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Sheriff's deputies raid home of Montebello mayor

October 17, 2013|By Ruben Vives
  • Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez in 2011.
Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez in 2011. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Armed with a search warrant, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies raided the home of Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez early Thursday.

The department did not have immediate details other than deputies had served a search warrant about 7:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue, the same street where the mayor’s home is located, according to voting records.  

According to Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the department, the warrant that was served is not focused on the mayor. He did not disclose further details.

Montebello city officials said they had no immediate comment about the incident.

Last year, arson officials with the Montebello Fire Department investigated a “suspicious” fire that torched the then-councilwoman’s family Suburban, the Whittier Daily News reported.

Cortez told the newspaper the vehicle damaged in the early morning fire on Sept. 28, 2012, was mostly driven by her husband, Ruben Guerrero.

This year, Montebello Councilman Frank Gomez sought a restraining order against Guerrero, alleging he twice threatened him, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. The paper said Gomez filed two reports with the Montebello Police Department alleging Guerrero threatened him in June 2012 and again at a Nov. 28, 2012, council meeting.

In the June incident, Guerrero allegedly left a voicemail on Gomez's fiancé’s phone saying the councilman had "crossed the line" after a dispute at a city function, the newspaper reported. The newspaper cited police reports and a recording Gomez provided to the City Council this year.

"You tell him that I'm going to kick his [expletive] when I see him," Guerrero allegedly said. "He's crossed the line, tell Frank that I'm looking for him."

The second incident occurred at a Nov. 28, 2012 council meeting, the newspaper reported, when Gomez argued Cortez should not be sworn in as mayor. Citing a tape of the meeting and police reports, the newspaper said Guerrero then told Gomez to “pick on my wife in front of me and see what happens.”

Guerrero did "not deny making the statements," the newspaper reported.

"Frank Gomez has been disrespecting my wife for the last two years," Guerrero said. "It's personal to me because it's my wife and the mother of my children. I don't deny it, but I was angry."

The cases were investigated by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and Sheriff's Department, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune said. The results of those investigations were not immediately known Thursday.

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Twitter: @latvives

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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