By Nadja Green
Tuesday April 15, 2014
In a court appearance last Tuesday morning, state senator Leland Yee pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal firearms trafficking and public corruption. He is accused of promising to push the agendas of various donors ahead of other legislation. However, the most shocking allegation may be Lee’s involvement with notorious Chinatown mobster, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and about two-dozen others who are charged with racketeering.
The FBI began an undercover criminal investigation of Lee three years ago, when Chow introduced him to a Chinatown resident supposedly affiliated with gang activities. The alleged mobster was in fact an undercover FBI agent who had been working to expose a Chinatown gang believed to be lead by Chow. Prosecutors allege that this meeting came as the result of Lee’s loss in the 2011 San Francisco mayoral race. After finishing fifth in the voting, Lee was left with a $70,000 campaign debt, which needed to be paid before he could run for secretary of state. This led Lee to engage in what he was told by the undercover agent, would be a $2 million gun deal which involved purchasing missiles from Islamic rebels in the Philippines.
In a discussion recounted as part of the 137-page arrest affidavit, Yee said to the agent, “Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money. Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods.”
Since his March 26th arrest, Lee has been suspended from the state senate and is free on $500,000 bail. He currently awaits his pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.