A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a California state senator for a number of corruption and conspiracy offenses including weapons trafficking, according to the documents released by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.
California State Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat, was arrested and charged as were 25 other suspects involved in the same case. The U.S. Attorney specifically accused Sen. Yee of trafficking in firearms, although the Democratic Party's rising star advocated tough gun control laws. (See accompanying news video.)
The indictment details a large number of incidents of alleged corruption perpetrated by Sen. Yee and his fellow conspirators.
One of the more serious criminal charges is the allegation that Yee accepted cash from an undercover FBI agent who told the former candidate for San Francisco mayor that he wished to purchase illegal firearms. Yee allegedly worked to help the undercover agent get access to illegal firearms while telling his constituents that he was an advocate for tough gun control laws.
"Sen.Yee's arrest and prosecution is part of a major FBI sting in San Francisco's Bay area," said former law-enforcement officer Thomas Nicosia. "This case will no doubt be used against Californian Democrats with GOP candidates point to the corruption existing within the Democratic Party locally and throughout the nation."
The other defendants in the case include Raymond “Shrimpboy” Chow, the current Dragonhead, or leader, of the San Francisco-based Chee Kung Tong organization (CKT), according to the indictment.
Besides the gun trafficking, Yee is also charged with trading political influence for cash bribes.
The state senator’s new lawyer, former federal prosecutor Jim Lassart, hasn't yet issued a statement about his client's case.
Yee is free on half-million dollar bail as he awaits his federal trial. He and most of the other defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. Ironically, Sen. Yee had been preparing to run for California Secretary of State in the November 2014 election and has already established a Facebook campaign page.