Role of undercover FBI agent under scrutiny in 'Shrimp Boy' Chow trial

An undercover agent is on the stand for the second day Wednesday to share his testimony against Raymond Chow. 

Jeff Chiu/AP/File
Tony Serra (r.) an attorney for Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow (pictured l.) listens to speakers at a news conference in San Francisco, April 10, 2014. Chow, a dapper former San Francisco gang leader who portrayed himself as a reformed criminal, was the focus of a lengthy organized crime investigation in Chinatown that ended up snaring a corrupt California senator and more than two dozen others.

An undercover FBI agent involved in a multi-year organized crime investigation in San Francisco’s Chinatown took the stand for the second day Wednesday in the murder and racketeering trial of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.

Mr. Chow, leader of a Chinese fraternal group Ghee Kung Tong, is standing trial on charges of murder for hire and running a “racketeering enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking and money laundering.”

However, defense lawyers are looking to put the undercover agent on trial for “plying [Chow] with drinks and handing him envelopes of cash.”

The FBI agent has lived under the pseudonym David Jordan for the past three years, posing as a “vulgar, racist member of an East Coast crime syndicate that was involved in illegal sports betting and marijuana cultivation and needed help laundering money,” reported the Associated Press.

According to his testimony, the agent spent hours with Chow and his connections building a case against Chow and over two dozen others. Mr. Jordan’s investigation also led to the conviction of former California senator, Leland Yee, who pleaded guilty to racketeering in July. Mr. Yee was fined $250,000 and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Under the pseudonym, the undercover agent also engaged in money laundering and other criminal activity in an attempt to gain Chow’s trust. Jordan explained he “felt a constant threat for his safety as he had little back up,” reported the San Francisco Examiner. 

The trial began Nov. 9 in federal court but it does not yet appear that a decision is close. As the San Jose Mercury News reported, there are two very different stories being told.

“Federal prosecutors will depict Chow as a violent gang leader with a long history of overseeing Chinatown's crime scene. Chow's lawyers will try to sell him as a reformed criminal who turned straight only to be framed by federal agents trying to justify one of the longest and most expensive undercover probes in recent Bay Area history.”

This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.

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