Ex-mayor indicted on corruption charges tied to CA marijuana licensing

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(This story has been updated to correct the monetary sum of alleged bribes and kickbacks.)

The former mayor of a Southern California city has been indicted by federal prosecutors for bribery and wire fraud charges stemming from a corruption case tied to marijuana business licenses.

Richard Kerr, the former mayor of Adelanto in the desert northeast of Los Angeles, was arrested Friday after federal agents served a search warrant at his home, the Victorville Daily Press reported.

Kerr is accused of taking nearly $60,000 in bribes and kickbacks related to local marijuana licensing.

An investigation into the former mayor’s work with marijuana businesses began in 2018, after an arrest the previous year of Adelanto’s vice mayor in connection with a bribery scheme tied to the city’s cannabis permitting process.

According to an indictment unsealed last week, FBI investigators allege that Kerr and co-conspirators began their scheme at least as far back as 2015 and then began accepting bribes from marijuana business executives hoping to win coveted permits.

Kerr has pleaded not guilty to all charges filed against him. But he could face up to 160 years in prison if convicted on all charges, the Daily Press reported.