CA: Former Baldwin Park city attorney a ‘co-conspirator’ in $70K cannabis bribery scheme, indictment alleges

Prosecutors are alleging Robert Tafoya assisted in a scheme to help a businessman secure a cannabis permit

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports

Baldwin Park’s former city attorney “knowingly and intentionally” assisted in a bribery and wire fraud scheme that funneled $70,000 in illicit payoffs to former Councilman Ricardo Pacheco to secure his vote on a cannabis permit, according to federal authorities.

The new allegations against Robert Tafoya became public last week following the federal grand jury indictment of Tafoya’s longtime friend and alleged co-conspirator, former Compton Councilman Isaac Galvan.

Tafoya has not been charged and is only identified as “Person 1,” an individual described in the indictment as “the city attorney for Baldwin Park from in or around December 2013 until October 2022.” Court filings, however, refer to Person 1 as a “co-conspirator” and suggest he assisted in at least two instances in which Pacheco sold his vote.

Tafoya resigned as city attorney that same month after the Southern California News Group published details about other allegations against him contained in the unsealed plea agreements of Pacheco, a councilman from 1997 to 2020, and Gabriel Chavez, a former San Bernardino County planning commissioner who served as Pacheco’s middleman in the bribery scheme.

Pacheco and Chavez each pleaded guilty to a single count of bribery in 2020 and 2022. In total, authorities seized $302,900 in bribes collected by Pacheco.

Their plea agreements, signed under penalty of perjury, allege Galvan, Tafoya and others — including Commerce City Manager Edgar Cisneros — participated in the corruption at various points. The federal investigation reportedly crosses into multiple cities, including Baldwin Park, Montebello, El Monte and Commerce.

Galvan and Tafoya allegedly were working together to secure a marijuana license to operate in Cisneros’ city.

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Former Baldwin Park city attorney a ‘co-conspirator’ in $70K bribery scheme, indictment alleges

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