- Terelle Jerricks
LOS ANGELES — Chicano activist Carlos Montes plead no contest, June 5, to perjury for failing to disclose he was convicted of a felony when he purchased a gun in 2010.
The 64-year-old Alhambra man was sentenced to three years probation, given credit for one day served in county jail, ordered to complete 180 hours of community service and told he could not posses any weapons.
In exchange for his plea, three remaining felony counts of perjury were dismissed. Montes, convicted of felony battery on a peace officer in 1969, signed both the Federal Firearms Transaction Record and the State Dealer’s Record of Sale certifying that he had never been convicted of a felony when he bought a 12-gauge shotgun on Nov. 16, 2010.
“This is really a pretext to attack me because of my activism,” Montes told the Uprising radio show, a day before his trial began on May 14. “Going back 42 years is ridiculous. The only reason this happened is because the FBI is investigating me and looked into my background.”
Montes said he was being charged with one count of felony with a gun, once count of felony with ammunition and two count of perjury related to the purchase of an old fashion handgun at a local sporting good store.
“They are alleging an (that there was an) old felony (in) 1969 at a Chicano student protest over Chicano studies,” Montes told the Uprising show. “That is not correct. The original charge was a misdemeanor. At most I have is a misdemeanor.
Montes, a civil rights activist since he was a teenager, was of the leaders that lead the Chicano Blowouts whereby students in East Los Angeles high schools walked out of class to protest racism and inequality in Los Angeles are high schools. He was also a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano working class youth organization that focused on community organizing against police brutality and advocated educational equality. The group was often compared to the Black Panther Party of the late 1960s and early 70s. The Brown Berets are still active today.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI initiated the case against Montes, whose home was raided May 17 by Los Angeles County Sheriffs and the FBI. Montes and his supporters believe the raid was politically motivated because of his activism. He said officers attempted to interrogate him in the police car. They asked him questions about his activism, and not the purchase of the handgun.
Montes has spoken out against wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and fought for immigrant rights. His home was raided soon after he founded the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
“I am vocal about my antiwar views, but I’m also anti-imperialist and I denounce the U.S. imperialism as the main cause of mass migration.