On Tuesday, FBI agents executed a series of search warrants in Adelanto, CA that included City Hall, a marijuana dispensary, and Mayor Rich Kerr’s home. FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said the agency acted in concert with the IRS, the San Bernardino County’s DA office, and the Sheriff’s Department. Full details of the investigation are pending. The search warrants appear to be connected to an alleged bribery and corruption scandal involving the mayor’s office and marijuana businesses in Adelanto.
Adelanto Mayor Suspected Of Accepting Bribes From Marijuana Businesses
According to multiple reports, FBI agents raided the home of Adelanto mayor Rich Kerr and the city’s town hall on Tuesday. The raids are part of a large-scale investigation into suspected corruption and bribery.
The Jet Room, a marijuana dispensary, was also targeted in Tuesday’s sweeping raids. Agents executed additional warrants at the law office of the Jet Room’s attorney, Philip E. Rios.
There’s a family connection between Rios’ firm, Professional Lawyers Group, and the Jet Room dispensary. The general counsel for the Professional Lawyers Group, David Serrano, is the brother of the Jet Room’s owner, Manuel Serrano.
So far, the FBI isn’t releasing information about the nature of the warrants, which were sealed by a federal court. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller did say that the warrants involve “an investigation into criminal activity.”
Despite earlier reports that agents arrested Mayor Rich Kerr and took him away in handcuffs, Eimiller said there had been no arrests. Agents did, however, seize a number of boxes and storage bins of documents from Mayor Kerr’s home.
“They’re just doing their due diligence,” Kerr’s daughter told the San Bernardino Sun.
Raids The Latest Development In Ongoing Corruption Investigations
Located in San Bernardino county, Adelanto has been aggressively recruiting marijuana businesses to the area. But this isn’t the first time Adelanto has come under federal scrutiny for possible corruption.
When Rich Kerr took office, federal agents had already filed charges against the city’s pro tem mayor Jermaine Wright. The charges accused Wright of taking bribes to fast-track certain licensing steps for marijuana businesses.
Last November, federal agents arrested and indicted Wright. Wright had taken a $10,000 cash bribe from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for a rezoning move that would have favored a particular cannabis transportation business.
According to reports, Wright also attempted to pay another FBI agent $1,500 to torch his barbecue restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill. The restaurant carried a $300,000 insurance policy.
Adelanto’s history of official corruption goes back even further. The city has seen multiple corruption scandals involving police, elected officials, and even an animal control supervisor, according to the Sun.
This isn’t Mayor Kerr’s first controversy. Back in January, an intern accused Kerr of sexual harassment and workplace humiliation. The intern filed an official complaint against Kerr with the city. An independent investigation ultimately cleared Kerr of any wrongdoing.
FBI Raids Mayor’s Home In Marijuana Business Bribery Investigation
Despite the coordinated, multi-agency investigation that raided mayor Kerr’s home and City Hall, the FBI didn’t arrest Kerr or anyone at the Jet Room.
The raids closed down City Hall for the day on Tuesday. Adelanto’s public information officer Michael Stevens said in a statement that the city is “unaware of the nature of the FBI’s investigation” but is prepared to fully cooperate with any investigations being conducted.
Mayor Kerr’s wife, Misty, assured neighbors concerned about the FBI activity that “Everything’s fine”. The investigation is ongoing.