Since the legalization of marijuana, unscrupulous government officials and employees have battled for a piece of California’s green-rush revenue, leading to multiple accusations and arrests for conflicts of interest, extortion and bribery.
In late October, FBI agents raided the home of Compton Councilman Isaac Galvin, the Los Angeles law offices of Baldwin Park city attorney Robert Tafoya and the home of San Bernardino Planning Commissioner Gabriel Chavez. The raids appear to be linked to the securing of permits for lucrative marijuana businesses in Baldwin Park, according to the LA Times.
In September, a retired Baldwin Park police lieutenant said in a sworn declaration that he had received complaints from three cannabis operations about illicit practices including paying city officials bribes of as much as $250,000 in a brown paper bag, according to the LA Times. The declaration did not name Galvin, Chavez or Tafoya.
With the inducement of huge profits in the cannabis industry, allegations of pay-to-play in San Luis Obispo County have been common. Multiple cannabis business owners have complained about public officials and government employees seeking bribes. On the other side, government employees and officials have reported bribery attempts from cannabis business owners.
During the past year, FBI agents raided Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee’s home, former SLO Supervisor Adam Hill’s Shell Beach home, the SLO County Government Center and marijuana kingpin Helios Dayspring’s home on the outskirts of SLO. While Lee confirmed the raid of his home was related to allegations of corruption regarding cannabis, no arrests have yet been made.