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Bar operator who admitted bribing Summit officials gets 18 months in drug case

Mariano “Mario” Martinez has ties to the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval and Ald. Edward M. Burke through Rudy Acosta Sr., who was charged in March with concealing material information from the FBI. 

Mariano “Mario” Martinez leaves federal court in Chicago after pleading guilty in 2019 to a heroin charge and admitting in his plea agreement to bribing two Summit officials.
Mariano “Mario” Martinez leaves federal court in Chicago after pleading guilty in 2019 to a heroin charge and admitting in his plea agreement to bribing two Summit officials.
Robert Herguth/Sun-Times file

A federal judge handed an 18-month prison sentence Tuesday to a man who pleaded guilty in 2019 to a drug crime — but who also admitted he gave more than $6,500 in bribes to public officials in Summit.

Mariano “Mario” Martinez, 52, agreed when he pleaded guilty to cooperate with federal prosecutors. And on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Erskine told U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly that Martinez’s work with the feds had been “fruitful so far.”

Erskine, who recommended a 21-month sentence, said he disclosed the details of Martinez’s cooperation to the judge in a document filed under seal.

Before the judge handed him his sentence for a drug conspiracy, Martinez said he learned after his arrest that he had to change his way of thinking.

“I truly am sorry and remorseful for my actions that have got me here,” Martinez said. “And I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Martinez, who ran Mars Bar in Summit as well as an adjacent car wash, has ties to the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval and Ald. Edward M. Burke through Rudy Acosta Sr., who was charged in March with concealing material information from the FBI.

Acosta pleaded guilty in April and also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Martinez acknowledged in his 2019 plea agreement he gave bribes totaling more than $6,500 to public officials, including an elected official, since 2014. On March 31, 2017, he had a discussion by phone with “Summit Official B” about getting “Summit Official A” to use his official position to assist Martinez with one of his businesses.

Martinez also provided benefits to the two unnamed officials to gain their support, according to the plea agreement.