By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
February 5, 2013
LOS ANGELES–The jury trial of the three Filipinos accused of weapons trafficking began at a federal courthouse in Los Angeles Tuesday morning.
Federal prosecutors literally brought out the fire power, displaying the guns in the courtroom that they say were sold and shipped to the US by Sergio Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo, and Arjyl Revereza.
They told the jury that the three men sold and shipped the weapons to California knowing that it would be used by criminal organizations in the US.
The defense team says there is a bigger fish to fry, saying agents were actually targeting Reynaldo Dacia, who is believed to be a big-time weapons dealer.
They also allege that the undercover agent posing as a Mexican drug cartel weapons dealer entrapped the three accused men, whom they say are just businessmen and gun collectors that were coerced to smuggling the guns.
The defense adds that agents developed a relationship with Ubaldo, whom they say was a college grad, struggling to start several businesses, including a military supply company, Ubaldo then referred agents to Syjuco, whom his attorney described as a gun collector with emotional problems.
One Filipina who migrated to Southern California in the 1970s had been selected on Monday afternoon to the panel of 12 jurors that will hear and help decide on the case.
The three Filipino defendants are being tried as one group but jurors will decide on each one’s verdict individually. The each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.