Tags: Jailed | Student | Says | Russians | Used | Pot | Plot

Jailed Student Says Russians Used Pot Plot to Recruit Him

Sunday, 06 May 2001 12:00 AM

John Tobin, 24, a Fulbright scholar studying Russian politics attitudes at Voronezh State University, is serving a 37 month sentence in a prison colony on charges of possessing and distributing marijuana.

In a handwritten note smuggled out of his prison cell, Tobin alleged that as a result of his refusal to work for the Russian security forces he will have to spend more time in prison.

Mr. Tobin?s father told the New York Times that he was making a portion of his son?s note public because keeping quiet about the matter as the case was being considered in the Russian courts had failed to win his son's freedom or even a reduced punishment.

"We thought if we minimized things, if we kept this off the radar screen, so to speak, that perhaps they would treat him like they treat their own students: at the worst, fine him and send him home," the father told the Times. "We're dealing with an insignificant amount of marijuana."

Russian police say Mr. Tobin has as many as two ounces of pot, but his supporters say he was sentenced for having a mere 0.47 of the drug, or about a sixtieth of an ounce.

According to Mr. Tobin Sr., the note states: "So what happened? Well, the local authorities constructed a nice little setup that I fell for hook, line and sinker. So what now? I've rejected their offer to work for the local man, so I might sit here for a while."

Officials of the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the former KGB security agency, charged that Tobin was actually in training to become an American spy. They based the charge partly on the fact that Tobin was a member of a military intelligence unit in the Army Reserve, that he studied Russian at a Defense Department school and was trained in interrogation at an Arizona military intelligence institute.

The State Department denied that Mr. Tobin was a spy.

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John Tobin, 24, a Fulbright scholar studying Russian politics attitudes at Voronezh State University, is serving a 37 month sentence in a prison colony on charges of possessingand distributing marijuana. In a handwritten note smuggled out of his prison cell, Tobin alleged...
Jailed,Student,Says,Russians,Used,Pot,Plot,Recruit,Him
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2001-00-06
Sunday, 06 May 2001 12:00 AM
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