SAN DIEGO, Cali. — Two U.S. Navy sailors accused of spying for China were deemed flight risks and denied bail this week in federal court. Both have ties to Wisconsin.
San Diego-based sailor Jinchao "Patrick" Wei graduated from Delavan-Darien High School in 2019, according to a school yearbook.
On Wednesday, reporter Bruce Harrison visited his mother's apartment in Delavan. Mingli Wei wasn't home, but she did tell us over the phone that "it's not the right time to talk about this."
Federal prosecutors charged Patrick Wei with espionage, accusing him of selling military intelligence to the Chinese government. He's pleaded not guilty.
Mingli Wei's neighbor, Carrie Williams, said she was shocked to hear the news about Patrick Wei.
"Oh, most definitely. Very surprised. No, he's a good person," said Williams.
Williams said she met Patrick Wei several times while he was on leave. She said she's become friends with his mother, Mingli Wei.
"We just kind of hang out. We trust each other. We're girlfriends and she knows that I can help her with being in America, being a citizen of America," said Williams.
Our partners in San Diego,10News, report a U.S. attorney said Patrick Wei's only relative in the U.S. is his mother and she actively supported his spying actions.
Last week another California-based Navy sailor was arrested on similar charges.
Our reporting shows Wenheng "Thomas" Zhao also has Wisconsin ties, but no one answered the door at a home in Sheboygan where Zhao may have family.