SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A former Southern California county official has admitted to bribing city councilors through his company in exchange for their votes and influence over the city’s cannabis licensing process. Deaf, said federal prosecutors.
Former San Bernardino County Planning Commissioner Gabriel Chavez has agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery, the federal attorney’s office said.
The politician who solicited the bribe — former Baldwin Park City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco — pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in June 2021. Pacheco resigned from the council last year and is awaiting sentencing.
After Baldwin Park began allowing legal cannabis stores in 2017, Pacheco began soliciting bribes from marijuana companies seeking city permits, according to Chavez’s plea bargain.
Chavez agreed to use his Claremont-based internet marketing firm, Market Share Media Agency, to act as an intermediary to funnel these bribes to Pacheco, prosecutors said.
According to court documents, the two agreed that Pacheco would receive 60% of the company’s bribes, while Chavez would keep the rest primarily as payment to facilitate the bribes.
Chavez resigned from the San Bernardino County Planning Commission after the FBI executed a search warrant on his home in November 2018.
Chavez is expected to enter a guilty plea in the coming weeks. Federal bribery charges usually carry her up to 10 years in prison.
https://www.ksby.com/news/california-news/ex-county-official-to-plead-guilty-in-cannabis-bribe-scheme Former county official pleads guilty to cannabis bribery scheme