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U.S. Woman Sentenced in Plot to Smuggle Fighter Jet Engines to China


FILE - A U.S. F-16 fighter jet is seen in a hangar in South Burlington, Vermont, Dec. 17, 2012.

A woman in the western U.S. state of California has been sentenced to 50 months in prison for "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... China."

A U.S. Justice Department statement says 45-year-old Wenxia Man, also known as Wency Man of San Diego was convicted of the crime on June 9.

Wenxia Man
Wenxia Man

Prosecutors say evidence shows that between March of 2011 and June of 2013, Man conspired with a contact in China named Zhang Xinsheng to send equipment that included engines used in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 Raptor fighter jet, the F-16 fighter jet, and the MQ-9 Reaper/Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Man described 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, according to the statement.

In May, the U.S. defense department released a report on military and security developments involving China that said Beijing is using extensive cyber and human espionage to acquire foreign military technology.