Lian Yang, of Seattle Washington, made his first appearance in U.S. District Court of Washington this week after being charged with attempting to smuggle sensitive military technology to China, Justice Department officials said.
The 46-year-old man was being watched by the FBI since early last year after a tip that he was seeking to purchase 300 radiation-hardened, programmable semiconductor devices that are used in satellites, which are restricted from export and
require approval from the State Department. Yang was apprehended after he met numerous times with an undercover agents and discussed his desire to purchase the sensitive military parts. He traveled to and from China last year and had agreed to pay the undercover agents $620,000 to obtain the 300 parts through subterfuge.
"On multiple occasions Yang and the participants in the meetings discussed legal restrictions on exporting these types of parts," a Justice Department press release states. "
In late July 2010, Yang was detained when he returned from a trip to China and was questioned about some equipment in his luggage. Customs and Border Protection personnel as well as HSI agents reviewed with Yang the laws regarding technology going to China. Yang continued to try to purchase the parts for export, arranging to wire transfer funds to an account controlled by those he thought would assist him. In fact, the account was set up by the FBI."