Drug Arrest Shines Light on Troubled History of Candidate for Sweetwater Commissioner

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(left) Mejia mugshot from a 2017 Collier county arrest (photo credit: Mugshots.com) (right) Mejia at a commission meeting in 2017 (photo credit City of Sweetwater Youtube)
  • Candidate for Sweetwater Commissioner Jose Mejia arrested in Collier county February 2017 on a drug charge
  • Mejia also arrested in 2008 for felony armed robbery and marijuana possession in 2013 in Miami Dade County
  • Driving history on Miami Dade County Clerk website shows 60 infractions with thousands owed in fines and a license suspension imminent

Sweetwater, FL – “Good evening Mayor, Commissioner Marono. My name’s Jose, Jose Mejia”, these were the first words spoken by the current candidate for Sweetwater commissioner almost one year ago during a July 11, 2016 public speech before the city commission, months before he filed for candidate in this year’s elections. The speech, the first of many throughout 2016 and early 2017 for the controversial resident, ended in scattered applause from the audience as he finished his nervous-tick-filled blasting of then-commissioner Jose M. Diaz and Vice-Mayor Jose Bergouignan for their “willful behavior detrimental to the city”.

Even after calling Diaz “incompetent” and using sarcasm considered rude by commissioners, many in the audience saw him as just a concerned resident venting his frustration at a commission.

It took one more meeting a week later for commissioners to see this was more than just a concerned citizen, this was someone with political hopes, seriously committed to investing unusual amounts of time and energy to research public information, attend meetings, and publicly attack elected officials.

A Questionable Past

Starting with a felony armed robbery charge in 2008, the 27 year-old self-proclaimed anti-corruption candidate known for his phrase “hasta cuando”, has a troubling past that¬†would surprise many who see him speaking during commission meetings, with charges as recently as February of this year, right in the middle of his campaign for commissioner.

According to a Collier county arrest report dated February 13, 2017, Jose Ernesto Mejia Reigada, also known as Jose Mejia, was driving westbound on I-75 in Collier county when a deputy noticed the tints on his 2014 Chevy Cruze were a little dark. After a traffic stop, the deputy noticed a strong smell of fragrance or air freshener emanating from the open driver side window, a smell which later also include a hint of marijuana. The report says a few moments later, Mejia admitted to police he had a marijuana cigarette in the car.

After searching Mejia’s vehicle, police opened the trunk and found two clear heat-sealed bags inside a gym bag and inside the heat-sealed bags was a green, leafy substance, which police would later confirm was indeed marijuana.

Mejia was then booked into jail at Naples, FL and charged with the following:

  • Possession of over 20 grams of marijuana
  • Possession with the intent to distribute marijuana
  • Possession of narcotic paraphernalia

The state case shows as “disposed” and one of the last items on the docket reports “deferred prosecution”. According to the deferred prosecution agreement, Mejia is now under probation and as part of his agreement must not be engaged in criminal activity, own or possess firearms, must report to the probation officer periodically, and must find employment. Failure to do so would result in the case being referred to the State Attorneys office for prosecution.

This would be Mejia’s second narcotics arrest in four years, and third arrest overall, with one arrest for marijuana possession on June 2013 in Miami Dade County, and a felony armed robbery charge in 2008, also in Miami Dade County.

Miami Dade County arrest record (click to view larger image)

This is perhaps the first time Sweetwater voters ever see someone with such a varied arrest record on the ballots.

Mejia has not commented on the arrests.

Driving Record Shows Habitual Offenses

Astonishingly, Mejia’s driving record on the Miami Dade Clerk of Courts website shows a staggering 60 infractions. The State of Florida Highway Safety website also shows Mejia’s license will be suspended by the end of this month for failure to pay a traffic fine.

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles page. Click to view larger image.

Election day is today, Tuesday, May 9, 2017 and Mejia is running against Jose Bergouignan, Jr and Marcos Villanueva for the group 2 commission seat.

Mejia has not commented on his plans after the election should he not get elected.

Watch Jose Mejia’s first-ever appearance before the city commission:

Watch Jose Mejia’s appearances before the commission:

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