US Man Detained in Russia for Swearing at Moscow Police

An American citizen has been detained in Russia after Moscow Police arrested him for using “obscene language towards them.”

A report of the incident was shared by Russian news agency Tass on Tuesday, which named the U.S. citizen as Angelo Joseph Talarico IV and said he was detained for 10 days. He was accused of swearing at officers who arrived to search his home as part of their investigation into an alleged theft. Talarico has denied the charges.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House and Russia’s Foreign Ministry by email seeking further information and comment about the case.

The incident follows a string of cases that have seen Americans detained in Russia over recent months. Tensions are running high between the two countries as the U.S. continues to provide aid to Ukraine which is at war with Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded the country in February 2022.

News of Talarico’s arrest comes just a week after American soldier Sgt Gordon Black was detained in Russia while visiting his girlfriend; he was accused of theft of personal property. Russia has been holding The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, an American, since March 2023 after accusing him of espionage.

Moscow police
Russian law enforcement officers stand guard at the Red Square in Moscow on March 29, 2024. Russian police arrested an American citizen who lives in Moscow after accusing him of swearing at them.


Both men have said they are innocent and the U.S. government has said the charges against them are baseless.

In the latest case, Talarico, who lives in Russia with his wife and has a residence permit, was arrested on the evening of April 27, according to the Kommersant newspaper. The 36-year-old is originally from Los Angeles, California, the paper reported.

Police reportedly turned up at the couple’s apartment on Leninsky Prospekt with a search warrant as part of an investigation into Bitcoin theft that had allegedly occurred in the Kola region earlier this year.

The American is said to have sworn at the officers in English, but they understood some of his words and their meaning. A translation of Kommersant’s report says “the American began to shout loudly at them in English, while the operatives ‘frequently and clearly’ heard two words, ‘the meaning of which was clear to them.”

He was taken to the police department in the Obruchevsky district of the South-Western Administrative District of Moscow, according to reports, and appeared in court a couple of days later. He does not speak Russian but an interpreter was provided for him during the hearing.

A translation of a statement by Moscow City Court, shared by Tass, describes the charges against him and alleges that he “expressed […] clear disrespect for society, accompanied by obscene language in a public place, pestered police officers, and used obscene language towards them.”

The court document reads: “By the decision of the judge of the Gagarinsky District Court dated April 29, 2024, US citizen Talariko the Fourth was brought to administrative responsibility under Part 2 of Article 20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation (petty hooliganism involving disobedience to a government official), and an administrative penalty was imposed in the form of administrative arrest for a period of 10 days.”

Talarico insisted he was innocent and appealed the court’s decision, but Moscow City Court upheld the punishment, the report states.

Russia is also holding former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was imprisoned for 16 years in 2020 after being accused of spying.

But Moscow has previously released some American detainees after striking a deal to exchange prisoners with the U.S.

WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia in February 2022 after she was accused of having vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia. She faced imprisonment of up to 10 years but was freed in December 2022 under a prisoner swap with the U.S. in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who was serving nine years in a Russian penal colony after being accused of assaulting a police officer, was also released as part of a prisoner exchange. He was swapped in April 2022 for Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko who had been jailed for drug smuggling in Connecticut.