Something very strange occurred a few weeks ago at Mar-a-Lago, and a judge in Florida isn’t about to give up on finding out the truth.
Mar-a-Lago, a Florida resort owned by the President, has played host to scores upon scores of special events in which the public can partake. Late last month one guest raised a few eyebrows, however, when she was stopped by authorities while carrying a number of strange electronic devices. Upon further inspection it was determined that this reveler may very well have been in the espionage business, with these devices having been designed for just such a purpose.
Suddenly, rumors of Chinese espionage were flying, and the Secret Service were up to their ears in work.
The mysterious woman who attempted to sneak these devices into Mar-a-Lago is currently behind bars, and one Florida judge is hoping that it stays that way.
A federal judge Monday ordered the detention of Yujing Zhang, the Chinese woman arrestedtrying to enter President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club.
“It does appear to the court that Ms. Zhang was up to something nefarious,” Magistrate Judge William Matthewman said at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, adding that he considered Zhang, 33, a flight risk and believed she would return to China if released before trial.
Matthewman said the weight of the evidence against Zhang — who pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of making false statements to federal officers and entering restricted property — is “quite strong.” Prosecutors had asked to keep her locked up.
The FBI isn’t taking any chances either, treating the case as a specific national security threat.
The events of Zhang’s arrest were bizarre, to say the least.
Shortly after noon on March 30, Zhang was waved through a U.S. Secret Service checkpoint outside Mar-a-Lago after saying she wished to visit the swimming pool, according to a criminal complaint. Mar-a-Lago staff granted her access because her last name — one of the most common in China — was the same as a club member’s, the complaint stated. She was stopped only after telling a receptionist and then a Secret Service agent that she was there to attend a “United Nations Friendship Event,” which was not on Mar-a-Lago’s calendar.
Secret Service agents found she was carrying a wide variety of electronics: four cellphones, a laptop computer, an external hard-drive and the thumb-drive. A search of her hotel room at the Colony in Palm Beach uncovered more electronics, including a device used to detect hidden cameras, and more than $8,000 in American and Chinese currency. She told the court in an earlier hearing that she was a financial investor and consultant from Shanghai, and said she owned a $1.3 million home and a BMW.
The case comes as the FBI revealed a long running Chinese espionage investigation had been taking place in South Florida.
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