Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
LOS ANGELES–The three Filipino men accused of illegally exporting military grade weapons to the U.S. are going through one last week of preliminary hearings before their scheduled trial next week.
Sergio Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza were in a Los Angeles federal courthouse on Tuesday as the defense and prosecutors were going over the final evidence to be presented at their trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks and include testimonies from undercover agents, investigators, and shipping company workers.
Federal agents claim that the three men, all in their 20s were illegally selling and exporting military grade weapons to the U.S. They have been in custody since December of 2011.
While prosecutors presented a list of evidence which includes text messages, emails, and testimony from undercover agents documenting transactions between them, Syjuco and Ubaldo as well as conversations on how Revereza a so-called “corrupt customs officials” would ship weapons to the US.
The defense is asking that the case be dismissed on the grounds that government agents had engaged in misconduct based on findings by Federal Public Defender Investigators who testified in court. The defense claims undercover agents had used government resources to engage in prostitution. The undercover agent would allegedly frequent Manila area strip clubs and would at times hold meetings with the accused gun smugglers while paying for sex.
The three men along with their legal teams will continue attending the pretrial which is expected to last throughout the rest of the week.