Oakland’s Democrat Mayor Sheng Thao and Government Officials Allegedly Funded Through Sex Trafficking Ring

by J Pelkey
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An FBI raid has exposed a complex network of alleged illicit activities involving high-ranking government officials and a well-known local business in Oakland, California.

Andy Duong, owner of the now-defunct Music Cafe, is accused of using the cafe as a front for a sex trafficking and drug operation. This establishment, which also operated as a karaoke lounge, was previously linked by state authorities to drug dealing, pimping, and human trafficking before its closure in early 2019, according to the Mercury News.

On June 20, the FBI conducted searches at multiple locations, including the homes of Andy Duong, his father David Duong, Mayor Thao, and the offices of CWS. These raids have revealed alleged financial transactions and contributions to various political campaigns in the Oakland and South Bay areas.

Breaking Digest previously reported that the FBI raided Democrat Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s home.

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An FBI spokesperson told KRON4 that agents were carrying out “court-authorized law enforcement” activities at Thao’s property.

The investigation centers on David Duong, CEO of California Waste Solutions, and his son, Andy Duong, who have close ties to Democrat politicians and businesses, as reported by NBC Bay Area.

Their business transactions and political affiliations are now under close scrutiny following indications that they orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to evade campaign finance regulations and funnel illegal donations to various Democrat candidates.

A glance at Andy Duong’s Instagram profile shows frequent posts featuring prominent figures in the political arena, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and former California Attorney General and current Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. The list also includes elected officials from other states such as Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, as noted by abc 7 News.

Documents and records filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) reveal that Andy Duong allegedly used “straw donors” to disguise contributions made to political candidates, in order to circumvent campaign finance laws.

From Mercury News:

A man alleged to be a “straw donor” on behalf of the Duong family was arrested on suspicion of narcotics sales after a raid at the cafe.

Charlie Ngo, 35, the alleged “straw donor,” was among people who either managed, owned or were affiliated with the cafe who gave roughly $18,000, mostly to Oakland City Council candidates, between 2016 and 2018. All of them allegedly gave money on behalf of Andy Duong, who was accused of having “cash in a drawer in his CWS office” used to give to a person tasked with lining up straw donors, records filed by the Fair Political Practices Commission said. An investigation is ongoing.

Since 2019, Andy and David Duong have been under investigation by city ethics investigators for allegedly circumventing campaign finance limits by using several individuals and businesses to funnel money to candidates.

In a probable cause filing related to the straw donor investigation, Angela J. Brereton, chief of enforcement for the FPPC, wrote that Andy Duong “is affiliated with multiple businesses including … the former Sancha Bar/Music Cafe.”

Investigators with Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission wrote in a separate filing that it is “in possession of private messages in which Andy Duong holds himself out as the proprietor of the Music Cafe a/k/a Sancha Bar.”

Agents with the Alcoholic Beverage Control used cash to purchase ketamine and ecstasy from workers at the Music Cafe and karaoke lounge during a 2018 undercover operation, before raiding the place in Oct. 2018 and confiscating cash and drugs. (Alcoholic Beverage Control records)

According to the FPPC’s filing, Ngo did not have enough money in his bank account to make the contributions he made. For example, he gave $700 to Friends of Desley Brooks even though he only had $49.58 in his bank account; $700 to re-elect Oakland Councilman Larry Reid in 2016 despite having only $2.14 to his name and donated $800 again to Brooks, the former Oakland councilwoman in 2018 despite having $5.32.

Each time, “he made a large deposit just before or after writing his check,” city investigators said in court records. He is also listed in campaign documents as giving $700 to Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan in 2016, $700 to Oakland council candidate Viola Gonzales in 2016, $600 to San Jose Councilmember Tam Nguyen in 2017, and $250 to the campaign of Milpitas Councilmember Anthony Phan in 2016.

In all, Mayor Thao, then a councilmember, received $2,400 from people associated with the cafe, records show.

One of the cafe’s owners admitted he gave $5,000 to then-Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney’s legal defense fund and $800 to then-Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen. Those elected officials have not been accused of violating campaign finance laws.

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