Syracuse man accused of being spy for China

Jun 4, 2018, 10:44 PM | Updated: Jun 5, 2018, 6:46 am

SYRACUSE, Utah – A Syracuse man is facing a number of charges and accused of being a spy for China. He’s also accused of selling top secret U.S. defense documents, earning a payout of close to $800,000.

Ron Rockwell Hansen

The 41-page court complaint document reads like a spy novel. The papers detail how Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, allegedly committed crimes against the United States. Federal authorities took him into custody Saturday in Seattle as he was about to catch a flight to China, a far cry from his home in Utah.

The quiet streets of Hansen’s Syracuse neighborhood hardly look like a place an alleged spy would reside.

Reaction from neighbors ranged from confusion to downright disbelief.

“There is no way he did anything wrong,” said neighbor, Tracy Teeples. “This is one of the best guys you’ll ever meet.”

Someone else trying to wrap their mind around the allegations is Ron Hansen’s former Taiwan LDS mission companion and friend, Keith Merrill.

“When I heard the name, it just blew me away,” Merrill said. “It was just shocking.”

Merrill remembers Hansen’s particular skill with the Mandarin language.

“I struggled (with the language), and I think there are people who just did it well, and he was one of those people who just caught onto it and got into the culture,” Merrill said.

Merrill shared an old mission video where Hansen played a traditional Chinese instrument in a small talent show.

According to charging documents obtained by KSL, Hansen’s interest in the Chinese people extended far beyond their music.

Hansen is facing a slew of felony charges, including an attempt to gather and deliver defense information, being an agent of a foreign government, bulk cash smuggling, and smuggling goods from the United States. Court documents also detail his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army with a background in signals intelligence and human intelligence.

No one answered the door at Hansen’s Syracuse home Monday night as he remains in federal custody.

“To see something like this is odd,” Merrill said. “You hope things like this aren’t true but there a lot of charges against him.”

Court documents also reveal Hansen is a business owner in Utah. He ran a company providing cloud computing IT services. The company reported losses of more than $1 million in 2012, and failed to file taxes in the following years.

If convicted of the allegations against him, Hansen could face life in prison.

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Syracuse man accused of being spy for China