FBI Raids Compton Officials’ Homes, Office In Baldwin Park Pot Probe
Two Compton officials’ homes and offices have been raided by the FBI as a part of a federal investigation about its cannabis business dealings. Compton City Councilman Isaac Galvan and Baldwin Park City Attorney Robert Tafoya were both targets of the probe last week, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Baldwin Park officials are accused of extorting money from cannabis companies seeking to obtain licenses to cultivate, distribute, manufacture and test the product.
A former police officer said in a sworn statement he received several complaints about “questionable business practices, which included paying as much as $250,000 cash in a brown paper bag to city officials.”
Galvan and Tafoya have both denied any wrongdoing, but the FBI did confirm they raided the men’s homes and offices through a spokesperson, the Times reported.
Tafoya’s attorney Mark Werksman said his client “is proud of his many years of distinguished service as city attorney of Baldwin Park” and “shares the federal government’s interest in rooting out corruption in the cannabis industry and prosecuting political corruption of any kind.”
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Galvan was defended by Baldwin Park mayor Manuel Lozano. “Everything that’s done in the city of Baldwin Park, including by me, is above board,” Lozano said.
The raid is the latest occurrence of controversy concerning the city’s process on approving cannabis permits for businesses. In 2017, the city was taken to court for giving an exclusive contract to Rukli, Inc. to distribute cannabis in the city.
The plaintiffs asked a judge to remove the exclusivity provision, but the request was denied.
Baldwin Park said they are working to be fully honest and transparent amid the FBI probe.
“Baldwin Park’s officials recognize the need to continue to be transparent and to maintain public confidence; the City will cooperate fully with federal authorities if necessary,” the city said in a statement.