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Chinese national arrested here trying to smuggle military parts to Iran

A Chinese national was arrested Tuesday while trying to cross into Canada and charged with illegally exporting military parts to Iran.

Yaohong Gong, a resident of Florida, is accused of operating a company that took part in a scheme to obtain U.S.-made airplane parts intended for China and illegally diverting them to Iran.

Gong appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was ordered detained.

“She’s a Chinese national," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel A. Violanti. “And we know of ties to the community.”

Violanti said Gong was arrested with her 9-year old son while crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and may have been heading for Toronto, where she has family.

The criminal complaint against Gong says she falsely told companies in Florida that the parts were headed for Hong Kong or China when, in fact, they were meant for Iran.

The complaint also claims the parts were intended for military aircraft such as the F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom Fighter and C-130 Transport.

Gong, who faces up to 10 years in prison and deportation if convicted, will be sent to Florida to face the charges against her.

Her son is currently in the custody of child protective services in Niagara County.


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