Leland Yee Pushed Wider Semi-Auto Ban
By Harold Hutchison
More details are emerging about the charges faced by Leland Yee, a California state senator who had sponsored and supported a wide array of gun-grabs. Among the charges Yee now faces are charges of weapons trafficking, reportedly to be done in return for campaign contributions, in an affidavit that almost reads like a cross between House of Cards and Sons of Anarchy.
“I believe that the facts detailed below are sufficient to demonstrate probable cause to believe that SENATOR YEE has violated the following criminal statutes: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 and 1346 (Wire Fraud of Honest Services); Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, 922(a)(1) and 922(1) (Conspiracy to Deal Firearms Without a License and to Illegally Import Firearms),” FBI Special Agent Emmanuel Pascua said in the affidavit. Yee was seeking campaign contributions to run for statewide office (Secretary of State) in California.
Yee is charged with seven counts, with a total sentence that could add up to 125 years in prison, plus fines of up to $1.75 million. The charges could also place the 65-year-old Yee under supervised release for 21 years.
According to the affidavit, Yee was coming off a failed campaign for mayor of San Francisco, and “had at least $70,000 in debt from that campaign” that he needed to retire. While retiring the debt, Yee promised an undercover FBI agent that he would perform official acts in exchange for campaign contributions. Among those acts were efforts to influence marijuana legislation.
The affidavit also noted that a political consultant workng for Yee, Keith Jackson, and two other individuals also provided firearms to an undercover FBI agent. “They provided UCE 4599 with one .22 caliber Ruger Model 10/22 carbine; one Cobray machine gun pistol; one Mossberg Maverick pump-type shotgun and 12 gauge rounds; one Smith and Wesson, Model 59 handgun; one Colt model MK IV series 80 handgun; one 7.62mm Clayco Sports AKS rifle; 38 rounds of ammunition; and two ballistic vests (including one that was stolen from FBI),” Pascua stated in the affidavit.
According to a NRA-ILA summary, in California, “[a]ll firearms sales, transfers, including private transactions and sales at gun shows, must go through a California licensed firearms dealer.” California also requires a 10-day waiting period, and limits handgun sales to one every thirty days. Yee’s associates later completed other gun deals, in which some of the guns had been banned by California, including Tec-9 and Uzi pistols, at least one AR-15-type rifle, and an AK-47 style rifle.
Pascua also noted in the affidavit that Yee knew that a $5,000 campaign contribution “was solely for the purpose of getting an introduction to the arms dealer” that Yee claimed to have known “for a number of years” developing “a close relationship with him.” Yee later got personally involved n the dealings with the undercover FBI agent, according to the affidavit.
“SENATOR YEE told UCE 4599 that the arms dealer ‘Has things that you guys want.’ SENATOR YEE cautioned that doing business with people like the arms dealer was not easy and told UCE 4599 this was not a business for "the faint of heart." SENATOR YEE explained the arms dealer was very cautious about who he conducted business with. SENATOR YEE would tell the arms dealer to work with KEITH JACKSON because SENATOR YEE trusted KEITH JACKSON,” the affidavit by Pascua said. At the end of the meeting, Yee agreed to take $100,000 for his part in the weapons trafficking.
Yee was arrested on the federal charges on 26 March.