Montebello Mayor’s Husband Pleads Not Guilty to Drug Charges

By City News Service

The husband of Montebello’s mayor pleaded not guilty today to a half-dozen felony drug-related charges stemming from alleged sales of methamphetamine to an undercover sheriff’s detective.

Ruben Guerrero, who’s charged with three counts each of possession for sale of methamphetamine and sale or transportation of the drug, also denied an allegation that he was in possession of the meth within 1,000 feet of Montebello Intermediate School.

Prosecutors allege that the crimes occurred Sept. 26, Oct. 2 and Oct. 15. Guerrero was arrested Oct. 17 as he left his home and freed later that day on $60,000 bail.

Audio and video recordings of the alleged transactions were captured by sheriff’s investigators, according to the sheriff’s department.

Defense attorney Richard Leonard said he was waiting for copies of the audio and videotapes from prosecutors and expects “a lot more discovery” before both sides are ready for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for his client to stand trial.

Leonard said he didn’t think the allegation about selling drugs around a middle school was credible.

“I think that’s hard to believe,” the defense attorney said.

Christina Cortez sat in court today, waiting for her 44-year-old husband’s case to be called, but left before he entered his plea.

Leonard said Cortez was supportive of her husband. “She’s still with him. She still supports him,” Leonard said, adding that the mayor “wants him to go to trial and to be found not guilty.”

Cortez recently told EGP she wants people to allow the investigation to proceed before rushing to judgment. The mayor, though not charged with any crime, has come under harsh criticism during recent city council meetings, with some residents calling for her resignation, which she has refused to do.

Guerrero is due back in court on Jan. 15, when a preliminary hearing date is scheduled to be set.

If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

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November 25, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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