Ex-Aguas Buenas mayor pleads guilty in waste collection bribery scheme
By John McPhaul
The former mayor of Aguas Buenas, Luis Arroyo Chiqués, pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a bribery scheme in which he received cash payments in exchange for awarding a 10-year municipal contract for waste collection services, federal authorities said.
Arroyo Chiqués, 56, was the mayor and highest-ranking government official in the municipality of Aguas Buenas from 2005 to 2016. In 2016, he negotiated a waste collection contract for what federal authorities called “Company A.”
In exchange for the 10-year waste collection contract, Arroyo Chiqués received a monthly bribe payment of $5,000. This payment was made in cash every month starting in 2016 and continued even after Arroyo Chiqués left office in December 2016. The last payment occurred in June of this year.
Arroyo Chiqués pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a bribery scheme. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other legal factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, William Stephen Muldrow, U.S. attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph González of the FBI Field Office in San Juan all announced the plea agreement.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Cannon and Scott Anderson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, as well as the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, are prosecuting the case.
Reacting to the news of Arroyo Chiqués’ guilty plea on Thursday, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said: “Receiving payments in exchange for official acts is an obvious crime at both the state and federal levels.”
“As I have said before, any public official who has engaged in this type of conduct must go to the authorities, assume responsibility and cooperate so that any other person who has to respond, responds,” the governor said.