A former gang member turned graduate student and intervention worker was arrested Wednesday after police said they pulled over his car and found a pound of methamphetamine, officials said Saturday. Mario Corona, 30, was arrested on suspicion of transportation of narcotics, police said. Corona is director of job development for Communities in Schools, a gang prevention and intervention agency in the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles police said in a brief statement late Friday that the incident occurred about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday when officers pulled over a vehicle in the 7000 block of Cherry Stone Avenue in Panorama City. As director of job development with Communities in Schools, Corona has tried to deter young people from the gang life by helping them find jobs and school programs. Longtime friend and fellow USC grad Maribel Romero said Saturday that she didn’t want to speak about Corona’s arrest – it was too sensitive. “He’s a great man,” she said. “I’m going to assist him in every way possible.” Calls to Communities in Schools directors were not returned Saturday. [email protected] (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Officials said Corona was arrested after officers found a pound of methamphetamine on him. Officials confirmed the arrest Saturday, but had few additional details. Corona’s arrest came as a surprise to friends. Corona was honored last year as a model of success – a member who had turned his life around and decided to give back to the community by helping other gangsters. Once known on the street as “Big Spider”, Corona had been shot twice and served time in jail. But he always had an aptitude for school and sought to get out of the gang life through study. He worked his way through community college, undergraduate work and ultimately a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California.
Next Post: Afflalo deflects NBA talk