Two former city officials in California were sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison for accepting bribes in return for favorable treatment.
Former Calexico City Councilman David Romero, 37, and Bruno Suarez-Soto, 29, a former commissioner on the city’s Economic Development and Financial Advisory Commission, accepted $35,000 in cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for a promise to issue a permit for a commercial cannabis dispensary in January 2020, according to the Department of Justice.
The men accepted the bribe in two installments of $17,500 in cash on Jan. 9 and Jan. 30 of that year, believing they were dealing with investors seeking to open a business in Calexico.
“This isn’t our first rodeo,” one of the men said to the undercover agent regarding the bribe.
Romero, in addition to being a councilman, was Calexico’s incoming mayor but resigned from that post as a part of his plea agreement.
In addition to the prison time, both Romero and Suarez-Soto were ordered to pay $17,500.