Two Taiwanese nationals were charged
Wednesday with allegedly seeking to export sensitive U.S. military technology to China, including drone aircraft, spy planes and stealth technology related to F-22 fighter planes.
The plot was uncovered when federal agents investigating the smuggling of counterfeit goods such as cigarettes, boots and handbags, also discovered plots to smuggle drugs into and sensitive defense articles out of the United States.
Hui Sheng Shen, 45, and Huan Ling Chang, 41, were previously charged in connection with an alleged scheme to import 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from Taiwan into the United States. Those charges arose as a result of parallel international investigations that also disrupted conspiracies to import hundreds of millions of dollars in counterfeit goods from China.
Federal agents arrested Shen and Chang on Feb. 25 in New York. The pair were charged in a criminal complaint unsealed March 2 with one count of conspiracy to import and one count of meth importation.
The amended complaint unsealed Wednesday also charges Shen and Chang with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.
According to the amended complaint, about 1 kilogram of nearly pure crystal meth was purchased from Shen and Chang as part of an undercover law enforcement operation, which stopped the import of dozens of additional kilograms of the drug.
Based on relationships undercover law enforcement agents built with Shen and Chang, the two defendants allegedly provided a list of sensitive defense articles they sought to buy and planned to return to connections in China. The articles included unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as drones – E-2C Hawkeye surveillance planes and stealth technology related to F-22 fighter planes.
“Initial investigations into counterfeit goods importation led federal law enforcement to a meth trafficking operation and an alleged plot to export some of America’s most sensitive weapons and related technology to China,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. “The charges against Shen and Chang illustrate starkly why we do this work, and what is at stake when the security of our ports is breached for any reason. National security isn’t an a la carte enterprise. The same conduits that bring knockoff sneakers flood our communities with illegal drugs and establish dangerous criminal relationships." — Chris Dupin