California Resident Convicted of Conspiring to Illegally Export Fighter Jet Engines and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to China
Wenxia Man, aka Wency Man, 45, of San Diego, was convicted today by a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida of conspiring to export and cause the export of fighter jet engines, an unmanned aerial vehicle – commonly known as a drone – and related technical data to the People’s Republic of China, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
The conviction was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert C. Hutchinson of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Miami and Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).
“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 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.”
“Protecting our nation from the illegal movement of technology and defense articles is a top national security concern,” said U.S. Attorney 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.”
“ICE-HSI works very closely with numerous domestic and international partners to deny prohibited recipients access to restricted arms, munitions, weapons and controlled technologies,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Hutchinson.
“Today’s conviction of Wenxia Man demonstrates the commitment of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our partner agencies to ensure that those intent on harming our national security are brought to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Khin. “The nation’s security relies upon our military possessing the most sophisticated technology and weapon systems in the world while simultaneously preventing these items from finding their way into the hands of our adversaries.”
Man was convicted at trial of conspiring to export and cause the export of defense articles without the required license.
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, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom of the Southern District of Florida.
Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Ferrer in commending the investigative efforts of the ICE-HSI Counter Proliferation Unit and DCIS offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Walleisa of the Southern District of Florida and Thea D. R. Kendler of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.