Pro-Gun Control California State Senator Indicted for Arms Trafficking
Sixty-five-year-old state Sen. Leland Yee (D-Calif.) was arrested on Wednesday alongside well known, supposedly reformed gangster ‘Shrimp Boy,’ with twenty-four other alleged associates implicated. Shrimp Boy, a.k.a. Kwok Cheung Chow or Raymond Chow, calls himself the “dragon head” of the Ghee Kung Tong Freemason lode in San Francisco and has a background peppered with racketeering and robbery and prostitution, as well as a “supreme authority” within the Triad.
The arrest followed after an affidavit from San Francisco FBI Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua was filed stating that there was probable cause to believe Yee had been involved in wire fraud and conspiracy to deal in firearms sans license after illegally importing the weapons. That’s where the irony comes in: Yee is well known as a gun-control advocate, having put legislation in California’s senate that would call for tighter control of firearms.
In December, for example, Yee posted the following on Twitter:
Thank you @PiersMorgan for your commitment and passion to ending gun violence. We must never forget Sandy Hook.
— Leland Yee (@LelandYee) December 21, 2012
Yee had aimed for an official state senate proclamation in 2013 which would praise the Ghee Kung Tong Freemason lodge and would be done in exchange for $6,800 worth of campaign funds, which was paid to him by an undercover FBI agent. The FBI report goes into details of campaign fraud and attempts to circumvent the legal limits for donations by Yee. The other twenty-four individuals implicated in the report are all claimed to have broken federal statutes — everything from smuggling liquor to China to marijuana farming interests.
Specifically, during Yee’s attempt to raise money for his Secretary of State campaign, he “agreed that in exchange for campaign donations [Yee] would introduce a donor to state legislators who had influence over pending and proposed medical marijuana legislation, an area in which the donor purportedly had significant business interests.” As it turned out, the ‘donor’ was an FBI agent as well. Later, Yee also offered to “facilitate a meeting with the arms dealer with the intent of [an undercover agent written as UCE 4599] to purportedly purchase a large number of weapons to be imported through the Port of Newark, New Jersey.” Yee was handcuffed and taken in an unmarked law enforcement vehicle, then later, after giving over his passport, his release bond was placed at $500,000, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Chow (Shrimp Boy) for his part has continued to claim throughout the investigation, the affidavit reports, that he has been making strides towards a “legitimate” and legal living. He claims that the $50,000 in his account is for publishing his book, and that he has a possible book/movie deal for $3 million that he has yet to sign for “because he wanted control of production of the story.” The report compares his claims to October 2011, when Chow insisted he had no money, and when asked about the nice clothing and jewelry, said that “he did not understand why people gave him things all the time.”
The report also goes into a number of examples of bribery, reporting conversations between agents and Yee, as well as between Chow and Yee. In a phone call, Yee joked about believing the undercover agent “must have drug money,” and when told he wanted to help the senator, Yee responded, “Yeah, man, yeah, so you should just tell him to start getting us the money, man, that’s all.”
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