Jesse Gandara was responsible for hatching a scheme to try to annex the commerce portion of San Elizario and was found guilty of trying to bribe the Licon family into publicly supporting the annexation in exchange for $40,000 in advertising and $40,000 in a weekend event at their dairy.
Gandara is currently awaiting sentencing. The jury deliberated for just over and hour.
Gandara had no reaction when he was found guilty.
During the sentencing phase several prominent people were going to testify including former Socorro City Manager Manny Soto, Socorro City Rep Gloria Rodriguez, and others were called that weren't present including Roberto Lerma and Socorro City Rep Anthony Gandara.
Gandara's mother, spouse, and daughter all testified during the sentencing phase.
During the closing arguments David a Contreras, attorney for Jesse Gandara, used the word "bullshit" more than a dozen times. It felt like more times that it's used in the song "Cotton-Eyed Joe".
The prosecutor responded by saying "when the facts are on your side you pound the facts. When the law is on your side you pound the law. When neither are on your side you pound the table and yell 'bullshit'".
The jury returned with a verdict quickly.
"The guilty verdict in Mr. Gandaras trial allows Socorro to close a chapter in our troubled past. The people of Socorro deserve a government that is transparent, open, and its members comply with all aspects of the law. We have worked towards this goal for the past two years and we will continue to build on the progress that we have made." Said Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz.
Mayor Maya Sanchez added, "Today is a celebration for San Elizario and our focus is moving our city forward. But I'm also proud of our citizens, the Licon family. Their bravery in standing up for justice is an example to all and because of their actions, the City of Socorro is celebrating a victory today as well."
The grand opening event held just about an hour after the verdict and the mood was very upbeat at the event. The people of San Eli all were pleased with the verdict and felt like justice had finally been done.
Every mayor in the county showed up to the event except Mayor Leeser.