Man charged with buying Texas school board votes with cocaine

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 23, 2014 5:29 PM

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A campaign manager working in the south Texas town of Donna has been charged with buying votes in a school board election by paying voters with cash and cocaine, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The indictment said Francisco Garcia, 47, who managed campaigns for four candidates for the Donna School Board in the November 2012 election, bought votes and worked with other campaign workers to pay voters by giving them either $10 or a small bag of cocaine if they voted for his slate.

Garcia was charged with conspiring to buy votes, paying for votes and aiding and abetting others to buy votes, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

A lawyer for Garcia was not immediately available for comment. Garcia was arrested this month and his indictment had been under seal.

Three of Garcia's campaign workers were arrested earlier this year and pleaded guilty to vote-buying charges in connection with the same election, prosecutors said.

Officials declined to identify the candidates Garcia worked for or whether they won the election.

(Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)