State Sen. Leland Yee indicted on arms trafficking, corruption charges
SAN FRANCISCO — In a stunning criminal complaint, State Sen. Leland Yee has been charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms and public corruption as part of a major FBI operation spanning the Bay Area, casting yet another cloud of corruption over the Democratic establishment in the Legislature and torpedoing Yee’s aspirations for statewide office.
Yee and an intermediary allegedly met repeatedly with an undercover FBI agent, soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for setting up a deal with international arms dealers.
At their first face-to-face meeting in January, “Senator Yee explained he has known the arms dealer for a number of years and has developed a close relationship with him,” an FBI affidavit says, noting Yee told the agent the arms dealer “has things that you guys want.”
Yee, D-San Francisco, highlights a series of arrests Wednesday morning that included infamous Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, whose past includes a variety of charges including racketeering and drug crimes. Targets of the early-morning raids appeared in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
A 137-page criminal complaint charges 26 people — including Yee and Chow — with a panoply of crimes, including firearms trafficking, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution, trafficking in contraband cigarettes, and honest services fraud.