SAN FRANCISCO - A sports agent accused of joining a former school board president and his son in a murder-for-hire plot, guns sales and cocaine conspiracy was denied bail by a federal magistrate in San Francisco today.
U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero ruled that Marlon Sullivan, 29, of Oakland, would be a danger to public safety if released while awaiting a not-yet-scheduled trial.
"I'm focusing on (the allegations of) the guns and the murder-for-hire," Spero said during a detention hearing for Sullivan, who was arrested in New Jersey on March 26.
The alleged murder plot "got all the way down the road to the point of Mr. Sullivan identifying the victim," Spero said.
Sullivan, former San Francisco Unified School District President Keith Jackson, 49, and Jackson's son, Brandon Jackson, 28, are accused of the murder plot and other crimes in an April 3 organized crime and corruption indictment.
The federal grand jury indictment also charges suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and 24 other people with various crimes.
On Monday, Spero denied bail to Brandon Jackson after ruling that he would also be a danger to the public.
Keith Jackson, who was school board president in 1997 and now runs a political consulting business, was freed on $250,000 bail by a different magistrate on April 3.
Jackson is accused of the same charges as his son and Sullivan as well as additional counts of conspiring with Yee to funnel illegal campaign contributions to the senator in exchange for services and conspiring with Yee in never-completed international arms deal.
The alleged murder-for-hire, also never completed, was requested by an undercover FBI agent posing as a Mafia member, who allegedly told Keith Jackson in December he wanted to have an associate killed for $25,000, according to an affidavit filed in the case by FBI agent Emmanuel Pascua.
The purported victim was another undercover agent who was taken by the supposed Mafioso to a San Francisco restaurant on Feb. 6.
The supposed victim identification referred to by Spero was recounted in the affidavit, which claims that Sullivan entered the restaurant and sat at the bar where he could get a good view of the supposed victim.
The affidavit alleges that the phony Mafia member texted to Sullivan, "Got what you needed?" and Sullivan later texted back, "All good."
Three days earlier, during a meeting that also included Brandon Jackson, Sullivan allegedly told the agent, "I will put eyes on the guy and have my boy knock him down," according to the affidavit.
According to Mercer County, N.J., Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini, Sullivan was arrested the morning of March 26 in a West Windsor, N.J., motel after allegedly receiving 10 kilograms of inert cocaine from undercover agents from whom he had bought the drug for $275,000 on March 24.
Brandon Jackson was arrested on March 26 in Connecticut. The affidavit alleges that Sullivan had told the undercover agent in February that he was planning to transport 10 kilograms of cocaine bought from the agent's associates from New Jersey to a stash house in Hartford, Conn., where Brandon Jackson would allegedly be waiting.
The indictment specifically charges Sullivan and the two Jacksons with conspiring to sell more than five kilograms of cocaine; two counts of unlicensed sales of guns to the agent posing as a Mafia member on July 24 and 25, 2013, and participating in the contract killing plot.
During today's hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Frentzen alleged that Sullivan also made counterfeit credit cards and, together with Brandon Sullivan, sold marijuana on the East Coast. Those allegations are made in the affidavit but not in the grand jury indictment.
Defense attorney Randy Daar and Kurt Robinson unsuccessfully argued that Sullivan, who grew up in the Western Addition district of San Francisco, could be safely released into the custody of his mother with additional conditions such as electronic monitoring.
"There's no violence, no danger," argued Daar, who said that Sullivan had never been arrested for gun possession.
Outside of court, Daar said, "We're not finished," and said the defense attorneys plan to return with a renewed bail request at a later date.
Among the audience at today's hearing was Curtis Briggs, a lawyer for Chow, who is the "dragonhead" or leader of the Chinatown-based Chee Kung Tong organization.
Chow, who was previously convicted of gun trafficking and racketeering, is accused of money laundering and conspiring to traffic in stolen liquor and cigarettes. He has been denied bail.
Briggs said Chow's defense attorneys "absolutely" plan to renew a bid for bail, but said they won't do so for at least two weeks.
All defendants are due to return to court on July 24 for a status conference before U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the trial judge in the case, as well as arraignment on a possible revised indictment that prosecutors say they expect to obtain from a grand jury.
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