Abramyan: “‘Charges are ‘Ridiculous’”

Arrested STNC presidential candidate Arnie Abramyan maintains his innocence following Thursday’s arrest

By: Eddie Rivera, News Editor

Calling the charges “ridiculous,” and the search warrant “bogus,” Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council presidential candidate and business owner Arnie Abramyan maintained his innocence in an exclusive interview with The Foothill Record this evening.

Abramyan was arrested by LAPD officers at his shop, Munchies Mart, Thursday evening, and booked into the Van Nuys Jail just after midnight Friday. He was charged with felony possession of marijuana for sale, and released on a bond of $100,000 early Friday morning. His home and shop were searched and laptops and cell phones were seized.

He met with members of his campaign slate, “Moving Sunland-Tujunga Forward” Friday evening, and said that they are continuing to support him despite the arrest.

At first reluctant to speak about the charges, on the advice of his attorney, Abramyan emphasized that he is “innocent until proven guilty,” and that he is continuing with his candidacy.

“As my attorney mentioned to me today, all of the talk and rumors about me online are ‘public persecution’ and are dangerous, and irresponsible, since they could eventually influence a jury,” he said.

“Those people who are going to vote for me, will vote for me,” he said. “That won’t change.”

“This (arrest) is really just a personal attack on me,” he continued. While Abramyan’s mother owns a building which houses a licensed marijuana dispensary on Foothill Boulevard, one of several in the area, Abramyan claims no involvement in it.

“I am the face of the company, so I am the scapegoat, the target,” he said.

“I am part of the management team that manages that property,” Abramyam continued, “I don’t work there.”

“I think the timing is odd,” he said, coming as it did on the eve of the STNC election.

Abramyan said he was originally given a $50,000 bond, but that it was increased when officers found more than 50 pounds of marijuana. “They told me that, but I never saw any 50 pounds of marijuana.”

Abramyan also questioned the fact that police “told me that I was being watched over the last few months. If they were watching me, then they didn’t see anything.”

“This is all so ridiculous,” he insisted. “I could still be elected president and serve my two-year term with the case still not having been decided.”

Foothill Narcotics Division detectives were unavailable for comment this evening, and according to an LAPD desk sergeant, it is “unlikely they will discuss this case.”

Abramyan, who has not yet been arraigned, is due in Valley Superior Court April 29.


'Abramyan: “‘Charges are ‘Ridiculous’”' have 21 comments

  1. April 2, 2016 @ 6:45 am william traughber

    presumed innocent until proved guilty

    Reply

  2. April 2, 2016 @ 6:50 am Ellen

    I think there is more to this story. I think with all the violent crime going down in Van Nuys and other areas, LAPD would not worry about a little pot unless there was some other issue. They are stretched far too thin.

    Reply

    • April 5, 2016 @ 1:43 am Dave

      Police raid marijuana shops all the time just to drop the charges or get beat in court. Every week police have to return the money and marijuana seized to innocent pot dispensaries that they wrongfully victimized. The police often lie to get search warrants they know wont hold up in court because even though the case gets dropped the dispensaries suffer through the court process.

      Reply

      • April 11, 2016 @ 6:02 am Ellen

        Can you provide an example?

        Reply

    • May 25, 2016 @ 10:01 pm TZ

      The police are a tool to criminalize certain types of people. Where did the order come from. This arrested individual is a victim.

      Reply

  3. April 2, 2016 @ 7:52 am Cece

    I have never met Arnie. I have however been living in Tujunga for 10 years. I have not seen this type of fear in past elections. The current “volunteers” seem to be surrounded by supporters who want to trash anyone outside the circle of current volunteers. I can’t help but ask myself why the “Move Forward Slate” is so feared? Is it because they are not regular white folks? Is it because they are not part of the current circle of “volunteers”? This is something that might be a surprise to many but ” TIMES ARE CHANGING”. All surrounding communities are changing. Why would Sunland-Tujunga not change? Change is coming it will look different and be different? Hopefully it will be for the better! In the real world people who don’t accept and embrace change get left behind! I hope that when I go vote later today I hope that I see diversity and that I see people from all over this community!!

