Ex-SoCal politician gets 5-year prison sentence in marijuana bribery scheme

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Former Southern California politician Jermaine Wright was sentenced to five years in a federal prison after being convicted of bribery in a marijuana business licensing scheme as well as attempted arson.

Wright, who was mayor pro tem and a city councilor in Adelanto, California, was arrested and charged in 2017 with soliciting and accepting a $10,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent to help in obtaining a license to open a marijuana transportation business.

The 46-year-old also was charged with paying a different undercover FBI agent $1,500 to burn down his restaurant for the insurance payout, the Associated Press reported.

Wright, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, received the minimum five-year sentence, according to the AP.

He is part of a growing list of local officials involved in corruption practices related to the marijuana industry.

In 2021, for example, then-Adelanto Mayor Richard Kerr was indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly taking nearly $60,000 in bribes and kickbacks related to marijuana business licensing.