Two scientists from China have been charged with trying to steal seed samples from a company’s research facility in Kansas.
The office of the U.S. Attorney for Kansas said Thursday that 47-year-old Weiqiang Zhang, of Manhattan, and 63-year-old Wengui Yan, of Stuttgart, Ark. are each charged with one count of conspiracy to steal trade secrets.
The company they’re accused of trying to steal the seed samples from wasn’t identified in court records. The federal complaint says Zhang worked as an agricultural seed breeder for the company since 2008. Yan worked or the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a rice geneticist at the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Arkansas.
They each face up to 10 years in prison and fines.
Online court records don’t list lawyers for either defendant.