Former top FEMA officials who worked in Puerto Rico during the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria were arrested on Tuesday in a federal corruption investigation. The investigation centers around alleged bribes that secured a $1.8 billion contract to repair Puerto Rico’s damaged electrical grid.
Federal authorities arrested Ahsha Tribble, FEMA’s former deputy regional administrator, who worked in Puerto Rico after the storm, and Donald Keith Ellison, former president of energy company Cobra Acquisitions. Jovanda Patterson, who worked as Tribble’s chief of staff, was also arrested.
The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico on Tuesday, lists 15 counts of corruption against Tribble, Ellison and Patterson. They include charges against Tribble and Ellison of conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud and disaster fraud. Tribble was separately charged with Travel Act violations, while Ellison was separately charged with making false statements to federal agents.