Former US Marine arrested in connection to raid on North Korean embassy in Spain

news
A Spanish National Police car is seen outside the North Korea's embassy in Madrid, Spain February 28, 2019. (Reuters/Sergio Perez)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have arrested a former U.S. Marine who is a member of a group that allegedly raided the North Korean embassy in Madrid in February and stole electronics, two sources familiar with the arrest said on Friday.


Christopher Ahn was arrested on Thursday and appeared on Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, according to a law enforcement official and a source close to the group.

In a related development, armed U.S. federal agents on Thursday raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, leader of Cheolima Civil Defense, a group seeking the overthrow of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that is blamed for the Feb. 22 embassy raid, a person close to the group said without providing more details. Hong was not present at his residence when the raid occurred, the source said.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment.

A group of at least 10 people stormed into the embassy, restrained and physically beat some personnel and held them hostage for hours before fleeing, according to a Spanish court.

Spanish investigators have said the intruders removed computers and hard drives from the embassy before fleeing to the United States, where they handed over the material to the FBI.

A Spanish judicial source said this week the material had been returned by Spanish authorities to Pyongyang's mission after being returned two weeks previously by the FBI to the Spanish court investigating the raid.

The anti-Kim group, which also calls itself Free Joseon, said the raid was not an attack and that it had been invited into the embassy.

The incident came at a sensitive time, just days ahead of a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at which the U.S. leader failed to make progress in efforts to persuade North Korea to give up a nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's foreign ministry denounced the incident a "grave terrorist attack" and cited rumors that the FBI was partially behind the raid. The U.S. State Department has said Washington had nothing to do with it.

Three of the intruders took an embassy official into the basement during the raid and tried to encourage him to defect from North Korea, according to a detailed document made public on March 26 by the Spanish court.

While the document said several members of the group, including Hong - a Mexican passport holder with U.S. residency - fled to the United States, their whereabouts are unclear.

The Spanish court is seeking their extradition.

A U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the case.

However, she noted that extradition treaties "generally provide that an individual who has been extradited to another country to face criminal charges cannot thereafter be extradited to a third country without the consent of the original country."

SEE ALSO: North Korea Announces Test Of New 'Tactical Guided Weapon'

WATCH NEXT: North Korea Fires Its 'Most Powerful' ICBM Yet

"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less