Ex-Adelanto Mayor Arrested in Marijuana Bribery Scheme

Former Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr was arrested Aug 13 for allegedly accepting $57,000 in bribes from cannabis businesses in exchange for help securing licenses and permits to operate in the city. He is the second former Adelanto official accused of accepting bribes from marijuana businesses. In 2017, then-Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright was arrested for soliciting $10,000 from an undercover FBI agent posing as a cannabis business owner.

Kerr faces seven counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of bribery. Among the allegations, Kerr is accused of pushing for boundary changes in a proposed marijuana ordinance to benefit one of his suborners.

Kerr was in a key position to solicit kickbacks from cannabis entrepreneurs. He was not only the city’s mayor, but also a member of Adelanto’s Cannabis Dispensary Permit Committee. That committee determines the number of permits to be issued and which applicants will be approved.

Kerr’s arrest – like the arrest of Jermaine Wright before him – is just the latest scandal to emerge from the High Desert city. Adelanto has a history of public corruption spanning more than three decades.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times and San Bernardino Sun.