FBI: Level of corruption 'startling' in Crystal City

Six arrested in FBI corruption investigation

CRYSTAL CITY -- Five current and former Crystal City officials and one Texas businessman have been arrested on federal bribery charges detailed in a 14-page indictment which was unsealed on Thursday.

The arrested members included Crystal City Manager and Attorney William James Jonas, III, Mayor Ricardo Lopez, Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata, Councilman Roel Mata, former Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo, and Ngoc Tri Nguyen, of Keller, TX.

The multi-agency investigation shut down City Hall in Crystal City Thursday, according to Special Agent Michelle Lee with the FBI. Business at City Hall was expected to resume on Friday.

According to the indictment, Crystal City officials were taking and asking for bribes in exchange for votes in city contracts, including voting favorably to get city contacts, waive tax payments and conduct certain inspections.

"The breadth of the corruption was startling," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. "Almost every facet of the government in Crystal City had elements of corruption in it."

The FBI was seen in San Antonio Thursday morning, carrying files and boxes out of the Jonas' Quarry apartment that doubled as a law office.

Jonas, Urrabazo, Lopez and Roel Mata were all released on $50,000 unsecured bond following court appearances Thursday. Rogelio Mata was denied bond due to a previous charge for DWI and will appear in court again in Del Rio on February 10 for a detention hearing. Nguyen was scheduled to appear in court in Fort Worth on Thursday.

All of the elected officials remain in office for the time being. Crystal City residents will be holding court proceedings on Tuesday in an attempt to recall some city council members.


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