Bribes Greased Pot Store Openings, Feds Say

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – Three officials with the city of Cudahy accepted $17,000 in cash bribes to open a medical marijuana store in town, prosecutors say.
     FBI agents arrested Cudahy Mayor David Silva; Angel Perales, the head of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, and city councilman Osvaldo Conde, on federal bribery charges.
     Cudahy is the second-smallest city in Los Angeles County by area, but has one of the highest population densities in the nation.
     In late 2011, a confidential FBI informant who operated a marijuana dispensary told agents that Perales wanted to discuss moving the dispensary to Cudahy.
     The city’s moratorium against marijuana dispensaries was set to expire in March 2012.
     After weeks of discussions around bribes, the informant met with Silva, Perales and Conde at a nightclub in February. The trio allegedly accepted a total of $15,000 in cash as bribe payments.
     Conde later met with the informant to accept an additional $2,000, according to the affidavit against the officials unsealed last week.
     In recorded conversations with the informant, the city officials allegedly said the Cudahy City Council planned to approve one or two permits for medical marijuana stores, and Perales sought a bribe in exchange for official support for a permit.
     Perales allegedly told the informant that Conde and Silva “are not your typical … council people. They’ve dealt with, uh, you know, people that throw money down.”
     Based on the information in the affidavit, Conde, Silva and Perales were arrested on Friday.
     Bribery carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

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