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How a Tiny Texas Town Took Down its City Council (Audio)

Earlier this year, Crystal City's Popeye statue had a front-row seat to a citywide purge. 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.

by Ike Sriskandarajah
A statue of Popeye the Sailor stands at the front of the Crystal City City Hall. The struggling South Texas town calls itself the "Spinach capital of the world."

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.

Listen to the story from Reveal. 

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 ike@cironline.org.

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