Image via WikipediaLOS ANGELES—A Southern California man was convicted today on a series of federal charges related to schemes to smuggle many items into the United States, including surface-to-air missiles designed to shoot down aircraft.
Yi Qing Chen, 46, of Rosemead, California, was convicted of five felony counts by a federal jury that heard two weeks of testimony.
The evidence presented during the trial in United States District Court showed that Chen conspired to smuggle, among other things, Chinese-made QW-2 shoulder-fired missiles into the United States. The guilty verdict in relation to the missile plot is the nation’s first conviction at trial under an anti-terrorism statute that outlaws the importation of missile systems designed to destroy aircraft. Enacted in December 2004, the statute carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years and the possibility of life without parole in federal prison.
The case against Chen is the result of Operation Smoking Dragon, an FBI-led undercover investigation into smuggling operations in Southern California. Smoking Dragon and a related investigation in New Jersey led to the indictment of 87 individuals on charges related to international conspiracies to smuggle counterfeit United States currency, drugs and other contraband into the United States. Operation Smoking Dragon resulted in four indictments in Los Angeles that named 34 defendants, all of whom have now been convicted.
In 2006, a man who conspired with Chen pleaded guilty in relation to various smuggling plots, including the scheme to bring the surface-to-air missiles into the United States (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/pressroom/pr2006/044.html). That co-defendant, Chao Tung Wu, died while pending sentencing.
The evidence in the case showed that Chen and Wu met with an undercover FBI agent and agreed to arrange the importation of shoulder-fired QW-2 missiles, as well as launch and operation hardware for the missiles, from the People’s Republic of China. The missiles were never delivered because Wu and Chen were arrested in 2005 before the deal was concluded.
Chen was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, distribution of cocaine, trafficking in counterfeit cigarettes, trafficking in contraband cigarettes, and conspiracy to import missile systems designed to destroy aircraft.
Chen is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer on February 7. At sentencing, Chen faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in federal prison for the conviction in the missile smuggling plot, and he faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison.
Operation Smoking Dragon was an investigation run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The United States Secret Service assisted in the investigation in relation to the smuggling of counterfeit $100 bills called “Supernotes” that are believed to have been manufactured in North Korea.
Media contact information for Randy Economy and Brian Hews and Los Cerritos Community Newspaper
Randy Economy and Brian Hews are "two of the best" Investigative Reporters in all of Southern California. They are responsible for uncovering the biggest 'political pay to pay scandal' in the HISTORY of Los Angeles County government, deep inside the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office. Randy and Brian's work has been featured on Fox News, NBC LA, CBS/KCAL, KTLK-AM 1150, The Mark Isler Show, The David Cruz Show, Univision Radio Network, KTLA News, Los Angeles Times, LA Daily News, KFI Talk Radio, KABC Talk Radio, KABC Eyewitness News and dozens of other media outlets across America. He is the On-Line Editor for Hews Media Group who publishes Los Cerritos Community Newspaper and the La Mirada Lamplighter. If you are interested in interviewing Randy and Brian for your news program, radio talk show, etc., drop an email to Randy@CerritosNews.net, or call 562 407-3873 during regular business hours. Thanks for all of your AMAZING SUPPORT and INTEREST! America's community newspapers are the BACK bone of a FREE MEDIA. Los Cerritos Community Newspaper can be found at www.loscerritosnews.net. Investigative Reporting is becoming a "lost art" here in the United States. Randy Economy and Brian Hews are determined to "keep politicians" on their toes and accountable.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Yi Qing Chen: Rosemead man Faces at Least 25 Years in Prison for Convictions in Smuggling Schemes, Including Plot to Bring Surface-to-Air Missiles Into United States
on 10/12/2010 04:35:00 PM
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LISTEN TO RANDY ECONOMY AND BRIAN HEWS ON KFI TALK RADIO
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Publisher Brian Hews and Reporter Randy Economy were featured on KFI AM 640 on the Tim Conway Jr. Show on Thursday, October 17 to discuss the arrest of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, Property Tax Agent Ramin Salari and Assessor Major Property Appraiser Mark McNeil on dozens of felony charges. The segment was broadcast live to millions of listeners throughout the Western United States. LCCN will post additional interviews by Mr. Hews and Mr. Economy in the future.
WATCH: LCCN, Randy Economy featured on Fox News
Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic Los Cerritos Community Newspaper’s exclusive groundbreaking coverage into the corruption probe at the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office is now the focal point of a multi part series that began airing Wednesday night on Fox News 11 in Southern California. LCCN was the first media outlet to break the story about the massive criminal investigation that has now gripped the entire Los Angeles County Hall of Administration. “We thank Fox News for recognizing featuring Los Cerritos Community Newspaper in their coverage,” said Brian Hews, President and Publisher of Hews Media Group. “LCCN has been working with dozens of media outlets across the country on this massive scandal for the past eight months,” Hews said. Featured in this report is LCCN Investigative Reporter Randy Economy who tells about how the community newspaper was able to “piece the puzzle together” that has resulted in the arrest of one former property appraiser, and the recent departure of Assessor John Noguez on a “paid leave of absence.” Look for more segments on Fox News 11 during the next several days and weeks. Reporter Gina Silva is featured in this segment.
Randy Economy appears on NBC News Non Stop California with Colleen Williams
Randy Economy appears on California Non Stop with Colleen Williams from NBC News. Randy Economy appeared on NBC New's Non Stop California in June, 2012. This is what NBC said about Randy and Los Cerritos Community Newspaper. "Los Cerritos Community Newspaper recently published hundreds of e-mails between Los Angeles County Assessor John R. Noguez and several property tax agents. The emails were obtained by the newspaper through a series of public document requests. This is the second set of documents published by the community newspaper that has been at the forefront of reporting and exposing the alleged pay to play activities between tax agents and Noguez for the past two years. Reporter Randy Economy joins Colleen Williams on Nonstop News LA to discuss how their investigation began on June 25, 2012.”
Hear Randy Economy and Brian Hews on the David Cruz Show!
Hear Los Cerritos Community Newspaper Publisher Brian Hews and Reporter Randy Economy on The David Cruz Show during the week of June 25, 2012 on KTLK AM 1150 in Southern California. The segment begins at the 56:00 part in this clip and lasts for thirty minutes.
Brian Hews, Randy Economy on CBS 2 News KCAL 9 with Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper featured CBS News with Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan CBS/KCAL Investigative Reporter Dave Bryan interviews Randy Economy and Brian Hews from Los Cerritos Community Newspaper the day more than 300 law enforcement officials raided 12 different locations in the political scandal that is consuming Los Angeles County. Thanks CBS News for acknowledging the hard work of LCCN!