    Reply

    • April 2, 2016 @ 4:54 pm MATT MAXON

      ” I can’t help but ask myself why the “Move Forward Slate” is so feared? ” It in my case is I do not know what they are about. What their true motivations are. My opinion is at least in part being realtors they are motivated to get new housing built in Sunland & Tujunga. I personally feel they will be more pro-development . I don’t know where they got the money for their slick website an other campaign documentation but wouldn’t be surprised if it in part came from developers with and interest in current and future developments. NOT EVERYTHING is about race and ethnicity but it is an easy thing to imply and impossible to refute. My concerns are about the whole Move Forward group and not the ethnicity of the people in it.

      Reply

      • April 2, 2016 @ 7:30 pm Debi

        Thank you for telling it like it really is on this STNC troublesome election.
        Many of us have never seen or met several of the new candidates appearing on the ballot, I fear if they haven’t been active previously at meetings where the public speaks directly to the STNC and LUV then how much history about what really caused the decay of Sunland – Tujunga! Without knowing what failed before, how can proper choices be made that won’t exacerbate the decline of what was a thriving little “bedroom” community when I moved here 35 years ago?
        How many realtors are not pro development? As a former realtor, my observation was that most big name well known realtors have long forgotten the effects that development has on areas is not always for the better! Day Street and now the coming Samoa fiasco are proof that if it pays a good commission and is not on that realtors home visibility, then let’s make it happen!
        Notice I said former realtor, I quit because of all the underhanded competition to list and sell anything to anyone with no concern for surrounding families, I could not be party to that sort of sales tactics.
        Currently a realtor is listing several properties in a row on our street, telling the sellers they will get top dollar because she will sell all of them together for an apartment building! Don’t worry this is no place for multi-family structures and our neighbors will be all over any attempt to destroy single family only neighborhood!
        Vote only for those you actually have first hand knowledge of their motives, our towns depend on honesty and united future desires!

        Reply

      • April 5, 2016 @ 1:50 am Justin

        The current leaders have let tujunga turn into a bum town. They have been caught in lies and cheating (FACT: they rigged past votes by loosing ballots) They are systematically promoting their own businesses while putting pressure on any business not in their circle. Tujunga is going down hill fast so why would we want the same leaders who have failed us time and time again.

        Reply

    • April 2, 2016 @ 6:00 pm Ellen

      They aren’t feared , they are viewed with suspicion because they have never shown up to the Neighborhood Council meetings before or been involved and then they all show up. This is a semi rural community and needs to remain that way. Bye bye Arne.

      Reply

  4. April 2, 2016 @ 8:53 am Hay Katcher

    Sleep happy tonight Pirate Lady, this doesn’t change anything, your son is in deep shit now anyway this goes
    those Immigrants will come and will eventually claim it whatever you do
    this dying breed will move out and wither away because evolution is their poison
    also property value will go up anyway, happy thoughts

    Reply

  5. April 2, 2016 @ 1:28 pm MATT MAXON

    We have one side of the story. This comes at a bad time for Arnie. Jails are full of people who didn’t do a thing. Most just don’t get it, some are truly innocent. I don’t think the LAPD works at the direction of anybody in the political realm . They go where their investigations lead them. They certainly feel the charges are warranted. Wheather the city attorney or District Attorney will prosecute is yet another matter. This will certainly push some people who where leaning one way or the other. Hopefully it is as Arnie stated and he clears his name.

    Reply

  6. April 2, 2016 @ 5:17 pm Lynn Allred

    Do you really think the police bust people “just for the fun of it”? Come on people! They had something on him enough for them to do their job. Stop looking at the “rainbows and butterflies” and see it and him for what this is. Do we really need him as the president? There are better people for the job!

    Reply

    • April 5, 2016 @ 1:59 am Tim

      Police loose these cases all the time. The fact is they can walk into any marijuana dispensary and buy marijuana legally then turn around and raid the dispensary the next day. Prop D grants immunity to these shops that they can use in court as a defense but it does not stop them from prosecution. Idiot do some research.

      Reply

  7. April 2, 2016 @ 8:24 pm JIP

    I have been a business owner here for 35 years. I have seen a lot of changes in this community in that time, a lot of then good. I don’t see the prostitutes, or drug deals going down Stans liquor pay phone, or the biker gangs anymore.

    What I don’t like is this community starting to look like Glendale. Do you like all the strip malls, & all the foreign stores, do you like the young men in hopped up cars driving recklacely.

    I used to love all the different types of businesses & buildings here. It made Sunland unique. Now the beautification committee wants everything to be stucco & beige. Then they want to take credit for improvements that are already in progress.

