This Website use Cookies OK

Read more U.S. News

Embattled Massachusetts mayor charged with extorting marijuana vendors for bribes


The mayor denied extorting marijuana vendors for bribes. (rgbspace/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A New England politician’s career may be up in smoke because of an allegedly chronic penchant for corruption.

Jasiel Correia II, the mayor of Fall River, Mass., was arrested Friday on federal extortion charges after allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to get marijuana vendors operational approval in the Bay State town.

Correia, 27, agreed to sign non-opposition letters, which the state requires before approving a marijuana business’s license, in exchange for six-figure payments from four vendors who wanted to start operations in the city south of Boston.

“I’m not guilty of these charges,” he told reporters after pleading not guilty at his arraignment. “I’ve done nothing but good for the great city of Fall River, me and my staff, and my team. I’m going to continue to do great things for our citizens.”

Correia, a Democrat, is also accused of extorting a property owner out of thousands of dollars in cash and a Rolex watch to turn on his building’s water supply and demanding his chief of staff give him half of her salary for her to keep her city job.

Four others in Correia’s circle were arrested and charged, as well.

Correia was charged with defrauding investors of an app he co-owns in October 2018 after he allegedly embezzled funds to pay for his political career and “lavish lifestyle.”

Between the two arrests, Correia faces 24 counts for bribery, extortion conspiracy, extortion and aiding and abetting, wire fraud, and filing false tax returns.

In addition to the bribes, prosecutors said an associate of Correia’s was promised profits from marijuana sales. Another middleman allegedly received as much as 15 pounds of marijuana to sell as well as an amount of cash.