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Carlos Montes pleads ‘Not guilty,’ supporters pack courtroom

By staff |
July 8, 2011
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Protest in solidarity with Carlos Montes
Protest in solidarity with Carlos Montes (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Picket demands "Drop the Charges against Carlos Montes."
Picket demands "Drop the Charges against Carlos Montes."

Los Angeles, CA – Supporters of veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes gathered on July 6 at the Alhambra courthouse in East Los Angeles. Montes appeared in court to enter a plea of not guilty to six felony charges that were filed after a SWAT team and FBI agents raided his home on May 17. More than 60 people came out to picket and rally in his defense at the court and packed the courtroom during the hearing.

“I have done nothing wrong and have entered a plea of not guilty. I am going to fight this all the way,” stated Montes.

"Make no mistake," said Mick Kelly, one of the Minnesota anti-war activists targeted by the FBI after September 2010 raids, said outside of the courthouse. "This case is one and the same with ours." He went on to denounce the FBI's pretext of trumped-up firearm charges to get into Montes' home.

Ron Gochez, an organizer with the Southern California Immigration Coalition, said that an attack on Carlos was an attack on the entire immigrant rights movement of Southern California. "We might be in their courthouse today," he said, "but they are on our land! We will not be silent. We will not let them criminalize us."

In court, Montes' lawyer, Jorge Gonzalez, requested the return of all seized property in the raid. The next hearing is scheduled for Aug. 12, at the downtown Los Angeles criminal court.

The Pasadena Star-News coverage of the protest included another confirmation that the FBI was behind the raid. The article stated, “Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Miguel Mejia said Montes was booked in East Los Angeles, but the investigation into his activities was led by either the Sheriff's terrorist unit or the emergency operations bureau, working with the FBI. ‘It was an FBI action as I recall,’ said Sgt. Jim Sully. ‘We assisted them.’”

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