California public officials targeted in broadening federal investigation into pot licensing

Bakersfield.com is reporting.

A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas seeking information about cash and other payments to public officials and cannabis consultants as part of a criminal investigation into pot licensing in Baldwin Park and nearby cities, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

Federal authorities, including agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service, have been interviewing witnesses and are seeking a wide range of records regarding Baldwin Park city officials who approved cannabis licenses and consultants who helped businesses obtain the permits, according to interviews and a copy of a grand jury subpoena reviewed by The Times.

Agents are also probing connections between Baldwin Park businesses and consultants who have obtained or sought cannabis licenses in other cities, including Montebello and El Monte, according to the subpoena and interviews.

The subpoenas follow a series of scandals in Baldwin Park, a 6.8-square-mile city 23 miles east of Los Angeles, in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley.

Late last year, The Times reported that FBI agents had served search warrants at the city attorney’s office and the homes of two officials in other cities as part of an investigation into cannabis licensing and allegations that Baldwin Park officials had received illegal payments from businesses seeking permits.

A former Baldwin Park City Council member, who was an early champion of legalizing cannabis, pleaded guilty in a separate federal case after admitting to taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from a police officer to vote for a police union contract, according to federal court records that were unsealed earlier this year. He agreed to cooperate with authorities in ongoing public corruption investigations.

https://www.bakersfield.com/ap/national/southern-california-public-officials-targeted-in-broadening-federal-investigation-into-pot-licensing/article_81c89ca4-6996-5b3d-8211-df934af1a2ef.html

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