A former Cudahy city councilman will plead guilty to federal charges of extortion and bribery for allegedly accepting $7,000 from the owner of a medical marijuana clinic who wanted to open up a shop in the southeast Los Angeles County city, according to documents filed today by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Osvaldo Conde, 50, is scheduled to appear in a U.S. District Court tomorrow afternoon. In an agreement filed this morning, Conde agreed to plead guilty to one count of extortion and one count of bribery. Conde resigned from office last Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, though he was still listed on the city’s official website this afternoon. A call to the city manager was not immediately returned.
An attorney for Conde was not immediately available to comment on the plea agreement.
Federal prosecutors have called Conde the ringleader of a group that included former Mayor David Silva, 61, and the former head of Code Enforcement, Angel Perales, 43. Silva and Perales have already agreed to plead guilty to one count of extortion and one count of bribery.
According to federal authorities, the group approached the owner of a medical marijuana clinic and indicated that there needed to be a cash payment to be considered for a dispensary permit. The owner later became an FBI informant. On Feb. 28, the informant met with the men at the El Potrero nightclub in Cudahy to give each of them $5,000 in cash. Conde later received an additional $2,000.
In their plea agreements, Silva and Perales described a city where bribes and voter fraud were part of doing business. Perales was known to obtain narcotic pain medications for an unidentified Cudahy city official and other city employees. He also tipped off an unnamed official when the police were scheduled to raid a massage parlor where sexual favors were doled out. The parlor was co-owned by Conde.
A hearing for the three men is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. At that time, the case will be assigned to a U.S. District judge. The men will not formally enter their guilty pleas at that time. Conde, Silva and Perales each face 30 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. They will also have to repay the federal government for the bribes they took from the FBI informant.
This post has been updated.