PH gun trafficking among charges vs California senator

By Troy Espera, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 27 2014 12:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2014 08:13 PM

REDWOOD CITY, California – 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.

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.

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.

He was arrested Wednesday morning at his home in the Sunset District and driven to the federal building for booking.

He is being held on $500,000 bail.