Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod says in an email that Wanzhou Meng was arrested Saturday.
McLeod says further details can not be provided on the case because a publication ban is in effect at Meng's request. "The ban was sought by Ms Meng".
Meng is the deputy chair of Huawei's board and is the daughter of company founder Zhengfei Ren, from his first marriage.
The statement said that Meng was taken into custody when she was transferring flights in Canada. No other details were available.
The U.S. Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
The US began an investigation in 2016 to ascertain whether or not Huawei has violated American sanctions against Iran.
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Earlier this year, it barred United States companies from exporting to Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE over violations of the Iranian sanctions, effectively shutting down the firm. If Meng has been arrested for violating these restrictions, then this would mark the start of another significant technology export regulation case for the US.
One of Huawei's top executives was arrested in Canada today, but the move was reportedly made at the request of the U.S. government.
Huawei is one of China's most prominent technology companies - a huge telecommunications firm, and the world's second-biggest smartphone manufacturer.
In a statement to Fortune, a Huawei spokesperson confirmed that Meng was detained, and said that she "faces unspecified charges in the Eastern District of NY". "The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion".
The US later replaced the ban with a fine and governance changes. Its equipment is banned in the USA and Australia and in the United Kingdom it is rigorously tested by the Government at a guarded facility.
The U.S. government has been concerned about Huawei for years because of uncertainty over its relationship with the Chinese government.
Although Huawei sought to distance itself from Skycom, investigative journalists found close connections between the two companies.