    A lot of the people running for election, only do so to promote their business or to get back at someone who pissed them off. You know who they are.

    Change can be good, but not if we end up looking like Glendale.

    Reply

  8. April 3, 2016 @ 9:40 pm Marlene

    The election is over — almost. Now it is time to set some common goals and work toward them.

    Reply

  9. April 4, 2016 @ 9:47 pm Hep

    J’accuse!

    This was obviously politically motivated, and anyone who thinks that the police do not perform at the behest of local power mongers is, quite simply, naive, and should have paid more attention in their high-school history class!

    Where were the cops when just a few weeks ago, Arnie’s wife was tied up, and Munchies was robbed at gunpoint?

    I went to the meetings, once we, the public, for the first time in years, were “allowed” to be aware of their location and schedule, and I noted that, other than new candidates and incumbents, there were only about half a dozen of us “just plain citizens” in attendance…. None of whom, BTW, appeared to be under the age of 45, a large part of the problem here.

    This is the result of years of deftly and intentionally keeping the public in the dark about the when and where of local government, and enacting policies during “emergency meetings” which the public are not invited to attend, by a core group of power hungry, corrupt bigots, most of whom are in violation of term limits… none of whom want to give up their stranglehold on our community.

    I observed the great white whale Cleghorn act like she was “running things”, as she is so used to doing, regardless of the fact that the Council President, whose job it is, was in attendance… And all the while the State Rep for Council Elections sat on his hands while current members, who stand in violation of said rules. blatantly distributed campaign materials for “re-election”. News flash… Shuffling the seating arrangement does not satisfy the requirements of the law that Council members are subject to term limits!

    I went to the polls… I haven’t seen this level of “white fright” since the civil rights movement of the mid-60’s!
    I was amazed to see how many white folks “lived” in Sunland/Tujunga! I don’t see them at the markets, I don’t see them at the restaurants, but boy they were sure out in force for the “election”!

    The line of prospective voters was predominantly, and we’re talking 99%, white. As if we don’t have a vibrant, productive Hispanic population in this community… or was the token presence of Joselito’s supposed to represent all of them… not to mention our African-American community, intentionally small and repressed as it is here. Let us not forget the large Asian demographic in this area as well… Didn’t see ANY of them in line! And yes, there is a growing Armenian community which apparently was effectively dissuaded from participation in this “election”… a community which wouldn’t exist had it not been for all the white folks cashing in on the pre-crash housing boom and grabbing top dollar for their homes from the one group they knew would pay the over-inflated prices just to get a shot at pursuing the opportunity of capitalism. Now the bubble has burst and those who didn’t get in on the “gold rush” are griping about the ethnic changes developing in our community. Boohoo!

    And what’s with all the white elitists from Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, and La Tuna Canyon, (you know, the wealthy folks who are dedicated to preventing efficient and reliable public transportation from serving the working class in this area, but gawd help you if you talk about taking their golf course away…) who showed up en masse to squash any dissenting vote.

    They obviously have a problem with rail serving our neighborhoods, but why they have a voice in local STNC politics at all is puzzling, much less their consistent suppression of the development of bus lines and light rail which we working-class residents require to get off this hill in something less than an hour and a half… Let them form their own Neighborhood Councils in their own neighborhoods, and stop trying to run ours!

    During the “election”, I also observed current incumbents’ power brokers blatantly electioneering throughout the crowd, completely in violation of election law, with impunity. There was Cleghorn, megaphone in hand, acting like she was in charge, while turning a blind eye to, and even participating in, this illegal activity.

    Something stinks in S/T! There is an odor of mendacity that emanates from the Council chambers, where, as an example, the corrupt power brokers adroitly arranged for the STNC to essentially underwrite the office space used by the Chamber of Commerce, by “renting” space for “storage” to the tune of 75% of the total cost for the Chamber’s monthly office space rent, (which the C of C can well afford as they require dues payments that the STNC doesn’t), an outlay every month of $600… For a 10′ x 10′ space! Even ‘Public Storage’, one of the priciest, will rent a 10′ x 10′ space for a third of that! While it may not be illegal, it is most certainly unethical! An audit certainly seems to be in order!

