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Costa Mesa police investigating drug incident involving West Covina mayor

Costa Mesa police investigating drug incident involving West Covina mayor
Costa Mesa police said they are investigating an incident involving West Covina Mayor Michael Spence. (Courtesy of city of West Covina)

Costa Mesa police said they are investigating an incident involving the mayor of West Covina after officers alleged they found "controlled substance items" at a Costa Mesa hotel this month.

Officers responding to a medical-aid call in the 2000 block of Newport Boulevard shortly after midnight May 4 found two people, one of whom was West Covina Mayor Michael Herman Spence, 51, police said.

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Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad said Tuesday that officers found controlled substance items at the scene, but authorities did not elaborate.

No one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

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"Since this is an active police investigation to be submitted to the Orange County district attorney, we are not going to release any further information at this time," Fyad said.

Spence, who was elected to the West Covina City Council in 2013, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Monday that he has not abused any drugs or alcohol since he was cited on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2016.

He declined to discuss the May 4 incident when reached by email Tuesday but offered a brief statement saying, "I don't want the negative reaction to my addiction to prevent people from calling 911 or seeking treatment."

West Covina City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow declined to comment Tuesday.

Spence, who was appointed mayor — a largely ceremonial role — last year, told the Tribune that in early May he had been riding public transportation to the California Republican Party Convention in San Diego and spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Costa Mesa.

He returned to his room from dinner and was preparing to exercise at the hotel gym when he fell unconscious. He woke up surrounded by people and was taken to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, according to the paper.

Spence pleaded guilty in 2016 to a misdemeanor DUI charge stemming from a crash in June that year that put him in a hospital with serious injuries. Authorities said he had methamphetamine in his system when his rental car slammed into a utility pole.

He was sentenced in December 2016 to three years' probation and was ordered to complete a three-month alcohol and drug education program, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

Since the 2016 incident, Spence has spoken openly about his issues with alcohol and drugs, according to published reports.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Brittny Mejia contributed to this report.

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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