State Sen. Leland Yee, Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow and 27 other defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco on charges that include public corruption, gun and drug trafficking and a murder-for-hire plot.
The indictment, which replaces a 137-page criminal complaint filed by federal prosecutors last week against 26 people, adds three new defendants and a conspiracy charge against Yee. It was issued late Thursday and announced today by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag after the defendants’ March 26 arrests in an FBI raid.
Most of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment before U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Yee, 65, is charged in the indictment with six counts of scheming to defraud citizens of his honest services by allegedly soliciting and taking campaign contributions in exchange for political favors for the purported donors, who were actually undercover FBI agents.
The alleged instances of bribery include accepting donations in exchange for lobbying two of his fellow state senators on behalf of two medical marijuana bills and issuing a state senate proclamation honoring Chow’s organization, the Chee Kung Tong.
The state senator and outspoken advocate for transparent government and gun control is also charged with a count of trafficking in firearms without a license in connection with an alleged plan to have an undercover agent posing as a Mafia member to buy $2 million in weapons from an arms dealer in the Philippines.
The indictment also adds an additional charge of conspiracy against Yee.
Chow, the self-proclaimed dragonhead of the Chee Kung Tong who was previously convicted of racketeering, is charged with money laundering, conspiring to receive stolen property, and trafficking in contraband cigarettes.
Also charged in the indictment is Keith Jackson, a political consultant and former San Francisco School Board president accused of funneling campaign contributions to Yee in exchange for political favors to donors; selling guns and ballistic vests to an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a Mafioso; and conspiring with his son, Brandon Jackson, 28, and another man to distribute drugs.
He is also charged allegedly conspired with Yee in a proposed $2 million international arms deal and aiding in the arrangement of a proposed murder-for-hire. Neither the gun deal nor the murder plot, which were allegedly discussed with the agent posing as a Mafia member, were ever carried out.
Yee was released on $500,000 bail the day of the arrests and Jackson was released from an Oakland jail on $250,000 bail on Thursday evening.
Yee withdrew his bid for secretary of state last week and has been suspended from the state senate, with many of his colleagues demanding his resignation.
Sara Gaiser/Laura Dixon/Julia Cheever, Bay City News