Yee001 An FBI agent removes bags of what seems to be evidence after raiding the Ghee Kung Tong temple and Chinese Freemasons building in Chinatown on Wednesday, March 26 following the arrest of Senator Leland Yee earlier this morning. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

California State Senator Leland Yee was arrested at his 24th Ave. home in a large-scale federal investigation this morning on charges that include corruption and conspiracy to illegally import and deal firearms.

Yee and others “were involved in a scheme to defraud the citizens of California of their rights to honest services, and Senator Yee, Lim and Keith Jackson were involved in a conspiracy to traffic firearms,” according to an affidavit of Special Agent Emmanuel V. Pascua, filed by San Francisco’s U.S. District Court.

According to the document, the investigation began five years ago, when an undercover FBI agent was introduced to to a “high-level member” of the Chee Kung Tong Criminal Enterprise (CKT).

The FBI raids also targeted Raymond Chow, president of the Ghee Kung Tong fraternal organization and a former member of the American branch of the Hong Kong-based triad Wo Hop To. According to the affidavit, Chow is believed to currently hold a “489,” or supreme authority position in the internationally-based Chinese organized crime group, the Triad.

Chow was sentenced to 25 years in prison due to gun charges in 1995 but was released two years later after agreeing to testify against other high ranking members of the organization. He also was involved in “such activities as heroin and cocaine trafficking, attempted murder, arson, robbery, gambling, and extortionate credit transactions” according to the affidavit.

FBI agents and a police officer stand in front of the Ghee Kung Tong temple and Chinese Freemasons building in Chinatown on Wednesday, March 26 during an FBI raid following the arrest of Senator Leland Yee earlier this morning. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

According to FBI Special Agent Michael Gimbel, “the FBI is executing numerous arrests and search warrants around the Bay Area.” Included in this mornings raids are Yee’s Sacramento office, his home on 24th Avenue in San Francisco’s Sunset District, a building on the 1700 block of Hyde Street and the Ghee Kung Tong Chinese Freemason Lodge in Chinatown.

Senator Yee received his master’s degree from SF State after getting a bachelor’s at the University of California at Berkeley and is currently running for Secretary of State.

An FBI agent removes what seems to be evidence after raiding the Ghee Kung Tong temple and Chinese Freemasons building in Chinatown on Wednesday, March 26 following the arrest of Senator Leland Yee earlier this morning. Photo by Jessica Christian / Xpress

The full affidavit can be read here

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Andrew Cullen

Andrew Cullen