Grand jury indicts two officials associated with Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua

Essex County prosecutors say that a grand jury has returned indictments against two officials associated with controversial Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua.

Deputy Police Chief Melix Bonilla and former chief of staff Lenny Degnan will face political corruption charges, including conspiracy, solicitation of a bribe, and extortion or attempted extotion, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office said.

“The crimes alleged by these indictments represent a serious breach of the public trust,” Blodgett said.

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Blodgett also said the indictments are the culmination of a lengthy and ongoing investigation conducted with cooperation from the US attorney’s office, the state inspector general, and the State Police.

The five indictments say that Degnan, operating as Lantigua’s chief of staff, compelled an official at a trash disposal company in Lawrence to donate a trash truck to a town located in the Dominican Republic.

The indictments also allege that Bonilla “fraudulently transferred ownership of 13 motor vehicles that belonged to the Lawrence Police Department to an automotive sales agency with a close affiliation to Lantigua.”

Reached this afternoon by phone, Degnan declined to comment. Bonilla could not be immediately reached for comment.

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