With the inducement of huge profits in the cannabis industry, allegations of pay-to play in San Luis Obispo County and throughout the nation are common with pot sellers who regularly complain about public officials and government employees seeking bribes. On the other side, government employees and officials have also reported bribery attempts from cannabis business owners.
In the past few years, the number of government corruption cases has exploded as unethical politicians and former black market operators work to game the system. On Friday, a 27-year-old Fall River, Massachusetts mayor was arrested for allegedly extorting six-figure bribes from marijuana vendors.
Federal prosecutors charged Jasiel F. Correia II with extorting marijuana vendors for bribes, extorting a building owner for cash and a Rolex watch in exchange for activating the water supply to a commercial building, and demanding that his chief of staff give him half of her salary in return for appointing her and allowing her to keep her city job.
Correia’s former Chief of Staff Genoveva Andrade, 48, was also arrested Friday on charges of extortion, theft and bribery, and making a false statement.
In addition, the Democrat mayor is accused of directing Fall River public employees to approve and pay for permits and excavating work to activate the water line for a sprinkler system at a commercial property.
Federal prosecutors also filed charges against three others for assisting Correia in obtaining money and property from marijuana vendors.
Correia is facing up to 70 years in federal prison if convicted on all charges.