Navy lieutenant, Chinese national connected to FBI raid in Jacksonville

Agents were seen cataloging computers, documents from San Jose home

VIDEO: Four people are in custody after a counterintelligence investigation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Agents with the FBI and NCIS raided a San Jose neighborhood home Thursday owned by a Navy lieutenant who was arrested Thursday and accused of a federal gun charge.

According to a federal complaint affidavit obtained by News4Jax, Fan Yang and Yang Yang, who are both listed as the owners of the home on Salamanca Ave., were arrested and accused of conspiracy to violate federal law, specifically prohibitions on firearm possession by an alien admitted under nonimmigrant visa and transfer of a firearm to a nonresident between March 2017 and Sept. 2019. Fan Yang is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare unit at NAS Jacksonville and has top security clearances.

Ge Song Toa, a Chinese national with connections to the couple, faces the same charge.

The Justice Department confirmed Friday that Fan Yang and Yang Yang were in custody pending a detention hearing. Fan Yang also faces charges of making false statement to a firearms dealer and making false statements within the executive branch's jurisdiction, according to a criminal complaint.  

According to records, Ge Song Tao was arrested Thursday in Louisiana and was being held Friday at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.

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Connection in question

The complaint alleges that Fan Yang was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Ge Song Toa in a business relationship that Fan Yang tried to conceal from the Navy and the Department of Defense.

Lt. Yang and his wife created a company called BQ Tree LLC in 2015 and that company received $205,000 in wire transfers from a Chinese company called Shanghai Breeze Technology, a known associate of Ge Song Tao, according to the complaint.

Shanghai Breeze paid Lt. Yang to handle business operations in the United States and that business included “firearms tourism,” according to the FBI. Lt. Yang contacted a business in Orlando, to pitch to them the idea of bringing Chinese nationals to the U.S. for firearms training, according to the complaint.

Firearms tourism

Firearms tourism caters to tourists from countries with strict gun control and gives them the opportunity to fire weapons they have only seen in the movies.

The FBI said Lt. Yang was being paid $5,000 a month by a Chinese company to pursue business interests in the U.S.

In an email sent in 2017 from Yang to the owner of a business in Orlando, Yang writes:

We can organize an International Practical Shooting Confederation sport shooting course for you. Let us know the time line you would like and I can give you dates for the first group. Approximate cost would be $600 per person per day of training including equipment, ammunition and firearms.. Hotels are a 45 minute drive from Orlando International Airports.

In another email, Fang writes:

“My understanding is that it’s legal for foreign nationals to shoot firearms at a range as long as the owner, or a representative is present. We are in the planning stage, so I’m requesting a 3, 5 and 7 day customized course for 10 to 20 people. They will all be Chinese Nationals. 

Trip to Nebraska

Under question, according to the complaint, is a trip that Lt. Yang took to Nebraska in 2018. According to the complaint, Lt. Yang told his superior officers he was going to Walt Disney World in Orlando for the weekend, but instead he flew to South Sioux City, Neb. As a lieutenant, he’s required to notify his command if he travels more than 400 miles away from NAS Jacksonville.

The FBI also learned that Lt. Yang bought a one-way airplane ticket from nearby Omaha to an unknown location for Ge Song Tao the same weekend. The complaint does not say whether or not the two men met during the trip.

Lt. Yang also bought a 9mm handgun for Ge Song Tao in 2017 and that gun wound up at a storage facility in Fleming Island, according to the complaint. A confidential informant told the FBI that Lt. Yang and Ge Song Tao went to a shooting range in Orange Park in 2018 four or five times and spent hours shooting, according to the FBI. The FBI said it seized the gun in a raid on Sept. 24.

When Lt. Yang sought to have his top secret security clearance renewed in January 2019, the FBI said he lied about his connection to China and Ge Song Tao. Specifically, when asked if he had any contacts with foreign nationals or if he had any foreign financial interests, Lt. Yang answered “no,” according to the complaint.

Lt. Yang is a naturalized U.S citizen who came to the country in 1999, joined the Navy in 2005 and became a citizen in 2006. He left the Navy in 2007, but re-enlisted in 2012 and quickly obtained his top secret security clearance. He’s a flight officer onboard one of the Navy’s P-8A planes. 

Ge Song Tao arrived in the U.S. in 2016 on a visa that’s good until 2026.

While News4Jax has the federal complaint, further details are not available because the judge has sealed the case.

Thursday Raid

A mobile command post was spotted outside Lt. Yang’s home and boxes were seen on a table. Agents were seen bagging and cataloging computers along with documents that were removed from the house.

A statement from an FBI spokesperson reads:

“Special agents and personnel from FBI Jacksonville are conducting court authorized law enforcement investigative activity at the location mentioned. There is no imminent threat to the surrounding area as a result of this investigation. No additional information can be confirmed at this time.”

Also at the scene was a K9 named Ty. News4Jax told you about him in September. He's trained to detect the scent of electronics that may be hidden from investigators.

About the Authors:

Award-winning broadcast and multimedia journalist with 20 years experience.

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.