Federal grand jury indicts Yee, 28 others

jwhite@sacbee.comApril 4, 2014 

Marking the next step in a sweeping FBI operation that has implicated state Sen. Leland Yee, a federal grand jury indicted Yee and 28 others Friday.

The indictment charges Yee, D-San Francisco, with six counts of corruption as well as conspiracy to deal in and import firearms. If convicted on all counts, Yee faces a sentence of up to 125 years in federal prison and $1.75 million in potential fines.

Also indicted were Keith Jackson, a former San Francisco school board member and Yee fundraiser charged with wire fraud, gun trafficking, narcotics conspiracy, murder for hire, and conspiracy to deal in and import firearms. In addition, the indictment charges Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a convicted felon who had publicly claimed that his criminal lifestyle was in the past, with counts of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes, and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen property in interstate commerce.

Friday’s 50-count indictment came a little more than a week after authorities made public a 137-page criminal complaint in the case following a five-year investigation. Also Friday, the government moved to revoke Jackson’s bail, calling the former Yee consultant a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Yee has been out on bail since his March 26 arrest. A judge ordered Jackson’s release Thursday after he arranged $250,000 bail secured in part by a mobile home in Texas. Prosecutors, though, said Jackson poses major risks and his bail is inadequate.

“While it is true that defendant has no criminal history, this case is very different than the normal one where a defendant is caught committing a single isolated crime and, if he has no criminal history, may be presumed to have messed up once,” federal prosecutors wrote in Friday’s filing. “Here, as the complaint and Indictment establish, there is probable cause that Defendant engaged in a wide variety of serious, frequent criminal behavior spanning the course of many years. While he has not previously been arrested or convicted, there is unquestionably probable cause to believe that defendant is not a one-time offender but a one-man crime wave.”

Jackson’s legal team had no comment on the federal filing, a spokeswoman said. Yee, Jackson and other defendants are scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday. The judge could act then on the government’s motion to revoke Jackson’s bail.

The indictment includes three people who were not among the 26 named in last week’s affidavit.

The three are Barry Blackwell House, known as “Barry Black,” who faces weapons counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Zhanghao Wu and Tong Zao Zhang, who face charges of trafficking in stolen cigarettes.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543. Staff writer Jim Miller contributed to this report.

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