The Boba Shop suspect in a stolen goods ring was previously arrested in 2019 for a similar scheme

There are a lot of questions about the legal process for a suspect who has just been charged with running a fencing operation from a Tenderloin Quickly store front, as it turns out the suspect has already was arrested and is still awaiting trial in a 2019 case with the same buying or receiving charges. stolen property.

It was already a bizarre and shocking story on Tuesday when news broke that a Larkin Street location of the Boba Quickly franchise had been dismantled in a sting operation for being used as a front operation to sell quantities of stolen goods like laptops and smartphones. The store owner’s husband, Quoc Le, 41, has been charged with numerous crimes and misdemeanors involving stolen property, although news broke the next day that Yelp reviewers had taken notice and included anecdotal stories about it in their shop reviews. .

Add to that a new twist on a story that seems to get stranger every day. The Chronicle is now reporting that Le was previously arrested in 2019 on similar charges and was free to repeat the alleged crimes for three years as the wheels of justice in his 2019 case moved very, very slowly.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s announcement of the bust, in retrospect, contained a small clue to this. He described Le as “a known receiver”, meaning someone known to carry hot goods. This announcement mentioned “approximately 1,000 electronic items [were] recovered” during the arrest, plus $13,000 in cash.

Boudin’s critics (and former employees he fired) seize on the previous arrest, saying it’s proof of Boudin’s lax prosecution standards. But looking at the timeline, Le was free and possibly moving goods again under the previous two DA regimes of George Gascón and Suzy Loftus. And unsurprisingly, the numbers from previous and current regimes point to the other screwing up.

A former San Francisco assistant district attorney, Tom Ostly, whom Boudin fired, said the Chronicle Boudin’s office should have done more in the case. “Either they weren’t watching him and they should have, or they were watching him and they knew what he was doing and they weren’t doing anything,” Ostly told the Chron.

But the Chronicle’s report shows that Osly himself “agreed to adjourn a preliminary hearing in an effort to find a solution to the case” in 2019. Obviously, no one could have known the COVID-19 pandemic was coming. and that delay would buy years of extra freedom. But Le has posted bail, as is his legal right, and this “effort to find a solution” certainly looks like an opportunity for Le’s attorney to plead for lesser charges.

The pandemic has delayed any trials for suspects who were not in custody, and the court has downgraded all property crime cases, hence the significant delay in Le’s trial on the 2019 charges.

Boudin’s office argues that Le’s 2019 bail conditions didn’t require him to wear an ankle monitor, so they couldn’t track his movements. Additionally, they say their “Operation Bulldog,” in which investigators from the DA’s office lured Le using bait laptops, was indeed the work of his own office.

It may simply be the matter of a generally slow trial delayed even further by COVID-19, plus a suspect who has the means to post bail and the desire to dive back into committing the same crimes. It’s not like the SFPD arrested Le for anything that brought him back into Boudin’s custody. And boy is Boudin’s office keen to remind us that this sting was pulled by the Special Investigations team and investigators from his own office.

Le is out on bail again, even with the whole new batch of charges. There’s not much Boudin can do about it, it was a judge’s call. But Le is at least on probation, his attorney tells the Chronicle, and has been ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

Related: Quickly Boba Shop on Larkin busted in DA Sting’s office, allegedly helped past car burglary ring [SFist]

Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp

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