ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Canada

Chinese exports case lands in Spokane

A Canadian man suspected of sending United States defense materials to China is in jail in Spokane.

Kevin Zhang, alias Zhao Wei Zhang, 41, was arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol near Metaline Falls on Monday. He’d been wanted since January 2011 on a sealed warrant in federal court in San Diego that accuses him of conspiring to send devices used in tactical missiles and drones to the Chinese.

The charge of conspiracy to export defense articles without a license accuses Zhang, who is a naturalized Canadian citizen living in Calgary, of finding U.S. citizens to legally purchase gyroscopes and send them to China or send them to Canada, where they would then be shipped to China. Zhang has family in China, according to court documents.

Gyroscopes are classified defense materials, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of State. Though available for purchase in the U.S., shipping the material abroad requires a license. U.S. policy prohibits exports of such materials to China.

Investigators say Zhang contacted a man in San Diego on April 6, 2010, and discussed purchasing Gyroscopes “at a premium price for the purpose of circumventing United States export laws and illegally shipping the Gyroscopes to China,” according to court documents.

Zhang also emailed an unnamed co-conspirator and client in China the next day and instructed him to find an export/import agent who does not “play by the rules” to help them get the Gyroscopes into China, the indictment alleges.

Zhang sent another email to the man in San Diego on May 25, 2010, suggesting that he find someone to smuggle the Gyroscopes on an airliner. An agreement was finalized on Oct. 1, 2010, for Zhang to ship three Gyroscopes to China in exchange for $21,000, according to the indictment.

A federal grand jury in Southern California indicted Zhang on Jan. 14, 2011.

He was booked into jail Tuesday about 8:20 p.m. and ordered to stay there to await transportation to California after he appeared Tuesday before U.S. District Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno.

Court documents say Zhang faces a maximum of 5 years in prison if convicted.

Woman duped in ‘grandparents scam’

Law enforcement is again warning of a swindle known as the grandparents scam after a 79-year-old Spokane Valley woman sent money to a con man claiming to be her grandson.

The woman called Crime Check on Monday and said a man claiming to be her grandson called on Dec. 9 and asked for money to bail out jail in Canada.

The victim believed him and sent a $2,750 money order to a man named “B” in New Jersey, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. She later realized it was scam.

Similar scams were reported last spring and in fall 2009. Anyone with an elderly relative should warn them of the scam.

“Citizens in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s grew up in a more trusting era and are particularly susceptible to this type of fraud,” according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office. “Suspects can pick their victims from obituaries where the children and grandchildren are occasionally listed by name.”

Montana schedules Canadian’s execution

DEER LODGE, Mont. (AP) — A Montana judge today scheduled a Jan. 31 execution date for the only known Canadian on death row in the United States.

District Judge John Larson’s order for Ronald Allen Smith’s execution came two days after a Helena judge issued an order staying the execution.

Smith, 53, of Red Deer, Alberta, is seeking a court ruling on whether the state’s method of carrying out the death penalty is unconstitutional.

Larson said the Helena judge’s ruling on Monday “attempts, in my view, to render what I have just done annulled.”

The Missoulian newspaper reported that Larson will ask the state Supreme Court to look at the apparently conflicting orders and clear up the issue before January.

Smith was convicted in 1983 of fatally shooting Harvey Mad Man, 24, and Thomas Running Rabbit. At the time of the 1982 deaths, Smith was 25 and had crossed the Canadian border on foot the previous day with two friends and a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle.

Prosecutors alleged that he robbed the Browning cousins and shot them execution-style in the woods near East Glacier.

Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide, as well as two counts of aggravated kidnapping. In February 1983, he was offered a plea agreement that called for a 110-year prison sentence, but he rejected that in favor of a death sentence.

Smith changed his mind in 1984 and has been fighting his death sentence ever since, arguing he had ineffective counsel.

His appeal took the case to the Montana Supreme Court in 1986, which upheld the death penalty. The U.S. Supreme Court declined last month to hear the case.

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Sirens & Gavels.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here