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Drug-dealing charges to be filed against husband of Montebello mayor

October 21, 2013|By Ruben Vives, Kate Mather and Richard Winton

The husband of Montebello’s mayor is expected to be charged Monday morning with selling methamphetamine near a school.

Ruben Guerrero, who is out after posting $60,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on suspicion of operating as a small-time drug dealer out of the family’s home.

Guerrero, 44, is the husband of Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez.

In an interview with The Times, Cortez said she was "very disappointed and, like everyone else, shocked."

Cortez urged “everyone and the public to let this investigation take its course."

"As a mother, as a daughter and as an elected official, I have supported the education of understanding the dangers of drugs. [Thursday's] events will not change that," she added.

Guerrero was arrested last week as he was leaving the couple's home in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue. Investigators said Guerrero had been spotted selling illegal drugs near Montebello Intermediate School, not far from his home.

Law enforcement sources said the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigation began a little more than a month ago when the department received information from Montebello police that Guerrero was suspected of selling meth.

Guerrero was said to be using his home as a base of operations and was described as a small-time dealer, the sources said.

Cortez said she was home with her children when the search warrant was served.

Authorities also served a search warrant at a house where the mayor said her 89-year-old grandmother lived. Cortez said it was unfortunate the events were linked to her grandmother's home.

Detectives did not reveal whether any narcotics were recovered during the search. Authorities said Guerrero was the only one in either household implicated in the sales of drugs.

This is not the first time Guerrero has had a run-in with the law. In November 1999, he was convicted of driving under the influence.

Last year, arson investigators with the Montebello Fire Department investigated a "suspicious" fire that burned Cortez's Chevrolet Suburban. Cortez said the vehicle damaged in the early morning fire on Sept. 28, 2012, was driven mostly by her husband, the Whittier Daily News reported.

This year, Montebello Councilman Frank Gomez sought a restraining order against Guerrero, saying the mayor's husband had made threats -- once through voicemail and once at a council meeting. The restraining order was denied in January, court records show.

Montebello Police Chief Kevin McClure said the current investigation is being handled by the Sheriff's Department. "We will have to wait and see what the facts are," he said.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

kate.mather@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

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