Virginia trio charged with conspiracy to rob, extort Lutherville restaurateur

FBI investigated one man for nearly three years

August 31, 1999|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,SUN STAFF

When federal agents leapt from their cars and pointed guns at three Northern Virginia men poised to invade a home in Lutherville last week, it was the end of a long road -- literally.

Agents had been investigating one of the men arrested Thursday, Yuem Ming Chan -- who calls himself Austin Chan -- for almost three years, trailing him from New York to a small brick rowhouse in Burke, Va., and finally to a secluded street in Lutherville.

All three have been charged with conspiracy to rob and extort, and with weapons violations. The FBI declined to say yesterday what first led them to Chan, who is charged also with kidnapping, weapons possession and robbery in New York.

"I'm not so sure we have all the whys on this yet," said Gregg Horner of the Washington FBI office.

But an affidavit unsealed in the case yesterday provided new details about the arrests of Chan, 37, Edward Jin Ray, 25 and Daniel Lee Dean, 23.

The trio was arrested Thursday in front of the home of restaurateur James C. Han. Federal court documents say they were going to invade his home and rob him.

Chan, Ray and Dean made one trip to Ming's Chinese Restaurant, owned by Han, in the Timonium Shopping Center on Aug. 11, according to federal documents. With agents following them, they drove in and around Timonium, using three cars over the course of the day. But they returned to Chan's townhouse without incident, according to documents.

On Thursday, the three men returned to Timonium and to Han's restaurant, the documents said. Ray and Dean drove a white Toyota Corolla and drove to a mall.

They were joined by Chan in a white BMW, which had a flat tire in front of the Bibelot book store at the mall. The documents show that, after changing the tire, they drove to an apartment complex where two of them changed clothes, as agents watched.

Dean put on a postal uniform, although not a Postal Service employee, while Chan put on a jacket, the documents show.

They drove to the first block of Shady Brook Court in Lutherville. Just before 4 p.m., Dean knocked on the front door of the Han residence, documents show. When the agents moved to arrest Dean, Chan tried to drive away -- but an FBI agent with a rifle stood in front of him, the affidavit said. Chan swerved, a second agent in a car rammed his vehicle, and the three men were arrested.

Dean was carrying an envelope addressed to Han's wife, Lily, the affidavit said. Dean had a semi-automatic handgun, and agents found a second handgun, latex gloves and power tools in the Corolla.

Han, who was home, told agents that Chan worked at his restaurant 14 years ago and had robbed him then, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Dean told agents that Chan recruited him "because he is white. Chan said Han would not open the door for an Asian."

Han did not return calls to his restaurant yesterday, seeking comment, and a man who answered the phone said Han would not return until tomorrow.

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