Critical IntelThe Senator Yee Affidavit: Bribery, Triads, Drugs, and Arms DealsCritical Intel - RSS 2.0
Part Four: The Filipino Connection
It took months to set up the meeting. According to Keith Jackson, Yee's contact supplied guns to rebel groups in the Philippines and had access to cargo containers full of weapons. Agent 99 slipped Jackson $1,000 in an envelope to make the meet happen. A few days later, he met Jackson in a restaurant and gave him a $5,000 check, insisting that Yee should understand that the donation was explicitly for setting up the meeting. In fact, he wanted to hear that understanding from Yee himself. Jackson got Yee on the phone and handed it over to Agent 99, who said he'd just raised $5,000 for the campaign and looked forward to meeting their mutual friends.
The three met in a coffee shop to discuss international arms trafficking. Yee was late, and during his absence Agent 99 told Jackson that he'd paid $5,000 to meet the arms dealer in person, not broker deals through intermediaries. Jackson said he should broach that topic with Yee, since the dealer was the Senator's contact.
Yee said that he'd known the arms dealer for a long time, and their relationship was close. He could get Agent 99 what he wanted, but doing business with him could be complex and risky. The last time he was in the Philippines, he said, he was surrounded by "armed guys with machine guns." The dealer would "surface himself" if Yee requested, but he was low-key and careful. The dealer sourced weapons from Russia, but also had contacts in Ukraine, Boston and Southern California.
Yee indulged his verbal tic of asking a rhetorical question, then answering it.
"Do I think we can make some money?" Yee asked. "I think we can make some money. Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods."
They discussed what types of weapons Agent 99 wanted, and he specified "shoulder fired" weapons or missiles. Yee, an anti-gun Senator, asked if he wanted semi-automatic, or automatic.
The answer: "automatic." And Agent 99 wanted as many as $500,000 to $2.5 million would buy him.
The meeting ended with Agent 99 promising Yee $100,000 for his war chest.
Two days later, Agent 99 met Jackson at a restaurant in San Francisco, expressing worry that Yee wouldn't set up a face-to-face with the arms dealer. The problem was paranoia, according to Jackson - Yee worried that if 99 met the dealer directly, he'd get cut out of the deal. There was a second source, though, that might work better - the "Filipino connection," a guy whose nephew was arming Muslim rebels in Mindanao. Jackson had trafficked weapons through the Filipino dealer before - at Yee's insistence, even - the Muslim rebels were the guys who guarded Yee on his trip to the Philippines.
On February 25th, the three met again. When Yee arrived, he stressed that they had to be careful, given the recent indictment and conviction of another State Senator, but that he believed the arms dealer could, in fact, get the weapons.
Senator Yee, an anti-gun politician who'd been endorsed by the Brady Campaign, said that he was "agnostic" to the weapons deal. "People want to get whatever they want to get," he said. "Do I care? No, I don't care. People need certain things."
They discussed how the dealer wanted to move in baby steps, wouldn't want to see 99 directly and that 99 shouldn't talk specific weapons on first meeting. Agent 99 promised he wouldn't mention Hellfire missiles, or do anything to jeopardize Yee's lifestyle.
Yee retorted that he was unhappy with his life. "There is a part of me that wants to be like you," he said. "You know how I'm going to be like you? Just be a free-agent out there." Yee said that he sometimes considered going into hiding in the Philippines.
In the end, geopolitics intervened with the arms dealer -the Russian source dropped out owing to "world affairs," most likely meaning the ongoing Russian intervention in Ukraine, and the trio shifted to Yee's Filipino connection instead. At the next meeting, Yee advised 99 that their contact would be a dentist named Doctor Wilson Lim, whose relative would be their source in the Philippines. Lim's associates were trying to overthrow the Philippine government and needed money to support their cause. Mindanao, he said, was flooded with Muslim rebel groups like Lim's that had no problem "kidnapping individuals, killing individuals, and extorting them for ransom." Gaddafi had backed some of them before his death.