Long time Chicano activist Carlos Montes faces a trial that begins tomorrow, May 15th, charged with four felonies involving the purchase of a gun. Judge George Lomeli ordered the trial in late April, after dismissing two charges. If convicted Montes could face up to 12 years in prison. The case against him was apparently initiated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI. Carlos Montes’ home was raided almost exactly a year ago, on May 17th 2011, by the LA Sheriffs Department in conjunction with the FBI. He and his supporters firmly believe that the charges are spurious and are singling him out for his activism against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Montes is well known among local activists for his work on immigrant rights as a founding member of the Southern California Immigration Coalition. He has also be very active in anti-war protests and was instrumental in organizing at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota. In fact, his arrest and subsequent charges appear to be linked to the arrests of several other organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis in 2010. Montes founded the Committee to Stop FBI Repression soon before his own home was raided.
While his case has received almost no coverage in the mainstream media, activists around the country are paying close attention. A national campaign is underway to urge Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley to drop all charges against Montes (Steve Cooley’s number is 213-974-3512).
GUEST: Carlos Montes now joins us on the phone a day before his trial begins
Carlos Montes’ trial begins on Tuesday May 15th at 8 am. There will be a rally at the Criminal Courts, 210 W. Temple in downtown Los Angeles. Visit www.stopfbila.net for more information.