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(WASHINGTON) — A 28-year-old Chinese citizen pleaded guilty Wednesday to a plot to illegally export U.S. sensors.

Bo Cai planned to export defense articles made for military purposes to China, according to offcials. He and his cousin, 29-year-old Wentong Cai, plotted to take the technology without a license to give in order to give to a customer.

The sensors, orginally created for sale to the U.S. Department of Defense, were intended for use in motion control systems. Cai admitted that from March 2012 to December 2013, Bo Cai enlisted the help of his cousin to acquire the products under the cover that he would use the sensors at Iowa State Univeristy for academic purposes.

Wentong Cai was a Chinese citizen in the country under a student visa at the time of the incident.

Bo Cai obtained a sensor from undercover agents in New Mexico, then developed plans to smuggle the product out of the country. He was arrested in December 2013 before boarding a flight to China.

“It is a top priority for the Justice Department and the District of New Mexico to protect our national security and our technology from disclosure to foreign governments,” U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said.  “This prosecution demonstrates the federal law enforcement community’s commitment to safeguarding our nation’s military secrets by keeping America’s critical technology from falling into the wrong hands.”

Bo Cai faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted. His cousin, who was arrested in January 2014, pleaded not guilty.

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