Alhambra resident Carlos Montes, a prominent activist during the Chicano movement in the 60s, is profiled in this month's issue of Los Angeles Magazine. Last May, the FBI and local law enforcement raided Montes' Alhambra home and arrested him on gun possession charges. He currently faces up to 22 years in prison for possessing an unregistered firearm with a past felony conviction.
A month after Montes' arrest, he spoke with the Alhambra Source about why he thinks the FBI is targeting activists such as him (he alleged that it involves his work with Palestine and Colombia). Montes, who moved to Alhambra for a tranquil lifestyle, said he no longer felt safe in his own home after the raid. "[My neighbors] saw this whole thing and their neighborhood was disrupted," he said.
The author of the Los Angeles Magazine article, Ben Ehrenreich, shares more in an interview about Montes’ use of traditional, grassroots activism in the 21st century, and about the gun possession charges, which the writer finds suspect. “I think it’s safe to say that the sheriff’s department doesn’t normally pursue allegations of illegal weapons possession with anything close to this degree of vigor,” says Ehrenreich. In the profile, he claims that Montes became a convicted felon for “throwing a soda can at a deputy when police broke up a 1969 demonstration."
Montes was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano rights group that sought an end to police brutality and classroom inequality. In 1968 he was a catalyst for the school walkouts in East Los Angeles. He is still prevalent in today’s rights movements; he recently participated in protests held against a police-shooting incident in Monterey Park.