- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - Lawrence’s former deputy police chief has been acquitted of charges that he was involved in a scheme to sell city-owned cars to a dealer with ties to the former mayor.

The Eagle-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1xAMi90 ) reports that Melix Bonilla sobbed in Salem Superior Court on Tuesday when he was found not guilty of extortion, fraud and violation of the state’s procurement law.

Prosecutors say he swapped 13 vehicles the city seized in drug busts to a car dealer with close ties to ex-Mayor William Lantigua. The state Inspector General said the deal cost the city tens of thousands of dollars.

Bonilla had faced up to 15 years in state prison if convicted of extortion, the most serious charge remaining.

Bonilla said he was “happy” as he left court.


Information from: Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), https://www.eagletribune.com

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