Ship Bound for China Busted with American Patriot Missiles Labeled as "Fireworks"

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Lucy, you got some 'splainin to do! A German vessel carrying 69 American-made Patriot missiles and 160 tons of explosives was detained en route to China. Nobody has any idea who shipped it, or to whom.

While this certainly puts Best Buy's shipping woes into perspective, it's no small slip-up—Patriot missiles are a coveted American weapon, and their sale is meant to be regulated. And, typically, we don't sell our weapons to superpower military rivals like China.

Now, as DefenseTech points out, Germany owns its own stock of Patriots, and has sold them to third parties in the past. But on the Shanghai-bound boat, the sophisticated interceptors were in boxes marked "fireworks." This doesn't exactly scream legal transaction, unless China is planning the most destructive fireworks display in its storied history. But I'm sure authorities are putting the pieces together to figure out how an enormous cache of weapons almost made it to China, right? ABC News, comfort us:

Investigating officers didn't know the origin of the Patriot missiles or who was supposed to receive them


Well, great. [ABC News via DefenseTech]