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FBI arrests mayors of Miami Lakes & Sweetwater

Posted By VERONICA LINARES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 7, 2013 at 7:35 AM  |  Updated Aug. 7, 2013 at 7:55 AM   |   Comments

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested the mayors of Miami Lakes and Sweetwater Tuesday on bribery charges.

The arrests were made after it became known that both officials had accepted thousands of dollars in bribes. The schemes will be tried separately and involve different people, CBS4 reported.

Mayor Michael Pizzi, 51, of Miami Lakes, and Mayor Manuel Maroño, 41, of Sweetwater, were taken into custody at their respective city hall offices and appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon where they were charged with conspiracy to commit extortion.

Pizzi's bond was set at $100,000 while Maroño's was set at $250,000. The two officials made bail and were released from federal custody on Tuesday evening.

"This is a sad day for South Florida, this betrayal of our public trust is intolerable," U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said. "Our democracy suffers in these cases when elected officials use their power and political influence for personal gain instead of the public good."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he had suspended both mayors following the arrests.

"This has nothing to do with the city. I’ve done nothing wrong,” said Maroño as he walked out of the federal courthouse.“

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