Former Calexico Officials Sentenced in Marijuana Bribery Scheme

Two former Calexico officials have been sentenced to two years in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for guarantees of a commercial cannabis dispensary permit.

Ex-Mayor Pro Tem David Romero and ex-Economic Development Commissioner Bruno Suarez-Soto took $35,000 in what they thought were cash bribes from an undercover FBI agent last year. They told the agent — whom they believed to be a representative for marijuana investors — that they would ensure rapid issuance of a city permit. They also promised to thwart the application process for any potential competitors.

During conversations with the FBI agent, the two admitted they had taken bribes previously, explaining that “this isn’t our first rodeo.”

In addition to the two-year prison sentence, both men have been ordered to pay $17,500 in forfeiture.