By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau | 02/22/2013 4:31 PM
LOS ANGELES, California – By Thursday afternoon, Sergio Sujuco, Cesar Ubaldo, and Arjyl Revereza, the three Filipinos accused of illegally selling and exporting weapons to the US had faced the jury.
In all three of their testimonies, they claimed Special Agent Charles Ro, who was posing as a drug cartel weapons broker, had entrapped them, forcing them to commit the alleged conspiracy without their knowledge.
Revereza, an airport customs agent, claimed that Ro presented himself as a businessman who needed help shipping goods to Singapore.
Revereza said that Ro sought his help because he was worried that despite having licenses for his so-called gun collection, Philippine customs officials may hassle and extort him, so Revereza says he accepted some $3,500 dollars to coordinate the customs inspections with his colleagues.
Ubaldo, a businessman who had connections to military equipment suppliers said he was introduced to Ro by informants that were helping Ro track down alleged big time weapons dealer Reynaldo Dacia who had apparently gotten away from him.
He told jurors that he was never told the weapons were to be shipped to the US for criminal use, and if he had known, he would have never conducted business with Ro nor refer him to Syjuco.
Syjuco was the first defendant to take the stand last week. The gun collector who claims to have emotional problems told jurors that Ro pressured him into finding and selling him weapons without fully explaining it would end up in California.
The US government, led by Fil-Am Case Agent Dennis Lao and Prosecutors claim that evidence in emails and texts show that three men knew they were illegally shipping weapons to the US for drug cartels to use and despite claims of entrapment,
They say they had many chances to back out of the criminal activity.
With testimonies from all three defendants complete, their fate now lies in the jury's hands. Jurors will deliberate over the next few days and a verdict is expected as early as next week.