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The Justice Department building in Washington, D.C., February 1, 2018 (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

A former engineer for defense manufacturer Raytheon was sentenced to prison for illegally transporting weapons technology to China, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

Wei Sun, 49, had worked as an electrical engineer with Raytheon Missiles and Defense in Tuscon, Ariz. Wei is a Chinese national and naturalized American citizen, and was sentenced to six years and two months in prison for violating the Arms Export Control Act.

According to the Justice Department, Wei took a company laptop to China between December 2018 and January 2019 that included technical details for a missile-guidance system.

“Sun was a highly skilled engineer entrusted with sensitive missile technology that he knew he could not legally transfer to hostile hands,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a press release. “Nevertheless, he delivered that controlled technology to China.”

U.S. attorney Michael Bailey said in the press release that Raytheon had cooperated with the FBI during the investigation.

Raytheon is among a group of U.S. defense contractors sanctioned by China over arms sales to rival Taiwan. U.S.-China relations have significantly deteriorated in recent years with the onset of a trade war between the two nations, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, which U.S. officials believe China failed to prevent.

Additionally, the Justice Department has in recent years issued a number of indictments against suspected Chinese spies, or of researchers who failed to disclose funding from the Chinese government. The DOJ indicted an ethnic Tibetan NYPD officer, Baimadajie Angwang, in September for allegedly spying on expatriate Tibetans living in New York.

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