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Pico Rivera Councilman David Armenta Used Influence to Initiate Arrest, Family Alleges

Family member faces four life sentences; alleged victim has been arrested more than 100 times and is in an Arizona jail serving a 7-25 year sentence.

By Brian Hews, Pete Parker, and Brian Hews

 

George Karavalos & Robin Cordova

George Karavalos & Robin Cordova. Karavalos was arrested for  Aggravated Mayhem, Torture, Kidnapping for Ransom, Gang Enhancement, and Criminal Threats.

(Pico Rivera, CA)  Family, friends and community members are questioning if a jailed Pico Rivera man deserves to be facing four life sentences for a crime they contend he did not commit, alleging that David Armenta, an elected member of the Pico Rivera City Council, was heavily involved in a behind the scenes influence scheme to “manipulate” deputies and “distort facts” to have him arrested by the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Department.

George Karavolos, age 38, has been locked away in the LA County Men’s Central Jail since May 23, 2012, with a $4 million bail hanging over his head.

He was arrested in a bizarre alleged kidnapping scheme that law enforcement officials are saying was carried out by members of a Pico Rivera street gang.

On May 18, 2012, career criminal Andrew Jones was caught in the act of committing a burglary in the city of Montebello.  Following his arrest, Jones alleges that someone named “Doug” from Pico Rivera “kidnapped him”, “tortured him” and “forced him” to commit the crime against his will.

The case was transferred to the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s and soon thereafter Karavalos was arrested and booked in Pico Rivera.

Karavalos is being accused of Extortion, Aggravated Mayhem, Torture, Kidnapping for Ransom, Gang Enhancement, and Criminal Threats against the alleged victim Andrew Jones.

Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper has spent nearly 100 hours interviewing sources for this investigative series during the past several weeks.

Family and close friends of Karavalos are adamant saying that he is “100 percent innocent” and that the details surrounding the case “did not take place, period.”

Karavolos and two other alleged accomplices Francisco Xavier Barraza, 33, Alfonso Eric Acuna, 32, are classified by LA County Sheriff’s Department members as being part of the “Rivera 13 Gang.”

Assistant District Attorney Brock Harvey Lunsford, assigned to prosecute felony cases, and the Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Department, are prosecuting Karavolos, and are well aware that the alleged victim Jones has a rap sheet that consists of over 100 arrests.

Andrew Jones partial arrest record

Andrew Jones partial arrest record

 

Armenta arrested in 1994 for stalking Karavalos

In 1993 Karavolos met and developed an intimate relationship with Pico Rivera resident Robin Cordova. The two had a vast age difference between them; Karavolos was 18 and Cordova had just turned 40.

Prior to her relationship with Karavolos, Cordova was married to the current Pico Rivera City Councilman David Armenta.  The relationship between the two soured and Armenta and Cordova split up in a contentious and even volatile manner.

When Armenta found out about the relationship, he started stalking Karavolos.

But the situation soon escalated into something much worse.

Documents obtained from the LA County Sheriff’s Department confirm that Armenta was arrested and served jail time for stalking, threatening, and physically assaulting Karavolos at their Pico Rivera residence.

He also violated a previous court order that had been in place due to the violent nature of the situation.

According to a report published in the L.A. Times, and written by John D. Wagner on November 17, 1994, Armenta was later convicted by a Los Angeles Superior Court and placed on probation for over a year.

Sources, who did not want to be publicly identified for safety concerns, say that Armenta has held a grudge against Cordova and Karavolos since the arrest, and that Armenta used his authority as a current city councilmember to influence the case involving Karavolos.

Observers familiar with the case say that the Sheriff’s Department and prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Brock Lundsford are still turning a “blind eye” allowing the accusations that were made against Mr. Karavolos to be upheld, despite the knowledge of Andrew Jones’ redundant criminal activity.

“The criminal activity of Jones shows he has absolutely no credibility.  They are allowing this whole matter to destroy and harm an innocent life,” a longtime friend of Karavolos said, who also did not want to be publicly named due to “safety concerns.”

