Another guilty plea is expected in the bribery scheme related to cannabis permits in San Bernardino County, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Gabriel Chavez, a former county planning commissioner, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge, the DOJ announced in a Friday press release.
According to prosecutors, Chavez, a 65-year-old Upland resident, funneled bribe money intended for former Baldwin Park City Councilmember Ricardo Pacheco through his Claremont-based internet marketing company, Market Share Media Agency.
Pacheco pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge in June 2021 and is awaiting sentencing.
In exchange for the bribe money, which was split 60-40 by Pacheco and Chavez, respectively, both men used their positions to help two cannabis businesses get their required permits, according to the DOJ.
The companies are only identified as Marijuana Company 3 and Marijuana Company 4.
“From August 2017 to March 2018, Chavez received at least $125,000 from Marijuana Company 3 and at least $45,000 on behalf of Marijuana Company 4, none of which he reported to the IRS as personal income or as his company’s revenue. Chavez paid Pacheco between $80,000 and $93,000 in cash, out of at least $170,000 collected from both companies,” the release said.
Both men are no longer serving in office. Pacheco resigned from the council in June 2021, while Chavez resigned from the Planning Commission in November 2018 after a search warrant was served at his home.
Anyone with information related to this or any other public corruption matter is encouraged to send information to the FBI’s email tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org or to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at 310-477-6565.