The Federal Bureau of Investigation last week raided the offices and homes of officials in California as part of a cannabis-related corruption inquiry, the Southern California News Group reports. Search warrants were executed at the office of Baldwin Park City Attorney Robert Tafoya, and the homes of Compton Councilman Isaac Galvan and San Bernardino County Planning Commissioner Gabriel Chavez.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed the searches to the News Group but did not outline specifics about the action because the warrants are sealed. She indicated that there were no arrests made as part of the probe.
Chavez said he was “mystified as anyone else” by the raid during which agents only seized his laptop. Later, he said, he turned in his cell phone to the FBI’s West Covina field office.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, the investigation stems from a sworn declaration by a former Baldwin Park Police officer – who helps oversee the industry in the city – alleging that three cannabis operators had reported “questionable business practices, which included paying as much as $250,000 cash in a brown paper bag to city officials.”
Mark Werksman, an attorney representing Tafoya, declined to provide details but, in a statement, said the city attorney “shares the federal government’s interest in rooting out corruption in the cannabis industry and prosecuting political corruption of any kind.”
Baldwin Park officials came under fire in 2017 for granting an exclusive permit to Rukli Inc. to distribute cannabis produced in the city. A lawsuit challenging that permit was denied by a judge, according to the Times.