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November 09, 2005 

Two California Men Charged in Missile Import/Export Scheme

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted Chao Tung Wu, 51, of La Puente, California, and Yi Qing Chen, 41, of Rosemead, California, for allegedly conspiring to import surface-to-air missiles into the U.S. that were intended to be exported for use abroad.

According to the press release issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, the indictment alleges that Wu and Chen met with an undercover FBI agent and agreed to arrange the importation of several QW-2 shoulder-fired missiles, as well as the missiles' launch and operation hardware, from another country. Wu and Chen told the undercover agent that a third country would pretend to order the missiles from the manufacturer, but the missiles would, instead, be shipped to the U.S. in containers. According to the indictment, the missiles would have been fraudulently manifested as civilian equipment, such as machine components. The indictment claims that Wu, Chen and unindicted co-conspirators were to pay bribes to customs officials in other countries to ensure the shipment. One payment was to be a $2 million bribe to an official in a foreign country.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the pair were the first in the nation to be charged with conspiracy to import missile systems designed to destroy aircraft under the Prevention of Terrorist Access to Destructive Weapons Act of 2004. This statute, which was enacted in December 2004 as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (see subtitle J), carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years and the possibility of life without parole in federal prison.


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