Five defendants charged with a host of criminal activities that led to the downfall of an anti-gun California lawmaker accepted plea deals last week.
Facing anywhere from five to 20 years in prison on charges that range from money laundering to dealing in contraband cigarettes and conspiracy to transport stolen goods are Gary Kwong Yiu Chen, Anthony John Lai, Xiu Ying Ling “Elaine” Liang, Tong Zao Zhang and Bryan Tilton.
The five are part of an extensive circle of defendants charged in a San Francisco-based racketeering conspiracy in 2014 that grew to over 29 members.
The ringleader of the group was former Triad member Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, who served as the Dragonhead of the Ghee Kung Tong organization in the Bay Area and was found guilty on a staggering 162 counts last year, earning a term of life in prison.
Another of those brought down in the investigation was California lawmaker, Sen. Leland Yee.
Yee, ironically known for his gun control legislation, was arrested on a host of charges including plotting to smuggle guns into the country via Islamic terror groups as well as public corruption charges.
Although Yee and a host of other conspirators made plea bargains for up to 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney recommended eight and in the end, Yee was sentenced to only five on bribery charges last February. He is currently in federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas with a release date of July 2020.
Both Yee and Chow at times appeared in photos with current California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an anecdote that comes up on Newsom’s social media account often, though Newsom was not a focus of the federal investigation and never charged.
The sentencing for the five latest defendants to enter pleas is set between April and July.