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California Senator Arrested On Gun Trafficking Charges

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, right, and Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, celebrate the passage of their gun control measures during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., in 2013. Rich Pedroncelli/AP hide caption

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Rich Pedroncelli/AP

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, right, and Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, celebrate the passage of their gun control measures during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., in 2013.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

A state senator was arrested on charges of illegal gun trafficking and mail fraud on Wednesday.

As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, Sen. Leland Yee was also the Democratic candidate for secretary of state in California. Richard filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Senator Yee's arrest stunned California's political community.

"According to court documents, Yee allegedly was involved in a conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import guns.

"He's also accused of participating in a scheme to defraud "citizens of honest services." State Senator Yee was one of twenty six people arrested in a series of raids after a federal investigation of Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a San Francisco Chinatown leader who has spent time in prison on gun charges.

"Yee is the third California Democrat to run afoul of the law in recent months."

The Los Angeles Times reports that federal prosecutors also allege that 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."

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