Adelanto Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright was arrested Tuesday after soliciting a $10,000 bribe from an undercover FBI agent that he believed to be a marijuana business operator. Wright accepted the cash in exchange for his assistance in future zoning accommodations and other protections from code enforcement. He now faces charges of bribery for the quid pro quo.
In addition, Wright is facing charges of attempted arson of a building affecting interstate commerce. Authorities say he contacted another FBI informant about setting fire to his restaurant, Fat Boyz Grill, so that he could collect $300,000 in insurance money. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 and 20 years respectively.
An investigation into Wright’s activities was launched earlier this year after federal agents received a tip that he may have been receiving payments in return for official acts. Many of the conversations between Wright and the FBI informants were recorded and contain great detail, including how he wanted the fire carried out, as well as the proximity and estimated response time of the nearest fire station.
“We’re sad to learn about the circumstances involving Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright, but we want our residents and businesses to know that nothing changes in the city,” said a spokesman. “We will continue to deliver the best possible services our constituents deserve, and we will cooperate to the fullest extent with the authorities in their investigation into the matter involving Mr. Wright, and hope for a speedy resolution.”