Montebello councilwoman's husband pleads guilty in drug case

Montebello councilwoman's husband pleads guilty in drug case
Montebello City Councilwoman Christina Cortez, shown in 2011. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The husband of a Montebello councilwoman who was charged with selling methamphetamine near a school pleaded guilty Thursday.

Ruben Guerrero, 44, entered his plea to one count of possession for sale of a controlled substance and admitted to the allegation that the crime took place within 1,000 feet of a school, prosecutors say.

The case was another blow to a city that has weathered recall elections, an FBI investigation and the brink of bankruptcy.

Guerrero was arrested Oct. 17, 2013, by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies as he was leaving his home, which he owns with Montebello Councilwoman Christina Cortez. Cortez declined to comment.


Authorities alleged Guerrero sold drugs to a detective in audio- and video-recorded transactions in a parking lot across from Montebello Intermediate School, not far from his home.

The incidents occurred three times last year between Sept. 26 and Oct. 15, prosecutors said.

After Guerrero's arrest, a search warrant was served at his home in the 1500 block of Los Angeles Avenue. Cortez, who was mayor at the time, told The Times she was home when the warrants were served.

Another search warrant was served at a property next door that Cortez said belonged to her 89-year-old grandmother. 
Authorities said Guerrero was the only one in either household implicated in the drug sales.
At the time, Cortez said she was disappointed and shocked by the arrest. 
“As a mother, as a daughter and as an elected official, I have supported the education of understanding the dangers of drugs. Today’s events will not change that," she was quoted saying then.

Last November, Guerrero pleaded not guilty to three felony counts each of possessing a controlled substance for sale and the sale or transportation of a controlled substance.

But on Thursday, he agreed to plead to one of those counts. He was booked following the hearing.

Prosecutors say he is scheduled to be sentenced May 23 to 180 days in county jail, 30 days of Caltrans work and five years of probation.