LOS ANGELES (AP) - Two men attempting to board a plane to China with nearly a dozen sensitive infrared cameras in their luggage were arrested on Saturday, a federal official said. Federal agents stopped the pair on the jetway as they were preparing to board the flight to Beijing.
The men had been in the United States for about a week, said Rick Weir, assistant special agent in charge of the Los Angeles office of the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.
Yong Guo Zhi, a Chinese national, and Tah Wei Chao, a naturalized (http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=U.S.%20citizen&sid=breitbart.com), were arrested for investigation of trying to take thermal imaging cameras with potential military use to China without the proper export licenses, Weir said.
Julie Salcido, a supervising agent with the Bureau of Industry and Security, said one of the men purchased the cameras, assuring the seller repeatedly that they were only for domestic use.
“He repeatedly said he wouldn’t export,” she said.
Ten of the cameras, which measure about 2 inches square and cost about $5,000 each, were found in the men’s checked luggage, Weir said. Salcido said it appeared they split the shipment up between them.
The cameras have both commercial and military uses but they are “very expensive, highly sensitive,” Weir said. “They’re not something you could buy off the shelf.”
The men were taken to the downtown Metropolitan Detention Center and could not immediately be reached for comment.