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Montebello Mayor’s Husband Pleads Not Guilty To Drug Charges

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Ruben Guerrero (left), pictured here with Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez, was arrested on drug charges in October. (credit: City of Montebello)

Ruben Guerrero (left), pictured here with Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez, was arrested on drug charges in October. (credit: City of Montebello)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The husband of Montebello’s mayor pleaded not guilty Monday to a half-dozen felony drug-related charges after allegedly selling methamphetamine to an undercover sheriff’s detective near a school.

Ruben Guerrero, 44, is charged with three counts each of possession for sale of methamphetamine and sale or transportation of the drug. Guerrero also pleaded not guilty to being in possession of meth within 1,000 feet of Montebello Intermediate School.

The alleged crimes happened on Sept. 26, Oct. 2 and Oct. 15, according to prosecutors. Guerrero was arrested on Oct. 17 as he left his home and later posted $60,000 bail.

Sheriff’s department officials say they captured audio and video recordings of the transactions.

Defense attorney Richard Leonard said he was waiting for copies of the audio and videotapes from prosecutors and expects “a lot more discovery” before both sides are ready for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for Guerrero to stand trial. He also said he didn’t think the allegation about selling drugs around a middle school was credible.

“I think that’s hard to believe,” the defense attorney said.

Montebello Mayor Christina Cortez sat in court Monday, waiting for her husband’s case to be called, but left before his plea was entered. Leonard said Cortez was supportive of her husband.

“She’s still with him. She still supports him,” Leonard said, adding that the mayor “wants him to go to trial and to be found not guilty.”

Guerrero is scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 15, when a preliminary hearing date is scheduled to be set.

If convicted, Guerrero faces up to 11 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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