After a startling turnaround from gang member to gang interventionist, Mario Corona’s life took a darker twist Friday when he pleaded no contest to narcotics and firearm charges. The one-time gang leader from Pacoima had gone back to school and worked his way through Pierce College and California State University, Northridge, then earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Lauded by the community for his work diverting kids from gangs, he appeared to be the picture of success – until he was arrested Feb. 28 with nearly a pound of methamphetamine in his car. On Friday, he pleaded no contest to transportation of a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm, a 9 mm handgun found in his house. “Unfortunately, the image Mario Corona was portraying of assisting troubled youth and gang members was not accurate,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jack Garden said in a statement. “This plea today demonstrates he continued his criminal activity, including dealing in a significant amount of methamphetamine and possessing a gun.” Under terms of the plea, Corona, 30, of Panorama City will serve 32 months in prison when sentenced May 25. He’s also facing deportation to Mexico upon his release. Prosecutors characterized him as an illegal immigrant, which his family and attorney disputed. Prior to his arrest, Corona had been a popular and respected presence at Communities in Schools, a North Hills-based job services and gang intervention agency. Where they once hailed him for his work ethic, co-workers decried him for what they described as greed and selfishness. “He chose to lead a double life at the expense of our credibility,” CIS President Bobby Arias said. “I told him that this is a selfish act. We hope he can bounce back, but he’s not going to do it with our organization.” Corona had hoped to attend law school or earn a doctorate in sociology or criminal justice. He said he planned to write books and work with gang members looking for ways to reform their lives. “Before this moment, Mario had done a lot of good work helping people,” said his attorney, Aron Laub. “In the future, Mario will again be doing a lot of good work helping people. I guarantee that today’s events will not be the defining moment in his life.” [email protected] (818) 713-3738160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Some of the students at this week’s summer school.A walk through Colaiste Ailigh in Letterkenny this week would do your heart good!Traditional lessons may be out but that is music to many student’s ears.That’s because the Ceol na Coille Traditional Music summer school is in full swing. Students from around the world including the USA, France, England, Germany, Scotland, the Isle of Man as well as Donegal are attending.A range of musical instruments are being taught including banjo, thin whistle, fiddle, accordian and guitar.And who cooler to oversee the school than well-known local musician and teacher Paul Harrigan and his wife Una.Even for those of us without a note in our heads can appreciate the effort and the end results. Music to our ears! MUSIC TO ALL OUR EARS AT TRADITIONAL MUSIC SCHOOL! was last modified: July 24th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Ceol na CoilledonegalletterkennyPaul Harrigan