By Ed Diokno
A Chinese American woman, Wenxia Man, 45, was convicted by a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida of conspiring to export high-tech military weapons and related technical data to the People’s Republic of China, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
Man, a San Diego resident, was found guilty of trying to export an unmanned Hellfire missile-firing drone and jet fighter engines to China via South Florida without the proper license, according to a DOJ press release.
“Man was convicted of conspiring to evade U.S. export laws by agreeing to illegally acquire and send to China fighter jet engines, a highly sophisticated military drone and related technical data,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin. “Circumventing U.S. laws designed to safeguard our most sensitive materials serves to undermine our national security interests and we will aggressively pursue those who try to do so. I would like to thank the many members of law enforcement whose tireless efforts led to this verdict.”
Man was convicted of plotting to export and cause the export of defense articles without the required license.
“Protecting our nation from the illegal movement of technology and defense articles is a top national security concern,” said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “In the interests of our national defense, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to target for criminal prosecution those who attempt to unlawfully procure military equipment, munitions, tools and materials.”
According to evidence presented at trial, between approximately March 2011 and June 2013, Man conspired with Xinsheng Zhang, who was located in China, to illegally acquire and export to China defense articles including: Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines used in the F-22 Raptor fighter jet; General Electric F110-GE-132 engines designed for the F-16 fighter jet; the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, capable of firing Hellfire Missiles; and technical data for each of these defense articles.
During the course of the investigation, when talking to an HSI undercover agent, Man referred to Zhang, as a “technology spy” who worked on behalf of the Chinese military to copy items obtained from other countries and stated that he was particularly interested in stealth technology.
Man faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 19.