LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Two former Cudahy city officials pleaded guilty Thursday to federal extortion and bribery charges for shaking down a businessman who wanted to open a marijuana dispensary.
Ex-Councilman Osvaldo Conde and former Mayor David Silva admitted demanding and accepting $17,000 in bribes to approve a pot collective in the city, according to plea agreements.
A third defendant, Angel Perales, a former code enforcement official, pleaded guilty in the case on Tuesday.
The defendants made no comment after the hearing.
All three face up to 30 years in federal prison and fines of $500,000 each, according to prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real scheduled sentencing dates of Oct. 22 for Perales, Nov. 5 for Silva and Nov. 13 for Conde.
According to court documents, Perales, Conde and Silva took the cash from a marijuana dispensary owner working as an FBI informant.
In a series of recorded conversations with the informant, the defendants explain that the Cudahy City Council planned to approve only one or two permits for medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, according to court papers.
Perales sought to broker an arrangement between the FBI informant and city officials in which the informant would make cash payments in exchange for the officials supporting a request for one of the permits, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph N. Akrotirianakis said.
Perales explained to the informant that there are “three parts to this game” — Conde, Silva and himself, according to an affidavit filed in support of the charges.
Perales also told the informant that Conde and Silva “are not your typical” city officials. They’ve “dealt with, uh, you know, people that throw money down,” Perales said, according to the affidavit.
Prior to a meeting with Conde and Silva at a Pico Rivera restaurant, Perales instructed the informant how he should broach the topic of paying the bribes and later instructed the informant on how to present the bribes, specifying that the payments should be in cash only, according to the affidavit.
All three men resigned from their city jobs.
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