Americas Military

Military drone parts smuggler nabbed at Sea-Tac



A man arrested at a Seattle airport on suspicion of smuggling military drone parts to China now faces federal charges.

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles claim Pei Qi “Paul” Ma worked with an American conspirator to smuggle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) parts. He did so, prosecutors say, while flouting U.S. laws meant to protect military technology.

Ma and co-defendant Juan “Jean” Deng were indicted late last year by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. Ma, 52, was arrested in Seattle in early November, three years after he is alleged to have started smuggling UAV parts.

Ma and Deng are accused of violating federal arms control laws meant to prevent the export of sensitive military equipment, including “dual use” items also used for civilian purposes. Neither is accused of espionage.

The investigation began in 2013, when Homeland Security Department agents identified a Chinese firm as a potential receiver of military goods. In court papers, Ma is described by investigators as the manager of the Chinese company, Xi’an-based New Port Sourcing Solutions. Deng, a Homeland Security Investigations special agent told the court, was an employee.

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