Chinatown gangsters, gun-smuggling, Muslim rebels in the Philippines and a shady character called "Shrimp Boy."
Oh, and envelopes full of cash from mobsters.
It may sound like the plot of a cable television mini-series, but FBI agents say it's the real tale of a California state senator willing to do nearly anything for campaign cash.
Appearing in a San Francisco federal courthouse on Tuesday, now-suspended senator Leland Yee pleaded not guilty to bribery and gun-running charges that could land him behind bars for life.
Yee is the highest-profile of 29 defendants ensnared in an FBI sting that initially targeted the gang underworld of San Francisco's Chinatown before taking a surprising detour into political corruption.
In addition to being accused of accepting cash for political favors, Yee -- a Democrat and a gun-control advocate -- is charged with plotting to smuggle guns from the Philippines.
A 137-page arrest warrant affidavit portrays Yee as desperate to pay down campaign debt.
That desperation allegedly led him to approach a man he believed to be a mafia member -- actually an undercover FBI agent -- with a surprising proposal: He could get the mobster guns from overseas.
At first Yee said the weapons would probably come from Russia, though he noted "the Muslim countries" were also a possible source, according to the FBI.
"Do I think we can make some money? I think we can make some money," he is quoted as telling the fake mafioso over coffee. "Do I think we can get the goods? I think we can get the goods."
Do I think he's dirty. I think he's dirty.
But what I object to is the hypocritical pro-gun folks who adamantly defend gun misuse when committed by one of their own but were jubilant in condemning Senator Yee from the very moment the story broke. For this guy, there was no "innocent until proven guilty."