Progreso Mayor Omar Vela pleads guilty in bribery scandal

Jesus Bustos // File Photo

Progreso Mayor Omar Vela has pleaded guilty to his role in the "Pay To Play" bribery scandal that ended with his brother, their father and a local architect also facing charges.

Vela appeared before U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner in Houston on Wednesday afternoon.

The 36-year-old mayor pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery admitting to participating in the public corruption scheme from 2004 to 2013.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Vela, his school board president brother and their transportation director father all solicited and accepted bribes to award Progreso ISD contracts.

Among those named in the scandal is McAllen-based architect Jesus Bustos, who accused of using bribery to get a contracto to build the school district multi-million dollar performing arts center.

According to the plea agreement, the Velas are believed to have received more than $300,000 in bribe payments.

Sentencing for Mayor Vela is set for July 25th before Judge Hittner in Houston where he could face up to 10 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Vela's brother Michael Vela is expected to plead guilty on Friday while their father is expected to plead guilty next Wednesday.