Chicano Activist Carlos Montes Makes His Case in Anaheim Ahead of Next Court Date

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Montes
At the invitation of the Orange County Peace Coalition, longtime Chicano activist Carlos Montes spoke about the serious legal charges he now faces to an audience gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim. "I was really happy to be invited to share my issue and support their work," Montes says of the OCPC. "I was glad to see people in Orange County working and organizing against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

An original founding member of the Brown Berets and participating organizer of the famed East Los Angeles high school walkouts, Montes has more recently focused his attention on immigrant rights and denouncing ICE raids. On the morning of May 17, however, the activist himself was raided in Alhambra (where he makes his home) by a LA County Sheriff's SWAT team at the behest of the FBI.  

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Montes speaks on his case in Anaheim

At the beginning of his half-hour long speech, Montes invited those in attendance to come closer to where he was seated by a microphone. He began unraveling his ordeal by going back the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota where the veteran activist helped others organize protests. In September of last year, 23 activists in the Midwest were raided by the FBI, including members the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee. The group had been infiltrated from the inside and the search warrant listed Montes' name as an affiliate.

The activist described resulting searches and subpoenas as an effort to criminalize solidarity work with the "global south." The stated aims of the raids were to find evidence linking activists to providing material support for state-designated terrorist organizations in Colombia and Palestine. Montes spoke of his travels to Colombia, meeting with human rights activists, cultural workers, Afro-Colombian activists and trade-union members, but not members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He maintained that although he knew he could be next in receiving a rude awakening from the FBI, none of the activities of his political life were illegal.

That's when, Montes said, the raid found a pretext in his possession of three firearms. His house in Alhambra had been robbed and the activist latter purchased a gun in 2010. The veteran social justice advocate also had two other antique guns he collected years earlier. Authorities contend that a four-decade old felony for throwing an empty aluminum can at a police officer (described by Montes as an "alleged" incident) prohibited him from purchasing firearms and that he lied to obtain the weapons. The incident in question hearkens back to a demonstration at East Los Angeles College where students where demanding Chicano and Black studies.

If the bursting down of his door was solely related to possession of firearms, Montes found it curious than an FBI agent approached him after he had been taken into custody and inquired about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Still in his PJ's, he exercised his right not to answer any questions. Even more curious, then, was the ransacking and the confiscation of files, documents, a computer, and other materials related to his political activities (he's also a member of the Los Angeles Committee to Stop FBI Repression) throughout the years that he found when he made bail and returned home.

Montes, 63, faces considerable jail time on six felony charges--four for perjury, even though there are only three firearms and three applications in question, he says. His next day in court is tomorrow, where evidence will be presented and the activist's legal team will have the opportunity to challenge them.

"This is just one step in the fight against this FBI, police attack," Montes tells me. "We expect a lot of supporters there packing the courtroom." At a meeting held directly after the speech, the Orange County Peace Coalition voted to lend a helping hand in providing an honorarium for his legal fund.
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10 comments
donotelectperry
donotelectperry

Our rights as Americans are disappearing in front of our eyes.  We used to be able to travel freely and speak our minds. No more. Our government and the law enforcement/prision industrial complex in this country are destroying those rights. A 63 year old man who disagrees with our foreign policy now has 6 felony charges against him and faces many years in jail. His real crime is allegedly throwing an empty beer can at a police officer when he was 23 years old. Now that he bought a fire arm to protect himself from robbers breaking in his home he is in big trouble. My father is very old and full German. When we speaks of things happening in the country today he will often say to me "You know that happened in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. They infiltrated groups who were against policy and arrested and jailed them. As time went on more and more types of people experienced the same fate". Some would tell me that it could never get that bad in "the land of the free". I disagree. All it takes is the accusation against you or I that we may have "terrorist" affiliation and we will be in Carlos Montes position. Remember what my father said.  

Robertayalasr
Robertayalasr

This piece of shit has been been puking his crap  since he  got off on his brown bonnet!  Ask him why he took it off when us who didn't agree threatened to kick his ass!. How come he sold out and became one of the establishment? He won't answer that, except for more buushit. he is a phony who hid behind the crowd during the ELAC walkouts and threw soda cans at the cops. HE SURE AIN"T NO MLK or CESAR CHAVEZ!!! To be sre, the Chicanos  in those days tolerated him, but sure as hell didn't like him!! SOPLA, and he still does! Sorry bout the grammaticals, but he burns my butt!@twitter-69085151:disqus 

Flowergrrlla
Flowergrrlla

It was an educational meeting. The charges against Carlos are flimsy at best and are the kind of hits the FBI drops on those who are working to change the inequities many in our society face; in fact, the 99% of us.

Bravo Carlos for you courage and conviction. It is those like Carlos who represent anything worthwhile in a (wanna be) democracy.

Wonderful  article, too!

Adam Torres
Adam Torres

I wonder if the NRA has offered legal assistance?

mitch young
mitch young

"That's when, Montes said, the raid found a pretext in his possession of three firearms. "

Watch out, Calvito!  You're next.

mitch young
mitch young

Kinda like when they set up Randy Weaver, huh?

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Does Gus have a felony on his record?  I always thought he was all talk. 

mitch young
mitch young

Well, he'll neither confirm nor deny. There is a 'Gustavo Arellano" with several convictions against him that certainly work chronologically and place-wise. The dude is listed as 200 lbs though-- I don't think Arellano is that cacheton.

909Jeff
909Jeff

True... I posted the exact charges and asked him about it, he wont respond.  I agree with Mitch though that its highly improbable judging by the picture of him over here; 

 http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stic...

I think its still fun to believe that our beloved Pinata is a felon though because the charges and convictions are real good ones!

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