CRYSTAL CITY, Texas (AP) — A South Texas mayor under a federal corruption indictment resigned from office Friday after a recall petition was certified and he was arrested over a disturbance that disrupted a city council meeting.
In a letter of resignation submitted to the city clerk, Ricardo Lopez said his departure would take effect Friday afternoon.
"I appreciate the opportunities I have been given to be mayor of Crystal City. I wish all the citizens of Crystal City success in the future," his letter stated.
Lopez and two city council members are named in a federal public corruption indictment returned earlier this month. Another council member has been charged with human trafficking.
Lopez was led from a city council meeting in handcuffs late Tuesday night after an apparent scuffle ended the gathering in pandemonium. The meeting, which was to schedule a recall election for him and two council members, ended prematurely after the mayor's arrest cost the panel a quorum.
He was released from the Zavala County Jail the next day after posting a $12,000 bond. However, the rest of the Tuesday council meeting was postponed until Wednesday, then was canceled when Lopez didn't attend and the group again lacked a quorum. Upon his release from jail, Lopez told reporters that he would attend no more council meetings.
The incident led to charges against Lopez of resisting arrest, search or transport and having a prohibited substance in a correctional facility. Zavala county Sheriff Eusevio Salinas said that while booking Lopez, deputies discovered a forbidden substance on him. The sheriff said two tablets of what he believed to be the painkiller Vicodin were found in the mayor's pockets and weren't in their prescription bottle.
The recall effort launched last fall targeted Lopez, Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata and council member Marco Rodriguez. Lopez, Mata and council member Roel Mata were indicted earlier this month in a bribery and conspiracy investigation. Rodriguez was arrested last month on human smuggling charges.
That has left Joel Barajas as the only council member not under indictment.
The South Texas city of about 7,100 residents is about 115 miles southwest of San Antonio.