian Weapons Smuggling Ring Collide in New Hampshire
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Was a KGB agent really raising his family in the small town of Merrimack, New Hampshire?
Allegedly, that's exactly what 35-year-old Alexey Brayman and his wife Daria were doing.
Now, Alexey Brayman is out on bail with a curfew and electronic monitoring, according to WMUR-TV, after he was accused of being part of a Russian smuggling ring where his suburban New Hampshire home was used as a clearing house.
Now, I never watched the hit television show The Americans, but if you recall, it was about KGB spies living on American soil leading a very typical, unassuming American life in plain sight in Washington, D.C.
As a matter of fact, People Magazine says that the FBI is comparing Alexey and Daria to that show. Well, except this alleged version happened in a tiny New Hampshire town.
So where does the online Etsy craft store play a role?
People Magazine says Alexey is accused of using the store CoolHouzGifts as a cover. According to the New York Post, Alexey allegedly shipped high-tech equipment used in nuclear weapons development to places in Europe and Asia, where the items then continued on to their final destination of Russia.
However, according to People Magazine, Daria says she had no idea her husband was allegedly involved in this Russian smuggling ring, and hasn't been arrested.
The Daily Mail UK says Alexey's alleged role to get his hands on sensitive, high-tech American products banned in Russia can be traced back to 2017.
I see a Made-For-TV movie already in the works where the Brayman's neighbors will play quite the part, since they were living next door for years to this alleged Russian spy.
People Magazine says neighbors are shocked, because the couple lived in their Merrimack, New Hampshire, home for years and are the nicest people. They said even though they always saw packages coming and going, they never thought much of it because of the Etsy store.
That was the point, according to the New York Post. Using the Brayman’s Merrimack home as a clearinghouse for the operation with CoolHouzGifts means that an influx of incoming and outgoing packages wouldn’t appear suspicious.
Well, clearly that isn't the case anymore.
According to the Daily Beast:
Federal investigators claim that Brayman and his accomplices worked for the “Serniya” syndicate, a procurement network whose activities they described as “instrumental to the Russian Federation’s war machine” in the indictment. The suburban house in Merrimack where Brayman lived was “repeatedly used” as a way station where military-grade and dual-use technologies were packaged and shipped to intermediaries throughout Europe and Asia
Alexey is scheduled to be arraigned on February 7 in New York.