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U.S. soldier-turned-foreign fighter faces charges in Florida double murder after extradition from Ukraine

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A former U.S. soldier has been extradited from Ukraine and is facing charges related to a double murder in Florida and other alleged crimes, officials said Monday. Craig Austin Lang, 34, allegedly committed the double murder as well as armed robbery and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri referred to Lang's alleged actions as an "international crime spree" that was "shocking in its scope and its callous disregard for human life." He had been expected to make his first appearance in Fort Myers on Monday to face charges.

CBS News has reached out to Lang's court-appointed attorneys for comment. 

Court documents state that Lang and a co-defendent, Alex Jared Zwiefelhofer, met in 2017 in Ukraine, where Lang had been living and fighting on and off since 2015, according to the BBC. Zwiefelhofer said they were members of a volunteer battalion fighting against Russian separatists, according to the Justice Department. The pair also allegedly traveled to Kenya and planned to fight terrorists. The two were allegedly detained by authorities when they attempted to enter South Sudan, and were deported back to the United States, the Justice Department said.

The pair allegedly reunited in Florida in 2018. They allegedly killed a couple who had planned to purchase firearms that Lang and Zwiefelhofer listed for sale online. The two then allegedly robbed the victims to pay for travel to Venezuela, where they "planned to fight the Venezuelan regime," according to the Justice Department's news release. 

Neither man traveled to Venezuela and Zwiefelhofer was arrested a month later, the BBC reported. Zwiefelhofer was convicted in March and is scheduled to be sentenced in August, according to the Justice Department.

In 2018, Lang allegedly traveled to North Carolina where he took part in a plot to acquire a passport under an assumed name. He allegedly traded multiple firearms, a military smoke grenade and about $1,500 in cash with a man named Dameon Shae Adcock in exchange for using Adcock's information on a passport application, the Justice Department says. Lang and another co-conspirator working to travel under a false identity allegedly acquired tickets to travel from Georgia to New York to Ukraine. The others involved in the scheme pled guilty to charges connected to the scheme and were sentenced in 2020. 

In 2019, Lang was charged with misusing a passport at the U.S. border in Arizona to obtain a Mexican visa. In total, he faces charges in three states: Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. 

Lang was extradited this year after the European Court of Human Rights rejected his claim challenging extradition under the court's convention. If convicted, he faces up to a life sentence in prison. 

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