A California woman was arrested on charges of conspiring to smuggle sensitive space communications technology to her native China, federal authorities said. Si Chen, 32, also known as Cathy Chen, between March 2013 and December 2015 allegedly purchased and smuggled more than USD 100,000 worth of sensitive communications devices without obtaining proper export licenses required by federal law.
The items included components commonly used in military communications “jammers” from which Chen removed the export- control warning stickers prior to shipping, according to the charge sheet.
“Federal export laws are designed to protect American interests by preventing the proliferation of technology that may fall into the wrong hands,” Acting US Attorney Sandra Brown said in a statement.
“We will vigorously pursue those who traffic items that could harm our national security if they land in the wrong hands.”
Authorities said Chen used several aliases and a forged passport to evade detection and ran her operation with unnamed co-conspirators in China.
The indictment alleges that after she purchased the restricted goods and technology, she would ship them to Hong Kong under a false name while falsifying the description of the products and their value.
The products included microwave components that had applications in space technology and a so-called Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier used in space communications.
If convicted of the 14 charges in the indictment, Chen faces up to 150 years in prison.