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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 Randy Economy, 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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