Wei Sun, 49, a Chinese national and naturalized citizen of the United States, was sentenced to 38 months in prison by District Court Judge Rosemary Marquez this week. Sun previously pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
Sun was employed in Tucson for 10 years as an electrical engineer with Raytheon Missiles and Defense. Raytheon Missiles and Defense develops and produces missile systems for use by the United States military. During his employment with the company, Sun had access to information directly related to defense-related technology. Some of this defense technical information constituted what is defined as “defense articles,” which are controlled and prohibited from export without a license under the AECA and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (the ITAR).
From December 2018 to January 2019, Sun traveled from the United States to China on a personal trip. On that trip, Sun brought along unclassified technical information in his company-issued computer, including data associated with an advanced missile guidance system that was controlled and regulated under the AECA and the ITAR. Despite having been trained to handle these materials correctly, Sun knowingly transported the information to China without an export license in violation of the AECA and the ITAR.
“Sun was a highly skilled engineer entrusted with sensitive missile technology that he knew he could not legally transfer to hostile hands,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers. “Nevertheless, he delivered that controlled technology to China. Today’s sentence should stand as a warning to others who might be tempted similarly to put the nation’s security at risk.”
“The United States relies on private contractors to help build our unparalleled defense technology,” said United States Attorney Michael Bailey. “People who try to expose that technology to hostile foreign powers should know that prison awaits them. The close cooperation of the victim defense contractor and the dedication of the FBI made this case a success.”
“This isn’t about a laptop mistakenly taken on a trip, this was the illegal export of U.S. missile technology to China,” said Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler, Jr. of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “The FBI will continue to partner with companies to protect their information and our national security while bringing criminals such as Wei Sun to justice.”