Cudahy Mayor, City Official Plead Guilty In Federal Bribery Case

CUDAHY (CBS) — The mayor of Cudahy and one of the city’s top officials have struck a plea bargain Thursday with federal officials after being arrested on federal bribery charges.

Mayor David Silva, and Angel Perales, who runs the city’s Code Enforcement Division and was acting city manager for most of 2011, agreed to plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges for requesting and accepting cash payments in exchange for supporting the opening of a local medical marijuana store.

A plea agreement was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

A third defendant, City Council member Osvaldo Conde, was also arrested as part of the FBI investigation.

According to the plea agreement, Silva, 61, a member of the Cudahy City Council for more than 20 years, admits to taking bribes from several individuals, including a developer who was interested in properties in Cudahy. Separate from the medical marijuana bribes, Silva accepted a $50,000 payment from a developer who wanted to purchase land owned by the city — in exchange for buying the property at a discount.

Silva and Perales face a total statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison, a fine of $500,000 and will have to repay the money they received in bribes from the FBI informant.

Perales, 43, admits to collecting bribes for Silva and Conde, according to his plea agreement, and also admitted to election fraud during the 2007 municipal election, when he and “other city officials routinely and systemically opened absentee ballots cast by mail.”

Ballots cast in favor of incumbent candidates were resealed and returned to the mail to be counted, but votes for non-incumbent candidates were discarded.

CBS2 and KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan spoke to former city council candidate Luis Garcia who led a slate of opposition candidates running against the incumbents. Garcia says it was hard to fight the machine. And one night he even heard a Molotov cocktail bounce off his window sill.

Garcia lost his race by only a few dozen votes.

Bryan reports only Osvaldo Conde has refused to admit guilt to any of the bribery or election fraud charges.

Conde was arrested after a five-hour standoff with the FBI.

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