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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Taiwan exporter is sentenced to prison for conspiring to export missile components from the US to Iran

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Yi-Lan Chen, 40, a Taiwan passport holder, was sentenced on Friday to three and a half years in prison for conspiring to illegally export dual-use commodities to Iran, following a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) Office of Export Enforcement.

Dual-use commodities are goods or technologies that have commercial application, but also could make a significant contribution to the military or nuclear potential of other nations and could be detrimental to the foreign policy or national security of the United States.

Chen had earlier pleaded guilty to all three counts filed against him, including conspiracy and attempt to export and cause the export of commodities from the United States to the Islamic Republic of Iran, in violation of the U.S.-Iran Embargo and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Chen's Taiwan corporation, Landstar Tech Company Limited, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to one year of probation.

Chen, by and through Landstar Tech, communicated and coordinated with co-conspirators in the United States, Iran, Hong Kong and elsewhere to facilitate the attempted export of dual-use goods from the United States to Iran. He took requests for U.S.-manufactured goods from customers in Iran, and along with his company, purchased those goods from U.S. companies and misrepresented the ultimate end-user or consignee of the goods.

Chen made arrangements with an undercover federal agent to have those U.S. goods hand-delivered by the undercover agent to Chen in Guam. He then planned to transport the goods back to Taiwan and then on to his customers in Iran. Chen and Landstar Tech also received payment for the purchase and shipment of the U.S. goods from his customers in Iran and then used funds received from the customers in Iran to pay the U.S. companies for those goods.

Specifically, Chen and Landstar Tech conspired to export and cause the export of and attempted to export and cause the export of 120 circular hermetic connectors (Model MIL-C-81703/Part No. 8403-7-50P) and 8,500 glass-to-metal seals of various item numbers. The circular hermetic connectors and the glass-to-metal seals were manufactured in the United States and are dual-use commodities.

Chen ultimately failed to deliver the circular hermetic connectors or the glass-to-metal seals to his customers in Iran due to law enforcement intervention.

DOC agents seized the first attempted shipment of 60 glass-to-metal seals prior to their export from the United States. In February, DOC and ICE special agents arrested Chen in Guam before he took delivery of the 60 additional circular hermetic seals or the 8,500 glass-to-metal seals from an undercover federal agent. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Arango.