Sunday, October 2, 2022

Former Trujillo Alto mayor Jose Luis Cruz to plead guilty today

Former Popular Mayor of Trujillo Alto, Jose Luis Cruz CruzThe Federal Court in San Juan reached a settlement with prosecutors to plead guilty today.

The federal court today reported a guilty plea hearing and discharge through motion of information.

The hearing is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. before District Judge Silvia Carreno.

After the plea agreement was announced, the PPD’s general secretary, Ramón Luis Cruz Burgos, insisted that “corruption has no place in the public service, nor in the Popular Democratic Party.”

“Any officer who fails people knows he has no place in this party. Tell them that every illegal act has consequences and that they will have to face the consequences. Once the guilty settlement of the former mayor of Trujillo becomes known, we reiterate that no one is above the law, no matter who they are or what party they belong to. We are deeply sorry that such actions are repeated, we support the investigation and the consequences on the former mayor,” he added in a written statement.

Cruz negotiated a settlement with the public ministry for months after his special assistant, Rademes Benítez Cardona, was arrested last December for a corruption scheme.

Since then, the Trujillo mayor has remained out of the public eye, although he remained in office until he resigned last Friday, in a letter that gave no reason for his departure.

“In recent weeks, something told me that something was not right, because we had no communication with the mayor. Normally, he met with a parliamentary majority, and we didn’t.”Lourdes Zayas Aleman, President of the Municipal Legislature of Trujillo Alto said that day.

Following the resignation, several municipal legislators indicated that they never received a response from Cruz Cruz to meet with them, with the aim of explaining what they knew about the situation that led to the arrest of Benítez Cardona. He said contracts like garbage and asphalt collection do not go to the municipal legislature.

Earlier, last December, Cruz Cruz claimed to be surprised by the arrest of Benítez Cardona.

“I am extremely shocked by what just happened. I am deeply sorry for this situation, but corruption must be attacked where it comes from,” Cruz said in a written statement, which also added that he had told his assistant was briefly suspended.

“I tell my people in Trujillo Alto that they can rest assured that administrative procedures and operations will continue as usual,” he added at the time.

Benítez Cardona was arrested on December 9 – the same day that former Guanabo mayor ngel Pérez Otero was arrested – and was charged with three charges: bribery (obtaining illegal commissions), bribery and extortion. Conspiracy to commit fraud through

The corruption scheme for which Benítez Cardona was charged includes the waste collection and JR Asphalt companies, which were owned by Oscar Santamaria and Raymond Rodriguez respectively. Both have accepted the charges against them.

At the time, US Attorney General Stephen Muldrow said that Benitez Cardona was involved in a bribery pattern That included a payment agreement of $0.75 for 23,000 households so that their waste could be picked up by garbage collection. At the end of the month, the then Executive Assistant to the Municipality of Trujillo Alto received $17,250.

Radames Benítez, Special Assistant to the Mayor of Trujillo Alto, Jose Luis Cruz.
Radames Benítez, Special Assistant to the Mayor of Trujillo Alto, Jose Luis Cruz. (capture)

Since last April, Benítez Cardona has been considering pleading guilty to public corruption after receiving a motion from the federal prosecutor’s office in Puerto Rico, which was confirmed today, Tuesday, in his defense, Michael Corona, As he had not decided at the time, his lawyer Michael Corona requested more time and Judge Pedro Delgado allowed him until July 15 to announce his decision on whether he would go to trial.

With today’s announcement, Cruz Cruises joins the list of executives that have been prosecuted by federal officials for illegal enrichment schemes through one of the two companies mentioned.

Caetano’s former mayor, Felix “El Cano” Delgado, has already pleaded guilty, in relation to the JR Asphalt fraud scheme and another similar one from the waste collection company; Aguas Buenos, from Luis Arroyo Chicks; and Eduardo Cintron Suarez, from Guayama.

Meanwhile, Angel Perez Otero, former mayor of Guanabo; of Aguas Buenos Javier García Perez; and from Humacao Reynaldo “Ray” Vargas.

For his part, San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero has denied that he has reached any agreement with the owners of these companies.

To questions from the press, last May, the head of the federal prosecutor’s office in Puerto Rico, Stephen Muldrow, acknowledged that there were more mayors under investigation. When asked how many there are, he replied “enough.”

Similarly, one of JR Asphalt’s partners, Mario Villegas, was charged, who has until July 11 to inform whether he will plead guilty.

Nation World News Desk
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