Stockton's Mayor Anthony Silva was arrested Thursday morning in Amador County at a camp he runs for underprivileged children.
The Amador County District Attorney's Office says it has proof Silva held a strip poker game at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp and provided alcohol during the game to the players, who were all under 21 years old and were involved with the camp. One of them was a 16-year-old boy.
According to records at the Amador County Superior Court, the charges filed against Silva include eavesdropping and recording confidential communications, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a minor and cruelty to a child by endangering health.
D.A. Todd Riebe says Silva's actions endangered every child in the camp.
"Mr. Silva is responsible for the camp. It's referred to as "The Mayor's Youth Camp." Underneath him are the counselors that help run this camp make sure that the kids are safe and then there's the 75 children who are participating that the counselors are responsible for. The theory is the mayor compromised their availability to do that."
The district attorney's office says its investigation began July 26 of this year when the Federal Bureau of Investigation relayed evidence acquired through a search of Silva's cell phone.
That search found 23 photographs and four video clips taken at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp.
On the video, the D.A.'s office says the participants clearly indicate they did not want to be recorded.
According to Riebe, witnesses told investigators Silva has a history of recording people without asking.
"He's done this before allegedly. Included in the evidence submitted by the FBI, was a prior incident where Mayor Silva had already recorded a conversation with a Stockton city employee without his consent that turned out to be the Stockton city manager. On that occasion, he was admonished that you can't do that. So, he was on notice that that kind of conduct was potentially criminal. There was also another witness that came forward and stated that Mr. Silva had cameras installed in his bedroom and at the Stockton Kids Club."
The complaint against Silva alleges the crimes occurred Aug. 7 through Aug. 8 in 2015.
Agents from the FBI, San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office and Stockton Police Department participated in the arrest.
Silva is tentatively scheduled for a court appearance this afternoon. But, he is expected to make bail, which would negate a requirement to appear.
Mark Reichel, is Silva's lawyer and says his client will plead not guilty. He also says this investigation began shortly after the teenage strip poker game is alleged to have happened.
"The FBI seized this man's cell phone and his laptop and all of his electronic devices in September of last year -early September, I believe it was. They took them without a warrant. They took them without legal authority. I had to sue to get them all back. But, in the meantime, while they had them, they made copies of everything. They eventually gave them back and we dismissed the lawsuit. They took those copies and immediately began interviewing people and began investigating this exact case and they did it in Stockton and they did it all over. The FBI actually flew to the eastern side of this country to interview witnesses."
In a separate case, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office says Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is refusing to answer questions regarding a gun used in the killing of a 13-year-old boy last year. The mayor told police after the shooting that the gun had been stolen from his home.
San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himmelblau says investigators from his office tried to speak to Mayor Silva two weeks ago, but Silva wouldn’t cooperate.
Reichel says the District Attorney would not speak with his client without an attorney present.
Timeline of events:
Feb. 2015: A 13-year-old boy was shot to death.
March 2015: Mayor Anthony Silva reported his firearm missing.
Aug. 7 through Aug. 8, 2015: In an unrelated case, a criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney of Amador County alleges incidents that happened during this time. The complaint alleges Silva recorded confidential communications, contributed to the delinquency of a minor, furnished alcoholic beverages to six people under 21 years old and endangered the health of multiple minors.
June 2016: Silva's stolen gun was found during an unrelated domestic dispute. Investigators were able to link the gun to the shooting in Jan. 2015 and the murder on Feb. 2015.
Aug. 4, 2016: Silva was arrested on charges related to the Aug. 7 through 8 incidents.