Several current and former crystal city officials have been arrested in a federal bribery investigation.
William James Jonas III, who serves as the City Manager and City Attorney in Crystal City, was arrested at his office on Basse Road in San Antonio Thursday morning. Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez, Crystal City Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata, and Crystal City Councilman Roel Mata were arrested in Crystal City. Former Crystal City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo was arrested in San Antonio. Businessman Ngoc Tri Nguyen of Keller was also taken into custody.
“The indictment alleges that these public officials solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for official action,” US Attorney Richard Durbin said. “Such as, voting to award city contracts, waive certain tax payments, and conduct certain inspections to give unfair advantage to those paying the bribes.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the operation Thursday morning in San Antonio and Crystal City. The Crystal City City Hall was closed to the public Thursday.
“The breath of the corruption was startling,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said. “I think everyone that lives in the city of Crystal City was a victim of this. So the number of possible victims could be hundreds of thousands.”
This investigation started because of a tip to the FBI.
“I would ask everyone in Crystal City that if they have further information about corruption there to call us,” Combs said.
The FBI tip line is 1-800-CALL-FBI.