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2 plead guilty to bribing Vallejo city official after illegal marijuana grow found




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VALLEJO – Two Bay Area men were convicted on federal charges Thursday, admitting to bribing a Vallejo city official after their illegal marijuana growing operation was found, prosecutors said.


According to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert's office, 41-year-old Steven Chu of San Bruno and 36-year-old Ben Guan of San Francisco pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.


Court documents said the pair were running a growing operation inside a building when they were notified about violating "multiple laws" in July 2020. The violations included city codes related to illegal drug activity.


"Subsequently, Chu and Guan offered to pay and then paid a Vallejo building inspector to clear the violations and ensure the city would not interfere with their operation," the U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement.


According to prosecutors, Chu and Guan paid the inspector at least six times, with payments totaling $27,000. The building inspector was working with law enforcement to record meetings with the pair.


Chu and Guan face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Prosecutors said the pair are scheduled to be sentenced on May 2.

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