For selling military secrets to China, US Navy Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison. Monterey Park’s Zhao, 26, admits to accepting Chinese intelligence official money for US military secrets. Zhao was jailed for 27 months by US District Judge R. Gary Klausner, while the Justice Department wanted 37 months for obstructing the investigation. October saw Zhao plead guilty to felony planning with a Chinese intelligence official and bribery.
US Navy Sailor Zhao Sentenced for Espionage: Confessed to Collecting Bribes and Sharing Military Secrets with China
Zhao confessed to collecting $15,000 in bribes at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, California, between August 2021 and May 2023. Although cleared, Zhao secretly sent China Navy operational security, military training, and vital infrastructure data. Japanese radar system electrical diagrams and blueprints, operating directives, and enormous Pacific naval training exercise plans were delivered.
US Attorney Martin Estrada said Zhao violated his country and the US Navy by taking foreign hostile money. Detectives found their crooked plot and detained Zhao in July. Zhao was at Naval Base Ventura County throughout the offenses.
At Zhao’s Los Angeles sentencing hearing, attorney Tarek Shawky claimed his client was eager to accept responsibility for his acts, citing poor decisions and misdirected trust. For Zhao’s regret, Shawky requested a 12-month sentence.
Navy Sailors Zhao and Wei Arrested for Leaking Security Information to China
Zhao and 22-year-old Navy sailor Jinchao Wei were arrested by federal authorities for allegedly leaking key security information to China. Wei was accused of espionage for disclosing ship and crew secrets to China while serving on the USS Essex in San Diego.
Selling military secrets to a foreign state can lead to Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao’s jail. Zhao’s confession, rewards, and sensitive information transmission underline the necessity to prevent military betrayals.