WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday, May 6, in a press release that the mayors of two different municipalities in Puerto Rico were arrested for allegedly engaging in conspiracy, soliciting bribes and extortion.
Javier García-Pérez, 46, Mayor of Aguas Buenas, was indicted for his involvement in a bribery conspiracy between 2017 and 2021, in which he received and accepted cash payments from two businessmen in exchange for awarding municipal contracts for waste disposal services, asphalt and paving services and debris removal, as well as payment of outstanding invoices on the contracts. García-Pérez allegedly received at least $32,000 in cash payments from the businessmen from August 2020 through September 2021, according to the indictment.
A second indictment alleges that Reinaldo Vargas-Rodriguez, 48, Mayor of Humacao, was also involved in a bribery conspiracy from January to July 2021, in which he received and accepted cash payments from two businessmen in exchange for awarding contracts for waste disposal and asphalt and paving services, and for payment of outstanding invoices on the contracts. According to the indictment, Vargas-Rodriguez received at least $15,000 in cash payments from the two businessmen from March through April of 2021.
García-Pérez and Vargas-Rodriguez each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all counts.
The FBI has not designated these cases as related at this time.
The FBI’s San Juan Field Office was responsible for conducting this investigation. Both cases are part of the DOJ’s ongoing efforts to combat corruption by public officials in Puerto Rico.