A FedEx pilot was taken into custody in China last week after items were found in his bag before boarding a commercial aircraft, the company confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.
FedEx said former US Air Force pilot Todd A. Hohn was later released, and it is working with Chinese authorities to understand what happened at Guangzhou Airport.
Hohn was taken into custody on September 12 after pellets used in replica air guns were found in his checked bag, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the incident.
Chinese authorities allege that Hohn was carrying ammunition illegally, and they have opened a criminal investigation, according to The Journal.
FedEx said the pilot was later released but where he is unknown. The Journal reported that Hohn was moved to a hotel and told him he could not leave China until the investigation was over.
"We work with the right authorities to get a better understanding of the facts," a company spokesman said in a statement to Fox News.
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The episode comes with FedEx already caught up in US-China trade tensions.
This week, FedEx CEO Fred Smith blamed slower economic growth on the world market for trade uncertainty. Shares in FedEx fell 12.9 percent Wednesday – their worst day since 2008 – after the Memphis, Tenn., Company reported disappointing quarterly earnings and cut its full-year earnings estimate.
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Earlier this year, Chinese technology giant Huawei complained about deliveries that FedEx failed. Shortly thereafter, in June, FedEx sued the Department of Commerce to stop enforcement of export rules restricting shipments to Huawei and other entities. Huawei is on a list of companies that are barred from receiving US technology without a special license from the Department of Commerce.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.