UPDATE: Anti-gun California State Sen. Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday morning by federal authorities on suspicion of public corruption, according to breaking stories in the San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and other news agencies, making him the second high-profile Golden State gun control proponent to wind up in trouble in the past month.
Charges against Yee, according to the criminal complaint, ironically include gun trafficking. Read the follow-up article.
Story updates from several California news agencies now use the term “arrested” or “detained” in coverage of the allegations against Yee, and the Sacramento Bee's blog update reports that the arrest is "on suspicion of corruption" while the Mercury News headline says Sen. Yee was indicted. "State Sen. Leland Yee indicted for public corruption in major FBI operation," was that newspaper's headline.
The Mercury News report also noted that Yee’s arrest “highlights a string of multiple arrests that also includes infamous Chinatown gangster Raymond ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow, connected to a variety of charges including racketeering and drug crimes,” according to unnamed law enforcement sources.
Chow was described by the Sacramento Bee as “An avowed former soldier in the San Francisco-based Hop Sing Tong gang” who was imprisoned for gun trafficking. The newspaper’s website also says that Chow has “publicly distanced himself from his criminal past.” He won an award in 2012 for his work in the community, the newspaper reported.
Yee is reportedly a candidate for the office of California secretary of state, and that candidacy is in serious doubt as this case unfolds.
The Mercury News is reporting that the FBI is serving “multiple arrest and search warrants this morning” in relation to the case. KCRA News reported that Sen. Yee is scheduled for arraignment today at 1:30 p.m. Yee, a Democrat, is an ardent gun control proponent and sponsor of a bill last year to limit magazine capacity on so-called “assault weapons” and require fixed magazines on such firearms. He is also an outspoken critic of video games, according to Game Politics.com.
Last month, another California anti-gunner, Sen. Ronald Calderon, was indicted on public corruption charges, as this column reported. Calderon, also a Democrat, and his brother, Tom, a former Assemblyman, were charged in that case. Sen. Calderon has entered a plea of not guilty in that case.
According to KCRA, the FBI conducted raids Wednesday morning at “homes and businesses in the Bay Area and Sacramento.” The local CBS affiliate is reporting that Yee's office has also been raided. Yee represents Bay Area District 8.
Yee made headlines last year when his life was threatened over his gun control activities. Authorities arrested a 45-year-old man in Santa Clara County in connection with that case. At the time, Yee told supporters that the threats would not deter him from pushing for additional gun restrictions.
Other news agencies are reporting that Wednesday’s FBI “sweep” involved numerous arrests and searches related to an apparent crackdown on gangs. The San Jose Mercury News, quoting local ABC affiliate KGO, reported that searches were launched at the San Francisco Chinatown office of the Gee King Tong Free Masons. KGO also reported that the sweep is targeting suspected gang members.