Despite being among the most politically corrupt city in the United States for nearly four decades, Chicago hasn’t yet experienced what this city in Texas just did.
A grand jury has indicted all but one council member of Crystal City accused of federal crimes — at the same time.
The indictment came after 60 FBI agents arrested Mayor Ricardo Lopez, Councilmen Rogelio and Roel Mata, who are brothers, and City Manager/City Attorney James Jonas III, who are accused of accepting bribes and buying votes on the council.
Councilman Joel Barajas is the only member of the city council not facing any federal corruption charges.
“I really don’t know what to do. I’m calling people left and right who have more experience than me, but no one knows. It has never happened,” Barajas said, the San Antonio Express News reported.
The arrests have exposed a long-standing problem of political corruption plaguing the city.
"The breadth of the corruption was startling," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. "Almost every facet of the government in Crystal City had elements of corruption in it."
Residents are relieved — but not really surprised — by the arrest of their elected officials.
"That's good," Noe Gonzales told ABC affiliate KSAT. "Where's all the money? Where's the new businesses? Where's anything in this town of Crystal City?”
“Crystal City is a good town,” Maria Sanchez Rivera, another resident, told the Associated Press. “If you do wrong, you have to face your consequences. We’ve got laws for everything and we’ve got to abide by what the law says.”
If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
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