Critical Intel

Critical Intel
The Senator Yee Affidavit: Bribery, Triads, Drugs, and Arms Deals

Robert Rath | 3 Apr 2014 12:00
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Agent 99 lied that his crime family controlled a large portion of the Port of New Jersey, and that once the $2 million dollar shipment arrived they planned to send it on to Sicily and then North Africa. Yee, alarmed, cautioned that it would be better not to purchase such a large amount for the first deal, since it would attract attention. He also confirmed that Lim could get M-16 style service rifles as well as rocket launchers and even larger weapons systems like artillery. Mindanao, he said, was a war zone. He should just make a wish list.

Agent 99 thanked Yee, and dropped a bomb: his crime family wanted to back Yee's campaign for Secretary of State.

Yee was pleased with the endorsement, and said there were multiple opportunities to help their business. Africa, he felt, was a largely untapped market in the weapons trade, and his position would allow the family to ship weapons directly there.

On March 11th, the trio finally met Lim. The weapons, he said, would come from a captain in the Philippine military and be received by Lim's nephew, who would ship them to Manila.

Agent 99 asked what Muslim groups were in Mindanao.

"M.I.L.F." said Yee.

He meant the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a radical insurgency fighting for the autonomy of Muslim Mindanao. Though the M.I.L.F. deny links with Al-Qaeda, they have indirectly accepted funding from Osama bin Laden in the past, and have sent 600 operatives to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are suspected of beheading 11 soldiers in 2007. Funding the group would, in some circles, be considered supporting terrorism. They signed a peace deal with the government earlier this year.

Lim said that if Agent 99 brought the cash to the Philippines he said he could provide Israeli-made Tavor assault rifles sourced from the military. When Agent 99 asked whether he could get something "bigger," Lim responded: "All kinds of things, we just have to look for it." He asked Agent 99 for a list of weapons he could hand-deliver to the Philippines.

Agent 99 wanted weapons that were light, mobile and devastating.

"Once things start to move," cautioned Yee, "we just got to be extra-extra careful."

Part Five: Arrest

The FBI filed a sealed 137-page affidavit containing the above information on March 24th. On March 28th, FBI agents arrested Leland Yee along with Keith Jackson, Raymond Chow and Dr. Lim on charges ranging from corruption to weapons and drug trafficking. Whatever the truth of these charges and whatever comes of them, it will certainly prove one of the most shocking scandals in California politics, and gives yet another reason to reform America's campaign finance laws.

But what does this mean for gamers, that this opponent of ours seems to have lived a life out of Grand Theft Auto, one of the games he most reviled? It reveals Yee's hypocrisy, that much is true: Exposing a man who'll go to the Supreme Court to regulate virtual gangsters, but issue proclamations supporting real ones. A gun-broker who is anti-gun.

Though reading the affidavit, I can't help but feel a little sorry for Yee. His pathetic, vulnerable stammer when discussing bribes, the verbal tic of asking rhetorical questions and the way he's pushed around by his fundraisers - he may indeed have some case for entrapment. Uncle Leland does seem like a GTA character, albeit one of the pathetic ones we're supposed to laugh at, an initial quest-giver who oversteps his bounds thinking he can go big.

If guilty and convicted, he'll certainly be getting what he deserves, but I can't help but thinking that all his hubris and dogged pursuit of power was really a man trying to get out from under a life he couldn't stand. Yee was a person who badly needed to escape.

The irony is - he'd have been better off if he just played some videogames.

Robert Rath is a freelance writer, novelist, and researcher based in Hong Kong. His articles have appeared in the Escapist and Slate. You can follow his exploits at or on Twitter at @RobWritesPulp.

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