February 25, 2024
Jinchao Wei, 22, often known as Patrick Wei, in a sketch from court docket. Picture credit score: Display screen shot, CBS8.com

A San Diego sailor accused of promoting army secrets and techniques to a Chinese language intelligence officer will stay in custody, a choose dominated Tuesday.

Jinchao Wei, 22, often known as Patrick Wei, is accused of accepting bribes in change for data regarding “the protection and weapon capabilities of U.S. Navy ships, potential vulnerabilities of those ships and data associated to ship motion,” in accordance with a grand jury indictment.

Prosecutors allege he additionally supplied the Chinese language officer with images of army {hardware} and particulars about an upcoming maritime warfare train involving U.S. Marines.

Wei, who was assigned as a machinist’s mate on the united statesEssex, was arrested final Wednesday at Naval Base San Diego as he arrived for work.

Wei, who was ordered detained final week, appeared in court docket Tuesday afternoon for a listening to concerning his custodial standing. Protection legal professional Jason Conforti mentioned his shopper would stipulate to remaining in custody for now till he obtained extra proof from the prosecution.

Assistant U.S. Legal professional Fred Sheppard informed U.S. Justice of the Peace Choose Michelle Pettit that prosecutors would transfer to maintain Wei detained on grounds of being a flight threat and a hazard to the group.

Sheppard argued the knowledge Wei allegedly supplied the Chinese language officer made him a hazard to the group at giant and “definitely a hazard to the hundreds of sailors who’re on these ships and transported by these ships.”

The prosecutor mentioned the Chinese language officer approached Wei earlier than he was assigned to the Essex and sought data and pictures of ship actions out of San Diego ports.

After Wei was first approached by the Chinese language intelligence officer, he allegedly informed a fellow sailor he was being recruited by an intelligence company for “fairly clearly (expletive) espionage,” in accordance with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace.

The indictment alleges that starting final 12 months, Wei transmitted “paperwork, sketches, plans, notes, and different data” to the handler, who allegedly instructed Wei to destroy any proof substantiating their relationship.

On Tuesday, Sheppard mentioned a few of that data included particulars on dwelling circumstances aboard the Essex, manuals for its weapons methods and data concerning its onboard communications.

Conforti informed the choose Wei wouldn’t pose a hazard as he not has a place with the Navy and now has no entry to the knowledge prosecutors allege he supplied.

Relating to flight, Sheppard mentioned Wei’s solely relative within the U.S. is his mom, who the prosecutor mentioned was not solely conscious of Wei’s alleged disclosure of army secrets and techniques, however actively supported it.

Sheppard mentioned Wei’s Chinese language contact has additionally prolonged gives for Wei to journey to China. The defendant allegedly had been trying to find flights shortly earlier than his arrest.

Wei’s arrest coincided with the arrest final week of a U.S. Navy sailor based mostly out of Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme.

Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao, 26, additionally was ordered held on Tuesday and faces related accusations of sending delicate army data to a Chinese language intelligence officer, together with operational plans for a large-scale U.S. army train within the Indo-Pacific Area.

Each males allegedly obtained hundreds of {dollars} for the knowledge they’re accused of passing alongside. Officers continued to say no to touch upon whether or not the identical intelligence officer was linked to each instances.

– Metropolis Information Service