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‘Heroes’ to MURDERERS: How US soldiers fought for Ukrainian neo-Nazis, then killed Florida couple to fund VENEZUELAN killing spree

‘Heroes’ to MURDERERS: How US soldiers fought for Ukrainian neo-Nazis, then killed Florida couple to fund VENEZUELAN killing spree
Two former US soldiers, once hailed as “heroes” for fighting alongside Ukrainian neo-Nazi paramilitaries, have been charged with double murder and robbery in the US, allegedly committed to fund a “freedom-fighting” Venezuela tour.

Craig Lang and Alex Zwiefelhofer, both former enlisted soldiers, have been charged with a double homicide, according to documents released by the US Justice Department this week. They stand accused of murdering a middle-aged couple in Florida during a firearms purchase in April 2018.

The Florida couple intended to buy several weapons from Lang and Zwiefelhofer, but instead got gunned down and robbed of their cash.

While the crime may not sound that unusual for the US, it is the suspects' background that makes the whole affair jarring. It tells a disturbing story of insatiable hunger for killing people all over the world, all that based on a backward ideology.

Lang, 29, was with the US military for five-and-a-half years, serving several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2008 and 2014. Zwiefelhofer, 22, joined the army in 2015, but went AWOL a year-and-a-half later, ultimately getting discharged in 2018. 

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The pair first appeared on the radar of special services back in 2017, when they were detained in Kenya as they tried to enter South Sudan for the purpose of participating in the armed conflict there. They were ultimately extradited to the US, and Lang then admitted he had been a “military adviser” in Ukraine since 2015.

Zwiefelhofer revealed that the pair actually met in Ukraine while fighting for the infamous Right Sector group – a paramilitary neo-Nazi unit that backs the Kiev government in the civil war in the eastern Donbass region.

While Zwiefelhofer seemingly did not leave a notable mark in Ukraine, Lang is a well-known and celebrated “US volunteer” there. The Ukrainian press has openly hailed him as a “hero,” highlighting his service with the Right Sector, as well as his inclusion in the so-called “Georgian Legion” – another pro-government paramilitary unit, composed of foreign nationals. Lang told reporters that the common enemy for him was “obviously Russia.”

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He spent time on the “front line,” possibly taking part in the killing of Ukrainians from the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

Upon his return from Kenya, Zwiefelhofer was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor in North Carolina, but was released on bond in November 2017. His AWOL status and revelations of questionable activities overseas apparently raised no alarm with the authorities back then. 

The following April, the duo allegedly committed the murder and robbery in Florida that could result in life behind bars or even the a death penalty. According to court papers, the robbery was meant to fund a new trip to yet another war. The suspects have “committed these crimes to obtain US currency to fund travel to Venezuela to participate in an armed conflict against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the prosecutors said.

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Their master plan, which included a movie-like plot to hijack a yacht in Miami and sail south to fulfill their dream of fighting the forces of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, never came to fruition, however. They parted ways, and Lang sought the help of another ex-army pal to try and get south. However, after Lang and his companion, identified only as M.S.M., got to Colombia’s Bogota, they fell out. “He left Lang in Bogota because M.S.M. did not want to kill people,” said the FBI complaint. Lang apparently made his way back to Ukraine.

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As the 2018 murder case unfolded, the two ex-soldiers were detained – Zwiefelhofer in Wisconsin and Lang in Ukraine, where he was serving with the Georgian Legion. The scandal blew up, and the paramilitary unit announced that it had “temporarily” suspended the enlistment of US nationals, suggesting that there might be more of such ‘wild geese’ out there. 

And there might be more of them indeed. Early this week, the FBI arrested a US Army soldier, identified as 24-year-old Jarrett William Smith, suspected of sharing instructions on how to make bombs through social media and allegedly discussing targeting a major US news network with a car bomb. According to the charging documents, Smith had been in touch with one of the bloodthirsty duo – Lang – since at least 2016. 

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