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Sen. Yee indicted on arms trafficking, public corruption charges

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Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against state Sen. Leland Yee in court Wednesday, accusing him of conspiring to commit wire fraud and traffic firearms.

In all, 26 people, including former school board president Keith Jackson, were indicted on charges related to an extensive crime ring headed by well-known Chinatown figure Raymond Chow, who was also arrested and charged Wednesday.

The indictment alleges Yee and Jackson defrauded "citizens of honest services" and were involved in a scheme to traffic firearms in exchange for thousands in campaign donations to the senator.

Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman -- who was actually an undercover FBI agent -- agreed to donate thousands to Yee's campaign fund, according to the indictment.

The indictment also describes an August 2013 exchange in which Jackson told an undercover officer that Yee had an arms trafficking contact. Jackson allegedly said Yee could facilitate a meeting for a donation.

Chow, who has been connected over the years to the criminal gang Wo Hop To and is known as "Shrimp Boy," was indicted for money laundering, conspiracy to receive and transport stolen property, and conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes.

The indictment was unsealed in federal court in downtown San Francisco after FBI and other law enforcement officials carried out multiple raids early Wednesday. FBI agents also searched Yee's Sacramento office Wednesday.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr described the raids to KCBS as "massive."

"Hundreds of officers are involved in this," he said.

Dan Lieberman, Yee's press secretary, said Wednesday morning that his office would not comment on the FBI raids. Representatives for the U.S. attorney's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

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