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Chairman of Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians arrested by FBI agents

October 23, 2009 |  3:30 pm

Robert Salgado, the colorful and often controversial chairman of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, was arrested by FBI agents today on charges of accepting more than $250,000 in bribes and hiding income from the IRS.

The U.S. attorney's office alleges that Salgado, 67, took bribes from four vendors including one providing valet parking to the tribal casino.

Salgado was charged in a 36-count indictment that was returned last week by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. He was taken into custody today after surrendering himself at the U.S. District Court in Riverside. Abbas Shilleh, 46, of Diamond Bar is named in two of the bribery counts. He agreed to surrender Monday morning.

Salgado made news last year when he declared that a state of war existed between his tribe and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department following a series of shootings that left several tribal members dead. The incident created a crisis that was solved only after a series of tense meetings between Salgado and county officials.

-- David Kelly