    And in the midst of this corruption comes a voice of dissent from someone who has created jobs within our community, who has a genuine desire to improve our community, a voice tired of the corruption and control exercised by an elite few… Who, two days prior to the election, gets strong-armed by a bought and paid for constabulary and arrested on bogus charges, (while right down the street is a non-compliant, non pre-ICO, pot shop operating with complete disregard of the established laws and no pressure from police), and folks can’t see this for what it is?

    Take off the rose colored glasses… The emperor is NAKED!

    Resistance to change doesn’t maintain “quaintness”, it results in community stagnation! Ask any sociologist!

    I for one, am reporting these violations and unethical behaviors to the County Registrar of Voters, the California State Attorney General, and the press… An investigation will be called for! The most effective way to combat corruption is scrutiny. It’s high time to call in the watchdogs!

    And, FYI, I am white, and a senior; I’ve both worked the polls and hosted the polling place in my home, so I know how elections are supposed to work… This wasn’t it!

    J’accuse!

    Reply

    • April 11, 2016 @ 6:06 am Ellen

      You seem racist against white people. And your ageism and body shaming is disgusting. By the way, Armenians are white.

      Reply

  10. April 8, 2016 @ 8:12 pm ForwardThinker

    For those of you questioning if its even possible that the police can raid and arrest someone with as little as a tip. YES, IT IS POSSIBLE!!!

    My uncle was arrested off of a tip from his ex-wife that he possessed weapons and explosives and was a pot dealer. She was upset he petitioned for lower child support and the judge granted it based on his lower earnings. The police, in a swat like execution, raided his rented house and all of his possessions on site. He works in entertainment and has a license with CA to, obtain, possess and use, explosives. Additionally, he uses prop weapons in conjunction with said explosives. Lastly, he had a permit with the state/county to grow pot and sell to licensed dispensaries. He was able to produce all necessary licenses and paperwork to justify is possession of everything found.

    The DA still pursued his case even though the only charge they could get to stick was possession of explosives because he had more than his permit allowed but he didn’t have anything that was excluded from the permit. He charges were never dismissed and I believe he ended up pleading out as guilty or no contest and the DA/Police/State allowed him to retain his licenses after his probation was up.

    This case, although different, proves that someone intimate with someone else and their businesses can act as a well regarded informant to the police. The police can act on that knowledge or not, but when its from a trusted source, ie a relative or someone else with intimate knowledge, they probably put more weight towards that information.

    I’ve heard of people on the STNC calling in code violations about other businesses in the area but this is downright stupid. Because you don’t want someone on the NC, you purposely tip off the police to get someone arrested. This not only affects their electability, but harms them personally and the business. In the long term you might have cost that personal irreparable harm due to tarnishing their reputation. That isn’t justice, its a vendetta and one that doesn’t belong in our community.

    In response to HEP above, I’m a new resident to the STNC area and under 40, I and my wife will be happy to make our presence known at future, publicly accessible, NC meetings and have a voice for the new residents and those that actually want to make our community better.

    Considering the big picture, what IF the Move ST Forward group is really a front for developers. So what? what are they going to develop? Tear down the old Montgomery Ward and put up a big apt building. Ok? So? There is so little land available for development why are we worrying about something that likely won’t happen. What is more likely to happen is ugly shopping strip malls that are existing today will be bought up and beautified. That areas that could serve as gathering places, ie Commerce Ave, are actually turned into gathering places rather than residents hearing lip service about it. Additionally, why would a business owner want to invest in an area where the NC is unfriendly to businesses run by people that look different than themselves? Or call in code violations because a business isn’t getting with the program or personally offended a council member?

    its time to take a long hard look in the mirror. I personally don’t care either way about how things were run before or how they should be run. If we have people that we are looking to to make decisions on our behalf and for this community and they are abusing that privilege, they should be gone. End of discussion.

    Reply

    • April 18, 2016 @ 5:43 am Ellen

      Uh..what will they develop? They are trying to develop the forest. You really are new here, aren’t you? We want them out of Big Tujunga Canyon.

      Reply

  11. April 11, 2016 @ 4:04 am Spiders and Snakes | Fremont Watch

    […] of Neighborhood Council candidates called “Moving Sunland -Tujunga Foward,” led by one Arnie Abramyan, a shady local businessman arrested two days before the election on drugs and weapons…  Shockingly, Krystee Clark the other presidential candidate won by only 8 votes.  Scary stuff.  […]

    Reply


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