On September 26, 2012, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced that Ming Suan Zhang was charged in Brooklyn federal court with attempting to illegally export thousands of pounds of aerospace-grade carbon fiber from the United States to China.
According to the complaint, Zhang was arrested after trying to negotiate a deal to acquire the specialized carbon fiber, a high-tech material used frequently in the military, defense and aerospace industries, and is therefore closely regulated by the United States Department of Commerce to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism.
The complaint alleges that Zhang and two of his Taiwanese accomplices attempted to locate large quantities of the specialized carbon fiber via remote Internet contacts. Zhang told his accomplice that his usual order would be one to two tons, however, this time he was looking to purchase 100 kilograms of the carbon fiber. Shortly thereafter, Zhang contacted an undercover law enforcement agent in an effort to finalize the deal to export the carbon fiber from New York to China. In one conversation, Zhang stated that he had an urgent need for the carbon fiber in connection with the scheduled test flight of a Chinese fighter plane. Zhang then arranged a meeting with an undercover agent to take possession of a carbon fiber sample, which was to be shipped to China and analyzed to verify its authenticity. Zhang was subsequently placed under arrest.
If convicted, Zhang faces up to 20 years in prison.