WASHINGTON (AP) — Maria Butina, a Russian who admitted to secretly working for the Kremlin to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups, was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison.

Butina has been jailed since her July 2018 arrest and had asked for a sentence of time served. But U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan imposed a sentence that would require Butina to spend an additional nine months behind bars, before being deported.

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Chances are by now you've heard all the chatter surrounding suspected Russian agent Maria Butina. The 29-year-old Russian woman who is a gun-rights activist with deep ties to the National Rifle Association. She was arrested on Sunday, (July 15) and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent and conspiring against the U.S. government.

But did you know, she may have had a connection to South Dakota?

KSFY TV is reporting that Butina was preparing to move to South Dakota to live with her boyfriend at the time of her arrest over the weekend.

According to the KSFY report, Butina may have been involved in a relationship with South Dakota-based conservative political activist Paul Erickson. Court filings show that Butina was suspected of having a romantic relationship with an unnamed 56-year-old American known as "U.S. Person 1."

The KSFY report says that Erickson allegedly matches the description of the unnamed American man, and he has supposedly been seen with Butina on a number of occasions.

Erickson has yet to comment on the matter according to KSFY.

A judge denied Butina bond after she appeared in court on Wednesday, (July 18).

Her arrest is not linked to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. However, her arrest does indicate the U.S. governments focus on possible Russian influence in domestic politics.

Source: Associated Press

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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