Two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees have been charged by federal prosecutors for being part of a “transnational repression scheme” on behalf of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). As part of their work for the Chinese, they allegedly spied on and harassed dissidents located in the United States.
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted DHS deportation officer Craig Miller and former DHS law enforcement agent Derrick Taylor. Miller works out of Minneapolis and Taylor currently works as a private investigator in Irvine, California. Miller and Taylor were initially arrested in June.
Three other men were also indicted as co-defendants in the case. They include Fan “Frank” Liu and Matthew Ziburis of New York, who were first arrested in March. The remaining defendant is Qiang “Jason” Sun, who lives in the PRC and is currently at large.
The court documents filed with the indictments allege that the conspirators engaged Taylor to obtain confidential and personal information about several PRC dissidents who were living in the U.S.
Taylor allegedly supplied flight records, passport data, and photographs of the dissidents. The documents allege that Tayor was assisted in his illegal activities by Miller and another DHS officer. The information provided to the PRC was allegedly obtained from restricted-access government databases.
The defendants Liu, Ziburis, and Sun allegedly used the illegally obtained information to locate and target the dissidents at the direction of agents of the PRC.
Taylor also allegedly attempted to instruct an innocent associate to withhold evidence from FBI officers investigating the case. Miller is alleged to have deleted text messages with Taylor while being questioned in an effort to destroy evidence.
Miller and Taylor have been charged with obstruction of justice. Taylor has also been charged with making false statements to the FBI. If convicted, they face sentences ranging from 20 to 30 years in federal prison plus substantial fines.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen issued a statement saying the Department of Justice will “defend the rights of people in the United States to engage in free speech and political expression, including views the PRC government wants to silence.”
His statement added that the persons charged in the case aided agents of the PRC in seeking to “suppress dissenting voices who have taken refuge here.” He described Miller and Taylor as two sworn law enforcement officers who “chose to forsake their oaths and violate the law.”