Montebello mayor’s husband allegedly sold meth to undercover cop

By Samantha Schaefer and Richard Winton

The husband of Montebello’s mayor allegedly sold methamphetamine more than once to an undercover sheriff’s detective, authorities revealed Thursday, the same day he was charged with six felony drug counts.

Ruben Guerrero, 44, allegedly sold the meth to an undercover detective who audio- and video-recorded the transactions in a parking lot across from Montebello Intermediate School, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The sales allegedly took place Sept. 26, Oct. 2 and Oct. 15, prosecutors said.

Guerrero, the husband of Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez, is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 7 on three felony counts each of posession for sale of a controlled substance and sale or transportation of a controlled substance, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

He was arrested Oct. 17 as he was leaving his home in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in state prison. He is currently out on $60,000 bail.

In an interview with The Times after the arrest, 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.

Law enforcement sources said the Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigation began a little more than a month prior to the arrest, when the department received information from Montebello police that Guerrero was suspected of selling meth.

Guerrero was said to be using his home, which he shared with Cortez, 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. 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.

Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer

Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times


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