Jones lived with Karavalos

HMG-CN has also learned that alleged victim Jones, and another alleged victim Luz Guadalupe Valenzuela, had several of their personal belongings at Karavolos’ residence including clothes, personal hygiene products, wedding certificates, and even personal letters to other family members.

Sources have also said that investigating officers at Pico Rivera Sheriff’s Department have known about the personal belongings of Jones and Valenzuela but according to a source, “have ignored the evidence since day one.”

According to a private source, “the evidence shows and proves that Jones and Valenzuela were living at Karavalos’ home, and that Jones is not a kidnap victim in any way shape or form.”

Documents obtained from the LA County Sheriff’s by HMG-CN show that Karavalos has no violent criminal history in his 38 years of life; he was arrested on minor drug charges back in 1997.

Jones, on the other hand is a different story.

Andrew Jones’ long arrest record

On May 18th, 2012, a review of a Montebello Police report states that Jones is described as having been caught in the act of committing burglary. Witnesses said they initially thought Jones was washing a vehicle, and quickly discovered that Jones had actually broken into the car and was taking valuable contents.  According to the report, a witness screamed out to him in an attempt to get him to stop. Jones took off running with the stolen items. A foot pursuit began and one of the other witnesses phoned 911.

In a report filed by Cpl. J. Martinez, of the Montebello Police Department, after being pursued for multiple blocks Jones was eventually captured and arrested.  It is believed that Jones threw the contents of what he had stolen into some nearby bushes, shortly before being caught in the parking lot of Garduno’s Italian Restaurant.

Documents show that Jones was arrested for burglary, possession of a loaded firearm, possession of burglary tools, wearing gloves during the commission of a crime, and for being “selective” in what he had stolen.

He was booked on May 18th, 2012 at around 10:30 p.m.

According to the report, Officer J. Castillo conducted the initial interview with Jones and reported that Jones spontaneously stated, “some guys made me do it.”

According to the Montebello Police records obtained by HMG-CN, Karavolos was never mentioned in the interview, nor was he considered a party to any of Jones’ allegations.

The records also showed that Jones possessed a key to Karavolos’ home at the time of his arrest.

Castillo also writes in his report that a male by the name of “Doug” told Jones that he owes Doug $6,000 and that Jones had to do whatever he had to do to pay him back or “they” would “kill him.” Jones also apparently stated that he had actually given the purse he took back to the lady who owned it saying, “Here’s your stuff. I didn’t want to steal it.” Jones then states that “the people making him do these things” had been drugging him with Methamphetamines and that they kidnapped him on Mother’s Day. He also admits that he had personally used “meth” by himself for a few days prior to the arrest, and may have been awake for more than 72 hours or longer without sleep.

In a supplementary Montebello Police Department Report dated May 19, 2012, Officers Cpl. Rodriguez and N. Jarvis conducted another interview in Room # 282 where Jones makes additional statements claiming that his reason for his committing the crime was due to him being falsely imprisoned and tortured by several individuals on May 13, 2012 at Karavolos’ residence; even pulling up his own shirt to display some very large burn marks on his torso to gain the belief from the investigating officers. That is when the case was transferred to Pico Rivera and Karavalos nightmare began.

Shortly after the crime and his release, Jones was arrested and convicted in Arizona in November of 2012 on various felony charges and is now behind bars for the next 7 to 25 years, according to the Arizona prosecutor Greg Stolz.

HMG-CN has learned that Karavolos hired criminal defense attorney Peter Benjamin Schlueter of Schlueter & Schlueter Law Firm.

“Armenta has hated Karavalos for almost ten years, and he finally found a way, using his influence at Pico Rivera city hall, to get back at him,” a family member said. “The $4 million bail is a testimony to the level of cover-up and corruption.”

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Communications Department was invited to comment on the case.  They have not responded as of Monday, March 17th.

Copyright. All Rights Reserved. Hews Media Group – Community Newspaper. March 18, 2014. Permission to republish granted only by permission of HMG-CN.

