2 Charged With Conspiring

To Smuggle Missiles

LOS ANGELES -- A federal grand jury indicted two men on charges of conspiring to smuggle surface-to-air missiles into the United States for use abroad. Such missiles are designed to bring down aircraft.

The U.S. attorney's office said the charges marked the first time a 2004 antiterrorism law has been used. The law calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and the possibility of life in prison without parole if convicted.

Chao Tung Wu, 51, and Yi Qing Chen, 41, are naturalized U.S. citizens born in China, authorities said. The conspiracy did not involve domestic terrorists, and the two men were told by an undercover agent that the missiles would be sent abroad, authorities said.

The indictment specified that bribes, including one for $2 million, were to be paid to certain foreign officials. Authorities declined to identify the countries involved.

The men have been in custody since August, when they were arrested as part of a federal undercover probe into smuggling in Southern California.

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-- From News Services