Los Angeles—Carlos Montes was targeted by the FBI and charged with six felony counts in 2011 for his long history of anti-war and Chicano rights activism since the 1970s. He was facing 18 years. After over a year of struggle—demonstrating, organizing and court hearings—the district attorney offered a plea bargain in which Carlos was to serve five years. They finally dropped all but one count—a felony perjury, to which Carlos pleaded “no contest” on June 5. He will serve three years formal probation and do community service. He will serve no prison time.
On May 17, 2011, at 5:00 AM, LA County Sheriff’s SWAT team along with FBI agents crashed his door and pointed guns to his head. They took his computers, guns and activism documents. They tried to interrogate him, but he asserted his Constitutional right to remain silent. His activism includes the 1975 Chicano moratorium mass protest against the Vietnam War in East Los Angeles, fighting for Chicano Studies in East Los Angeles College, protesting the U.S.’s wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, protests at the Republican Convention in ’08, organizing and demonstrating for immigrant rights, and demonstrating against the FBI’s raid on 23 activists in Chicago and Minneapolis on Sept. 24, 2010.
Carlos Montes considers the result a victory because the courts and mass media are slanted to get a conviction at a trial, especially against Black and Brown youths. Most judges are ex-prosecutors. The criminal court system is actually run in the interest of capital and not for the masses of people. Carlos Montes will continue to work for immigrant rights and other issues.