FBI says soldiers committed deadly robbery to fund fight against Venezuelan government
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FBI officials said two ex-U.S. soldiers who later joined a far-right paramilitary group committed a deadly robbery to secure funds for Venezuelan anti-government efforts.

Alex Zwiefelhofer, one of the two men, told an FBI agent and police detectives that after meeting Craig Lang in Ukraine, the two planned to take a boat from Miami to South America to “kill communists” in Venezuela, The Associated Press reported. Both are charged in the robbery and killings of Serafin and Deana Lorenzo to finance the trip.

Zwiefelhofer allegedly told officials that he and Lang, after meeting in 2016, joined the far-right Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, one of several volunteer militias that fought Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

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The two later traveled to Africa but were detained by Kenyan officials and deported to the U.S. while trying to enter South Sudan in 2017, the AP reported.

The two are charged with robbing and killing the Lorenzos in 2018 after the married couple withdrew $3,000 in cash to buy guns listed for sale by a seller calling himself “Jeremy.” Online search records also showed Zwiefelhofer searched for “How to Smuggle Myself to South America,” according to the AP, citing an FBI affidavit, and also searched for a movie clip depicting an ambush similar to the killing of the Lorenzos.

Zwiefelhofer, who was arrested in Wisconsin in May, has admitted to traveling to Florida with Lang at the time of the killings but denied being in the area where the couple was killed. He is currently awaiting trial in Fort Myers, Fla., while Lang, who married a Ukrainian woman last year, is under house arrest in the country and continues to fight extradition, according to the AP.

A defense lawyer for Lang has argued his client was unable to adapt to life outside the military and was not given the resources he needed by the U.S. government.

“The man was just searching for a spot on the world map to catch a bullet and die,” lawyer Dmytro Morhun told the AP, arguing that Lang has “found a new life, a new love, a new family” in the nation.