Crystal City is a quaint South Texas town of about 7,500 people.
Its most famous resident is a cartoon sailor with a corncob pipe, one good eye and a fearsome right hook. Popeye is the official mascot of Crystal City, the self-proclaimed “spinach capital of the world.” And earlier this year, the life-size Popeye statue in front of City Hall had a front-row seat to a citywide purge.
In February, scores of FBI agents stormed the tiny City Hall and arrested most of the city’s leaders in connection with a bribery and kickback scheme.
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This story was produced by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at revealnews.org and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at revealnews.org/podcast. Ike Sriskandarajah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.