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Remembering George Montoya (CRJU, '76)

CSULB Alumni George Montoya When you ask his coworkers, family, and friends about  George Montoya
CRIM,’76), they think of him as quiet, easy-going, methodical, and a practical joker.  He was a son, brother, friend, coworker, and a public ervant in law enforcement.  Never in a million years did George, his family, and/or friends fathom his ultimate fate- dying in the line of duty as an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent in a quiet neighborhood in Pasadena in 1988.
                                                                      
George started his law enforcement career with the U.S. Border Patrol shortly after graduating from CSULB in 1976 with a degree in Criminal Justice.  After various postings in the Border Patrol, he transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency and became a Special Agent for the DEA in September 1987.   After graduating from basic training, he was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Division. 

Mr. John Montoya and Criminal Justice Department Chair Henry Fradella His first assignment in that Division was Group 4, the Asian Heroin Enforcement Group. Although Special Agent Montoya had only been with DEA a short time, he had a reputation as a keen and thorough investigator.  He was a wonderful mentor to other agents because of his previous law enforcement experience with the Border Patrol.

On February 5, 1988, Special Agent Montoya was one of three undercover agents negotiating with a Taiwanese criminal group to purchase Southeast Asian heroin for $80,000. The agents met with the trafficker and went with him at his request to a quiet Pasadena neighborhood to pick up two pounds of heroin. Unbeknownst to Special Agent Montoya and his fellow undercover agents, the traffickers had planned all along to rob and kill them for the $80,000. Special Agents Montoya and Paul Seema were shot and killed in an ambush doing the job they both loved so well. George Montoya was 34 at the time of his death.

According to DEA agent David Jacobson, Montoya’s friend and roommate in basic training, George’s story “is a compelling sacrifice.  This was a sad day in DEA history.  He was a friend and a son- the best of the best.”  February 5, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of George’s death.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the George Montoya Scholarship Fund has disbursed nearly 40 scholarships to highly deserving CSULB students majoring in criminal justice.  It means very much to his family, friends, and fellow DEA agents to carry on George’s name.

As for the DEA Foundation’s and Montoya family’s experience with the scholarship, DEA Agent Jacobson relates that working with  CSULB in offering this scholarship has been a great experience for the family and the DEA.  Just as George made a difference in peoples’ lives, it is the hope of the Montoya family and the DEA Foundation that this scholarship will make a difference in the students’ lives.  The DEA Foundation and Montoya family take great pride in keeping George Montoya’s legacy as a 49er, public servant, and law enforcement officer alive and thriving.