Marijuana dispensary corruption probe spreads to second city
A Santa Fe Springs councilman agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge that he took $11,500 in bribes from a medical marijuana dispensary operator who wanted the city to allow him to keep his shop open.
Former Santa Fe Springs Mayor Joseph Serrano Sr., 62, has agreed to plead guilty to one felony bribery count. Serrano admitted that he asked a dispensary operator, who worked as a confidential informant for the FBI, to give him money in exchange for information about the city's plans to regulate dispensaries. Serrano also promised to use his influence to persuade the city to allow the informant's dispensary to stay open, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Serrano admitted in the plea agreement that he had taken $10,000 in cash and a $1,500 "loan" in the form of a check from the dispensary owner.
U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek declined to confirm whether the informant in the Santa Fe Springs case was the informant in the Cudahy case.
Serrano faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years.
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: Joseph Serrano Sr. Credit: Ruben Vives / Los Angeles Times