California state Sen. Leland Yee was arrested Wednesday by federal authorities on bribery and corruption charges following a series of early morning raids in San Francisco.
Yee, 65, a Democrat who represents a San Francisco district in the state Senate and is a candidate for California secretary of state, was expected to appear before a federal judge Wednesday afternoon, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Yee was arrested by the FBI as part of an investigation that also netted the indictment of former San Francisco gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, the paper said. Raids were conducted at Chow’s offices in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Yee’s office in Sacramento and Yee’s San Francisco home. It’s unclear whether the cases are related.
The charges against Yee stem from alleged corruption in his capacity as a state senator and secretary of state candidate, according to NBC Bay Area. Prosecutors contend he took $100,000 in bribes in exchange for supporting legislation in the California Senate. Yee’s campaign platform for California secretary of state included increased government transparency and campaign finance reform.
An FBI spokesman acknowledged the raids but did not give any specifics about the investigation.
"The FBI executed multiple search warrants in the city and beyond," Peter Lee, spokesman for the FBI’s San Francisco Bureau, said.
A resident of one of the blocks where the raids were conducted said one of the homes stormed by authorities was owned by one family for at least a generation.
"All I know is at about 6 a.m. or so, these loud noises woke me up. I thought it was thunder," Ellen Smith told the Chronicle.
The raids against entities connected to Chow, including the Chinese Freemasons-owned Ghee Kuong Tong Supreme Lounge, a group once headed by the gangster, stemmed from a fatal shooting that occurred around five years ago, according to the Chronicle. Chow, who had been sentenced to 25 years in prison on gun charges, claims he is no longer tied to organized crime.
Wednesday morning’s arrest isn’t the first time Yee has been handcuffed. He was arrested in Hawaii in 2000 for allegedly swiping a bottle of suntan lotion and hiding it in his shorts, according to the Chronicle.
He was also pulled over in 1999 on suspicion of cruising for prostitutes. Police questioned Yee but did not arrest him.