ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Two men are behind bars accused of trying to purchase military sensors in Albuquerque and take them to China.
According to federal search warrants, the Chinese nationals traveled to New Mexico in December thinking they were meeting a man who would sell them the sensors. Instead, they met with an undercover agent.
Homeland Security Investigations special agents caught onto 29-year-old Wentong Cai’s plans to purchase military sensors in Albuquerque. Wentong Cai, a graduate student at Iowa State University, contacted the manufacturer saying he wanted to purchase up to twenty of the sensors for experiments.
The sensors are used for communication; they are also regulated under federal law.
The warrants states Wentong Cai and a man he identified as a colleague, Bo Cai, went on to exchange several emails with an undercover agent who said he distributed the sensors. According to the warrant, Wentong Cai later said he was “curious” what it would take to ship the sensors to China, but was told it was illegal. Wentong Cai then agreed to use the agent’s “proven method” of smuggling the sensors to China through Mexico.
In December Bo Cai’s company wired $27,000 into an account. Wentong and Bo Cai then traveled to Albuquerque to meet with the agent, who even took the men on a tour of “Breaking Bad” filming sites. Wengton Cai posted photos on his Facebook page of the tour.
The warrant states the agent repeatedly asked the men about applying for a license for the sensors. Wentong Cai told the agent they didn’t care how they got it. The agent gave them a non-functioning sensor hidden in a computer speaker.
According to the search warrant, U.S. Customs and Border Protection located the sensor as Bo Cai was trying to fly from Los Angeles to China.
Wentong Cai was arrested in Iowa in January for unlawful export of defense articles, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy. Online records show he was booked into jail in Santa Fe county in February and Bo Cai is currently in custody at the Santa Fe county jail.