BOSTON - During this busy holiday season, I've taken my fair share of planes to visit family members across the U.S. I've gone through security countless times and have never seen anyone actually stopped for smuggling or anything of the sort. Well, if you were at Logan airport on December 9th, you might have seen something out of the ordinary.
According to the Boston Herald, "Zaosong Zheng, 29, a visa holder and employee at a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center research lab, was stopped at Logan Airport by federal agents on Dec. 9 for lying about transporting 21 vials of an unidentified biological substance on his luggage for a Beijing flight, an affidavit by an FBI agent stated."
The idea, apparently, was to steal the vials and bring them back to China where he would, in turn, publish any findings, pretending they were all his own work.
But this crazy story (which will somehow be made into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg as the Assistant U.S. Attorney General) doesn't stop there. Last week the FBI interviewed this man's former roommate and found out that two other Chinese nationals recently successfully smuggled biological materials to China as well, which makes the FBI believe that this isn't the work of lone wolfs.
“These facts also strongly suggests that Zheng’s theft and attempt to smuggle biological specimens out of the U.S. was not an isolated incident,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Tolkoff wrote in the motion. “Rather, it appears to have been a coordinated crime, with likely involvement by the Chinese government,” said Tolkoff.
So, what happens next? Well, Zheng posted bail but prosecutors are asking a federal court to keep him behind bars, arguing that he is a potential flight risk and has a strong motive to escape the country.
It's unclear at this point if the Chinese government has any involvement with this story, as Tolkoff has alluded to, but we'll keep you up to date on any news that continues to emerge from this crazy international smuggling story.
Image via Wikimedia Commons