“Selfless service”: American hero, a Marine who served in Secret Service and the CIA, rescues boy from war-torn Ukraine

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Editor note: Our team at Law Enforcement Today has utilized the professional services of API Consulting Group as part of our research into some of our deeper-dive pieces.  We are proud to present this story about how their leadership just saved yet another life.

KYIV, UKRAINEHero, noun:  “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character”; “a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.”

Here at Law Enforcement Today we often bring you stories of heroes, seemingly ordinary mortals with exceptional, selfless achievements.  Many, if not most, of those heroes are those who run toward certain danger without a second thought.

Anthony Sabio is just such a hero.

A veteran Hospital Corpsman of the U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations, Sabio also served this great country in the U.S. Secret Service and the Central Intelligence Agency.  After extensive experience in conflict areas in those capacities, Sabio now serves as an independent consultant and philanthropist, sharing his expertise in international security matters and working to help others in need.

It probably comes as no surprise, then, that Sabio pulled off an astounding and dangerous solo mission to rescue a boy from war-torn Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion.

Fifteen-year-old Ukrainian-American Timur McAlicher was living in Kyiv, Ukraine with his mother, while his father lived in the United States.  McAlicher’s parents wanted their son to leave Ukraine for the U.S. after the invasion, but were having difficulty arranging for him to leave the country.

Sabio told Law Enforcement Today:

“His father was a citizen over here, and he was trying everything he can to get his son moved from Kyiv.”

Anthony Sabio in Ukraine
Anthony Sabio in Ukraine

After hearing of the boy’s plight, Sabio did not hesitate to act.

He told LET:

“When it came to me, the operation was kind of play it by ear, and from the time that I said, yes, I was going to go, I was boots on the ground within 12 hours.

“And then from there, I made the decision… to walk across the border and make my way to the boy and get him out.

“There was really no plan in effect.  It was kind of something that I did ad hoc at the time.  I utilized all my skills and training that was given to me in my time in the military and government service.”

Sabio added:

“But I also had determination.

“I wasn’t going to fail.”

This sort of determination was definitely a necessity, as Sabio faced numerous obstacles to his success.

As a solo operator, for instance, he had to make necessary and trustworthy connections de novo in Ukraine.

He told LET:

“The people over there were… very skeptical, and there was a couple of situations where I was stopped and surrounded by Ukrainian citizens trying to protect, to figure out who I was.

“Luckily, my cover, being a Corpsman, … helped me tremendously to get through.

“And trying to connect with the good hearts of the Ukrainian people, I was able to develop a network.”

Destroyed vehicle in Ukraine, a common sight
Destroyed vehicle in Ukraine, a common sight

The timing was also extraordinarily difficult, as Sabio was attempting his extraction within the first few days of the Russia-Ukraine conflict after the invasion.

Sabio told LET:

“The situation was definitely fluctuating.  I mean, this was the beginning of the war.  This was three or four days after the invasion.

“The lines weren’t drawn.  It wasn’t clear-cut where the Russians were, where they were moving to, what was happening with the Ukrainians.

“Everyone was on edge.

“It was definitely the most destabilized situation I’ve been in, not knowing anything.

“Intelligence coming in was fluctuating.  It was going from, the Russians are coming south, to, the …. Ukrainians are meeting them there, and drawing a line right there.  

“You just didn’t know what direction they were going to go.”

Finances also proved to be challenge, as Sabio’s Romanian funds were “pretty much useless” in Ukraine.

Sabio found considerable help through his contacts with API International Consulting Group, which helped him with:

“Things like [finances], those obstacles, how am I going to pay for stuff, how am I going to move around, those are major things, and then on top of that, having intel on where the Russians are moving to.”

Sabio continued:

“[API CEO Stephen Komorek] was instrumental in telling me what kind of armaments are moving, telling me what are the Ukrainians currently doing, in what areas.

“Everyone tracked my location, and they were able to see what was happening surrounding me, and that helped me focus on what I needed to do:

“…Establish my relationships and try to stay safe as much as possible.  

“They were like my guardian angels.”

https://fundourpolice.com/

Stephen Komorek, who is on the Board of Directors of the World Association of Detectives (WAD) and The National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS), told LET:

“As difficult as Tony [Sabio] is putting it out there, it was at least a hundred times worse and more difficult than most people could ever understand.

