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State senator mounts criminal defense against firearms charges

A California state senator is facing serious federal allegations in connection with a federal investigation for corruption and arms dealing. The man, State Sen. Leland Yee, will be required to mount a criminal defense against accusations that he solicited campaign contributions from an undercover federal agent in exchange for brokerage through an international arms dealer. Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, allegedly has connections to a Chinatown gangster who has been convicted of drug crimes and racketeering, among other violations.

The massive criminal complaint includes allegations against Yee and 25 other people, according to news reports. Yee is officially charged with conspiracy to traffic firearms without a license, along with conspiracy to illegally import firearms. He is also accused of scheming to defraud citizens of honest services. He could spend 20 years in prison for each of those six corruption charges, along with additional five-year terms for the trafficking count.

Reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation allege that Senator Yee was involved with an arms dealer who brought firearms to the U.S. from Russia. Agents who met with the government official in secret say that the man had a relationship with an arms dealer who had worldwide connections, including some contacts in Southern California. Undercover agents first met with Yee in late January. They again made contact in early March, and the indictment was handed down just weeks later.

Even state government officials can find themselves in legal hot water because of criminal allegations. Those who are facing criminal charges for firearms dealing may benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in California. These professionals may provide additional assistance throughout a criminal trial or plea negotiation, depending upon the needs of the defendant.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "State Sen. Leland Yee indicted on arms trafficking, corruption charges" Josh Richman, Howard Mintz, Jessica Calefati and Robert Salonga, Mar. 26, 2014

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