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Trial date set for Navy lieutenant, Chinese nationals charged with conspiracy

Lt. Fan Yang and wife Yang Yang face conspiracy and weapons charges

Attorney for the Yangs asked a federal judge to push back the trial date during a hearing Wednesday morning at the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville.
Attorney for the Yangs asked a federal judge to push back the trial date during a hearing Wednesday morning at the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville. (Courtroom sketch by Steve Bridges)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A judge over the case of a Jacksonville-based Navy lieutenant and his wife accused of conspiring against the U.S. government approved their request to push back the trial against them.

Lawyers for Lt. Fan Yang and Yang Yang asked for 6 months to prepare for a criminal trial against them. Their attorneys cited a large amount of discovery material to review, many of which have to be translated.

The trial has been set for July 6.

The process will also involve the use of a classified information security officer to review classified information that is expected to be part of the pretrial discovery process. U.S. Attorneys said they want the CISO to be ready to look at what classified information either side wants to use as evidence and advise the judge if it can be released in court. The government wants to avoid the “unnecessary disclosure” of classified information in the case.

A separate detention hearing for the Yangs’ co-defendants, Ge Song Tao and Zheng Yan, was postponed until Jan. 16.

The Yangs were the subjects of an FBI and NCIS raid at their home in San Jose in October, after a months-long government investigation. Both were arrested in Jacksonville. Song Tao and Yan were arrested in Louisiana before being transferred to Northeast Florida.

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 September 2019. Fan Yang is a lieutenant in the anti-submarine warfare unit at NAS Jacksonville and has top security clearances.

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.

Song Toa and Yan, Chinese nationals with connections to the couple, face the same charge.

All four are being held in federal custody and have pleaded not guilty.


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