 

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7 Responses to Pico Rivera Councilman David Armenta Used Influence to Initiate Arrest, Family Alleges

  1. Virginia A. Reply

    April 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    As a lifelong resident of Pico Rivera, I have known David Armenta for many years. We have at times been at odds, but have also worked together on occassion. David is a survivor and will always do what he needs to do to stay in office.

    I am well aware of Robin and George. George was Robin’s and David’s son Kevin’s best friend when they were both in their teens. Robin started seeing George at the time her and David were separating. David always thought he was a big shot in the community and was very humiliated when his wife left him for another man, let alone a very young other man like George.

    David has never forgiven Robin or George. He could not accept the fact when a woman does not want him. He has never been one to treat women good. But George does not deserve how he is being treated. I think the Sheriff’s are being ordered by David so that he can finally have his revenge. This is not right and I am upset. I needed to say this.

    • Christina Karavolos Reply

      April 5, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Virginia A., I am George’s sister. I don’t think we know each other (or if we do, I apologize that your name doesn’t ring any bells) but I wanted to personally thank you for having the courage and taking the time to share your comment above.

      Please know that you are greatly appreciated and your comment really does make a big difference and a profound impact to all who read it (myself and my family included.) Have a Blessed Weekend!

    • NOT A FAN OF GEORGE Reply

      April 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

      GEORGE IS WHERE HE BELONGS JAIL!

  2. Christina Karavolos Reply

    April 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Please forgive me… I wanted to comment sooner, but have had a rush of emotions flowing through me since I became aware that my Brothers’ story has been reported on and have been at a loss for words to say the least.

    No human being should have to endure or be faced with what George and/or our Family has been wrongfully & unfairly been going through. To state “it has been hard to cope” is a huge understatement. The lives of our entire family have been destroyed, but that is miniscule compared to all that George has lost (nearly 2 years of his life to date) and “they’re” still attempting to rob him of the rest of his life, X 4. Despite the overwhelming evidence & facts that could/should have completely exonerated him from day one, “they” have instead, exonerated the “alleged victim/career criminal” Andrew Jones; and he simply went right back out and committed MORE crimes; while my Brother has been sitting in Men’s Central jail for the last 2 years; awaiting trial.

    If you’re not wealthy enough to continually afford proper representation ($100’s of thousands of dollars) you quickly become a “product of the system” and are also instantly guilty until proven innocent; not the other way around as our American Constitution would lead us to believe.

    I must admit, my commenting here was quite scary. We are in fear of not only our lives; but Georges’ life because he is literally in the “Belly of the Beast” at this very moment. We’re aware that this story will no doubt attract a great deal of attention and retaliatory measures against George and our Family, but we are doing our best to gather our courage to help make the unsuspecting Public more aware that corruption DOES genuinely exist (we’re living proof) but that we also, genuinely DO have the ability to help change or eradicate this (in baby steps if need be) if we all stand together as a community and demand something be done about it. We humbly ask for your Prayers; not for only George to come back home to his life and family; but also for the many other families who are also faced with corruption and wrongful prosecution in a system that’s designed and doomed to fail if you can’t afford to play their game.

    Thank you, Randy, Daniel, Brian, Pete and everyone at Hews Media Group for having the courage to cover this story (and so many other stories) that most other reporters are afraid to cover. You are all SO very amazing. Many, many Blessings to you all! – And – Thank all of YOU who read our Story and my lengthy comment (sorry, my thought processes and emotions are still quite overwhelming to manage.) This has all been so surreal and hard to cope with, but, non-the-less; Our Gratitude is indescribable and our Faith is strong that Good shall always conquer evil. Have a Blessed Day!

  3. Pico voter Reply

    April 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    More Southeast LA “ELECTED” thug crap. Come on, this criminal element has got to be stopped. Please, Pico voters,get smart and quit voting for these crooks. I do pity the new Sheriff, it will take him years to clean up the Pico Rivera Sheriff Department mess. No wonder Lee Baca resigned.

  4. steve smith Reply

    April 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    “Unknown X +25”

    Lol (not) why is his arrest record obscured?

  5. FLFF Reply

    April 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    It’s Pico Rivera …. what else does anyone expect? Revenge is the hispanic name of the game..

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