Philippine gun trafficking among charges against California senator

01 Leland Yee Arrested

By Troy Espera, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

UPDATED March 27, 2014 9:24 a.m.

March 26, 2014

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – A known champion for Filipinos in the California Senate now faces public corruption charges that include conspiracy to illegally traffic firearms from the Philippines.

California State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) is among 26 defendants named in a 137-page criminal complaint that lists charges including firearms trafficking, murder-for-hire, money laundering, defrauding citizens of honest service, drug distribution, and trafficking illegal cigarettes.

Click here to view the full criminal complaint.

The court document specifically charges Yee with one count of conspiracy to traffic firearms without a license and six counts of honest services fraud related to accepting illegal campaign contribution bribes.

According to the complaint, Yee brokered a $2 million firearms deal with an undercover FBI agent between Jan. 22 and March 14. The weapons were to be purchased from a Philippine-based arms dealer. Filipino-American Wilson Sy Lim, 60, of Daly City was named as Yee’s liaison with the arms dealer in Mindanao.

The details of the transaction included using Lim’s nephew in the Philippines as a contact, and a captain in the Philippine military to provide the weapons. The weapons would either be shipped to Manila or to the Port of Cagayan de Oro.

Yee told the undercover agent that the deal would not take place until after the California Secretary of State election in November, according to the complaint.

If convicted he faces up to 20 years in prison for each corruption charge and $500,000 in fines.

Yee represents Western San Francisco and much of San Mateo county; areas with large Filipino populations. He is also a candidate for secretary of state, one of California’s highest offices.

During his political career Yess has backed legislation that supports Filipino World War II veterans, family reunification-focused immigration policy, and protections for hotel workers.

He was arrested Wednesday morning at his home in the Sunset District and released later in the evening on $500,000 bail.

Troy Espera can be reached at for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Peter
    27 March 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Sen Leland Yee, Democrat, one of the most powerful politician in San Francisco, he has nothing to worry. AG Eric Holder just fixed the corruption charge against Sen Harry Reid, Democrat, of Nevada. Sen Yee can do that to, “what are we in power for.”

  • libturd
    27 March 2014 at 5:40 pm - Reply