“I remember one time, he and I were on the phone, and we were going to go one direction, we were about to do a movement, and we found out that there was going to be vacuum bombs that were going to be dropped, and that there were new troop movements moving in a different direction.

“Tony had to really think on his feet.  He had already been 27 hours without sleep at that point, and still moving, and he was right in the middle of the conflict.

“Just those sharp decisions and his key mindset, and really, his dedication to that mission.

“As a father, he could understand, as with all parents, what if that was our kid?

“What would we want someone else to do to help our kid?…

“Tony persevered directly through that, no sleep, air raids constantly….

“And he’s moving through this, rescuing a child.”

Not only did API provide intelligence on the unfolding and dangerous situation in Ukraine, but the organization also offered a personal connection that Sabio, as a single-man operator, found invaluable.

Romanian border town of Siret
Romanian border town of Siret

Sabio told LET:

“The other aspect was the psychological aspect.  

“I am by myself out here, and I’m winging it.  

“I’m trying to make this happen, and … it was a long, long time out there, and I stayed up [without sleep], and once you start staying up, your mind starts playing tricks on you, and talking to other people kind of sets you right back into the mission.

“And it also gives you that comfort, because I knew that they were on the other side of the pond… just to have that level of communication… I felt that I wasn’t alone.

“And that was the main thing, not feeling that you were alone.  It helped me push through.”

Over the course of several sleepless days and nights, Sabio was able to travel from Romania to Kyiv, retrieve young Timur McAlicher, and exit Ukraine, all while navigating through dangerous and deadly threats.  

He reunited Timur with his father at Dulles Airport, a memorable and joyous event, to say the least.

Sabio said:

“The look on the father’s face — it’s priceless.”

Reunion at Dulles Airport
Reunion at Dulles Airport

Despite overcoming monumental hurdles alone in war-torn Ukraine, at grave risk to life and limb, Sabio humbly credits positive American attitudes with the success of his mission.

He told LET:

“Being a father myself and seeing this, I felt that something needed to happen.

“And I think that ties in with everything that true Americans are about.

“We’re not about this personal stuff.   True Americans are based on protecting and helping and taking care of others.

“We stand up as Americans. 

“I don’t think I did anything different than any other God-loving American would do when faced with the same situation.”

He continued:

“Someone asked would I do it again, and it’s yes, because if I could do something to help somebody, to save one life…

“Why do we do this?  Why do we do security?  Why do we do any of this?  

“I just preach it to everyone that I talk to, everyone that I work with, the clients that I have:

“The true mission of why we do this is to save lives, and if we can’t do that, if we fail in that, there’s no reason for us to be here….

“There’s something about Americans that embodies, to me, selflessness and something honorable.”

Sabio concluded:

“There’s a lot of Americans who are willing to do the same thing….

“I hope that everything I’ve done, and everything Steve [Komorek] has done in our careers shows what it is to be an American, shows the determination, the selflessness.”

Komorek bolstered Sabio’s observations on American attitudes with his own note that a “silver lining” in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine has been the opportunity for thousands of Americans, especially American veterans, to step up and offer humanitarian assistance.

“Since the fall [of Afghanistan], I have seen so many thousands of veterans have that task and purpose again, and they have… really dedicated themselves.

“And we see that now, not just in Afghanistan, but in the Ukraine.

“And now the veterans are saying, hey, what more can we do….

“We’re hearing more and more about the good of Americans, not what other countries hear on their local medias, but we’re hearing stories about good Americans who are living those warrior ethos, that selfless service, that honor, and just wanting to serve others.”

Anthony Sabio has offered his considerable skills and expertise to the philanthrophic arm of API International Consulting Group, which has a team of everyone from brigadier generals, to leaders in the Congressional advisory board for human trafficking and career intelligence professionals.

And we at Law Enforcement Today are certain that his heroic and selfless humanitarian efforts will continue to help countless others.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

The best private investigators that you’ve probably never heard of

Kidnapping. Missing persons. Wrongful imprisonment.

These events happen every single day across the world. But thanks to the special skills of highly trained teams, these suspects don’t stand a chance.

We recently got the chance to speak with representatives from API Consulting, an international consulting firm that has handled some of the most high profile cases in countries around the world.

API Consulting handle all US operations stateside and all operations around the globe coming from within the United States.

From around-the-clock surveillance to boots on the ground operations, this team reps one heck of a resume.

One thing became very clear in our conversation with US Operations Director Stephen Komorek:

These guys know what they’re doing.

