CRYSTAL CITY — Locals in a small South Texas town are not surprised federal agents raided their city hall, and some say it was long overdue.
Thursday morning, a federal public corruption sting landed many of South Texas town's top officials behind bars. The raid happened at several locations including Crystal City's City Hall, landing these city officials in jail:
• Mayor Ricardo Lopez
• City Manager and City Attorney James Jonas
• Mayor Pro-tem Rogelio Mata
• Council member Roel Mata
• Former council member Gilbert Urrabazo
Businessman Ngoc Tri Ngyugen also was indicted and arrested. All six face federal bribery charges and they are accused of receiving kickbacks from contractors in exchange for a public works project.
Other bribery charges include the conspiracy to allow Ngyugen set up illegal 8-liner gaming rooms. Locals say tax dollars have been abused long enough and are pleased someone finally went to jail.
"That's good. Because where is all that money? Where are all the new businesses? Where is anything in this town of Crystal City,” said resident Now Gonzales.
Another allegation includes the council agreeing to extend and provide a lucrative City Manager and attorney contract for Jonas. Federal investigators are asking people with first-hand information about corruption, fraud or bribery related to the case to submit a tip online.