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Federal agents search Adelanto mayor’s home, City Hall amid corruption probe

Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr is escorted from his home by FBI officials in Adelanto, Calif. (James Quigg / Daily Press)

Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr had a plan to cure the long-struggling city’s deep financial woes. He would make the desert town, with its vast stretches of cheap land, into the Silicon Valley of marijuana.

Since 2015, under Kerr’s leadership, officials have worked diligently to attract the cannabis industry. The efforts drew national attention and led to a land rush as entrepreneurs sought to take advantage of Adelanto’s welcoming posture.

But the San Bernardino County city and its cannabis industry have also drawn the attention of federal investigators.

On Tuesday, FBI agents served search warrants at Kerr’s home, City Hall and a local marijuana dispensary.

The raids come amid an ongoing investigation into corruption in the city, which came to light last year after charges were filed against Mayor Pro Tem Jermaine Wright, who was accused of accepting bribes to fast-track a marijuana business, among other things.

An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that agents were executing federal search warrants in the city on Tuesday but declined to comment further because the affidavits in support of the warrants are under seal.

Kerr was seen being removed from his home in handcuffs Tuesday morning, according to the Victorville Daily Press. Officials, however, told The Times that Kerr had not been arrested.

In a written statement, city spokesman Michael Stevens said the city was unaware of the nature of the FBI investigation but was “prepared to cooperate with any investigation being conducted.”

Because of the search warrants, City Hall was closed Tuesday but should reopen Wednesday, Stevens said.

“The City Council wants to assure the public that the city will continue to focus its efforts on providing the services that residents and businesses expect,” Stevens said.

The agencies involved in Tuesday’s searches included the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division and the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies and FBI investigators lead a handcuffed man into the Jet Room, a marijuana dispensary, in Adelanto, Calif.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies and FBI investigators lead a handcuffed man into the Jet Room, a marijuana dispensary, in Adelanto, Calif. (James Quigg / Daily Press)


In addition to City Hall and Kerr’s home, investigators served search warrants on the Jet Room, a marijuana dispensary in Adelanto whose website boasts that at least half of its employees would be Adelanto residents.

“No expense has been spared in order to provide the best experience for their patients, all while staying compliant,” the website quotes owner Lisa Marie Guerra as saying.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By James Queally on Los Angeles Times

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Published: May 09, 2018

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