“Selfless service”:  American hero, a Marine who served in Secret Service and the CIA, rescues boy from war-torn Ukraine
API CEO Stephen Komorek (Photo – John Chapple)

The team boasts an impressive set of skills, with crewmembers repping extensive military and law enforcement backgrounds.

So, have you heard of them? That’s a tricky question. These guys are everywhere. You most likely just haven’t realized it. This team keeps nearly everything out of the media in an attempt to keep their clientele protected.

“We work behind the scenes and under the radar,”said Komorek.

But… some stories can and need to be told.

Back in November of 2018, an American college student named Matthew Fellows was imprisoned in China after a jealous love triangle landed him in a world of trouble.

Apparently the student had originally traveled to China to teach English to schoolchildren, but eventually joined a program at a university there.

Apparently jealous of Fellows and his relationship with an attractive Russian model, a ‘love rival’ falsely accused Fellows of smoking a joint at a university function and passing it around to others — a claim that authorities in China take very seriously.

China has an extremely strict stance on drugs, and a conviction could come with a death sentence.

Fellows faced charges of drug trafficking due to the claim that he had shared the marijuana with his friends. He was promptly locked up and unable to contact his family, only being allowed to visit with a US Consulate representative for 30 minutes a month.

Komorek, who was instrumental in getting Matthew released, said that the student’s situation was grim.

‘In some places in China you can get the death penalty for as few as two counts of drug trafficking, Mr. Fellows had four, they have a zero tolerance approach,’ he said. And Fellows wasn’t about to be given a fair trial.

“Remember, in China there are no defense attorneys – only prosecutors. There are three phases of justice. Number one, you are arrested and imprisoned, immediately labeled guilty while they look for evidence. Number two, authorities turn over anything they find to the prosecutor. Then number three, the prosecutor gives their recommendation to the judge and the sentence is carried out. It’s that quick.”

“Selfless service”:  American hero, a Marine who served in Secret Service and the CIA, rescues boy from war-torn Ukraine
Matthew Fellows was imprisoned for a crime that he didn’t commit. (Facebook)

 

The boy’s parents remained mostly in the dark during his imprisonment.

“The Fellows were completely distraught by this as you might imagine, fearful for their son’s life,” Komorek said.

Fellows was finally freed from his prison cell after being locked up for nearly a year due to some incredible negotiation skills from Komorek and his team.

The 23-year-old was reportedly confined to an 18′ x 11′ cell with 15 other prisoners and was given just a blanket and one meal of rice each day.

In November, after a long battle with Chinese officials, he was finally released and brought home. On his way back to the US, Fellows posted to Facebook.

“Selfless service”:  American hero, a Marine who served in Secret Service and the CIA, rescues boy from war-torn Ukraine
Donna and Bill Fellows worked with Komorek’s team to negotiate their son’s release.

 

“I haven’t worn shoes in 8 months let alone walking for more than three minutes,” the post read. “My feet hurt and so do all the muscles associated foot movement in my lower legs. I’ll get the hang of strolling around on my feet after a few days.’

His mother, Donna Fellows, was overjoyed by the work done to bring her son home safely.

“We’re absolutely thrilled, we can’t wait to get him home and smother him with love and hugs,” she said just before his return. “It’s been a traumatic time for the entire family, we’re just glad it’s over.”

So how did Stephen help locate and return the Fellows’ missing child?

“We work behind the scenes and under the radar”

Once they learned that Fellows had been imprisoned, they reached out to Chinese officials.

“We immediately contacted our assets within the Chinese government and were able to quickly ascertain what had happened to Mr. Fellows,” said Komorek. “We then conducted our own investigation and working with the local authorities and court system, we managed to get to the truth.”

“Selfless service”:  American hero, a Marine who served in Secret Service and the CIA, rescues boy from war-torn Ukraine
Matthew Fellows was safely returned home after an eight-month imprisonment in China.

Komorek, also a member of the World Association of Detectives, says his team was also able to establish that a ‘love rival’ of Matthew made false claims of the crime to police.

“Crimes were reported to the local police because of a romantic rival he was even unaware of,” he said. “We quickly came to learn that the crimes Mr. Fellows was accused of, he did not commit.”

After Komorek’s team provided extensive evidence from their investigation, a judge finally admitted that there was no validity to the allegations and dropped all charges against Fellows.

________________________

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