Ex-interim mayor in Puerto Rico pleads guilty to corruption

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A former interim mayor in Puerto Rico pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a bribery conspiracy just weeks after the ex-mayor he replaced pleaded guilty in the same case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ramón Conde Meléndez, who also once served as director of public works for the southern town of Guayama, received cash in exchange for certifying the completion of asphalt projects.

Authorities said Conde received kickback payments from the owner of an asphalt and paving company equaling about $1 for every square meter of asphalt removed, for a total of more than $15,000. The owner’s identity was not released.

It was not immediately clear if Conde had an attorney.

In late April, former Guayama Mayor Eduardo Cintrón pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for awarding contracts and approving invoice payments for the asphalt projects. Authorities said the kickback scheme operated for eight years.

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