COMPTON – Councilman Isaac Galvan continues to attend city council meetings after the FBI raided his home related to activities not related to the city of Compton. Speculation continues to grow that a Grand Jury will soon be convened.
It was initially reported that Galvan and former Baldwin Park Mayor Mario Pacheco were arrested related to cannabis in the city’s of Baldwin Park and Maywood. Galvan became enjoined after the FBI interviewed Pacheco.
Subsequently, Baldwin Park City Atty Robert Tafoya and Gabriel Chavez, the San Bernardino Planning Commissioner have also become attached to the probe centered around alleged corruption in the awarding of cannabis related licenses.
There have been conflicting reports on whether the men were arrested.
“I stand by my sources,” said Brian Hews, publisher Los Cerritos News (LCN) who first reported the arrests.
According to LCN the arrests were attributed to cannabis in Baldwin Park and Maywood.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that addresses attached to Galvan and Tafoya were among those searched October 28 but declined to comment further, saying a judge had sealed the supporting affidavits.
The spokeswoman said neither man has been arrested “despite reports stating otherwise”.
The raids come amid controversy over Baldwin Park’s approval of licenses for cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and testing cannabis and a lawsuit filed against Maywood Mayor Eddie De La Riva, where the common thread was seeking bribes from cannabis companies seeking to do business in the city.
Jose Mendoza owns a cannabis testing company, L.A. Labs, and claims Mayor De La Riva attempted to extort $350,000 from him to open his business.
In Baldwin Park Pacheco made demands from the new police chief, Steven McClean, to ensure he was hired.
In September, a former Baldwin Park police officer said in a sworn declaration that he had received complaints from three cannabis operations alleging “questionable business practices, which included paying as much as $250,000 cash in a brown paper bag to city officials.”
The declaration, signed by a retired police lieutenant who had helped oversee regulating cannabis businesses in the city, was filed in defense of a former police chief the city accused of unrelated wrongdoing. The declaration’s allegations about cannabis businesses do not mention Tafoya, Galvan or Chavez.
Pacheco was arrested by the FBI on that matter, and after questioning, they were led to Galvan.
Galvan confirmed his apartment was raided and has continued to decline making an official statement on the matter.
“I am doing ok,” Galvan told 2UrbanGirls but declined to provide a full statement on the matter.
He continues to evade constituents’ questions and concerns by refusing to deliver closing comments during the weekly council meetings.
2UrbanGirls reached attorney Anthony Willoughby who declined to comment on the investigation.
“Our firm has spent 30 years representing minorities in Los Angeles. In that time, our firm has watched the pendulum of justice swing out of the reach of minorities time and time again,” said Willoughby. “The inequities of our society are most often put on display by the selective application of the law and our failure to examine all the facts, in both their immediate and big picture context. The rush to place guilty banners above the heads of those who catch the eye of a system rooted in inequality only hurts the move toward progress. With this in mind, I believe patience is an underserved virtue in these situations.”
Cannabis continues to be a hot topic in the city of Compton as residents passed an ordinance banning cannabis businesses in the city although illegal dispensaries continue to thrive due to the city’s inaction to enforce the ordinance.
Petitioners gathered more than 8,500 signatures to get Measure I on the ballot and forced a special election in January 2018. The voter initiative, which was backed by the cannabis industry, called for a 5% sales tax and from seven to 10 dispensaries and would’ve allowed indoor marijuana-cultivation businesses.
The city drafted a competing bill that would have increased the sales tax to 10%, banned commercial cultivation, included local hiring mandates, called for stricter zoning and capped the number of dispensaries at 10.
Residents voted against both measures.
“The voters in Compton decided this decision was the healthiest and most forward-looking for our community,” said Councilwoman Emma Sharif, who was the lone council member to vote against both items.
The city is currently facing a projected $9.8 million revenue shortfall and simply doesn’t have the money to enforce the ban.
“We bring in zero revenue going after illegal dispensaries,” said Mayor Aja Brown.
Residents continue to allege that Brown has ownership in a dispensary on Compton Blvd.
Isaac Galvan is up for re-election in April 2021 and could face strong competition to save his seat.