A couple of weeks ago we a had a virtual currency heist, now we’ve got Chinese biotech espionage in the middle of Iowa. Man, this world gets a little more cyberpunk with every passing day. I wonder if Google Glass comes in a mirrorshade edition?
Federal agents caught an alleged Chinese spy last week trying to smuggle highly valuable “inbred” cord seeds out of the country, prosecutors say. Mo Hailong is accused of stealing the seeds from fields in Illinois and Iowa and trying to evade FBI agents after dropping off seeds at a rented storage facility, reports the Des Moines Register. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $5 million fine for stealing trade secrets worth up to $40 million. What’s the big deal? Inbred seeds possess certain special qualities, like resistance to droughts or pests, reports the Smithsonian.
“It’s really the foundation for Iowa agriculture, so it’s really something that we need to protect,” says an Iowa professor.