Monday, March 4, 2013
3 PINOYS CONVICTED FOR ARMS SMUGGLING IN THE U-S
Sergio Syjuco, 26, Cesar Ubaldo, 27, and Arjyl Revereza, 26, were convicted after a four-week trial by a federal jury in US District Court in the Central District of California of conspiring to illegally import the weapons into the US, and aiding and abetting the importation of those weapons.
Their sentencing has been scheduled for June 10 this year and each could get more than 20 years in prison.
They were indicted on Jan. 12, 2012, according to Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office.
The trial was briefly sidetracked when reports surfaced that the FBI allegedly paid Filipino prostitutes in the Philippines as part of undercover operations.
They were found guilty of conspiring to sell high-powered military and assault weapons to a buyer interested in bringing weapons into the US to arm drug dealers in Mexican drug cartels and Mexican Mafia gang members.
The joint FBI-NBI operation was launched shortly after Ubaldo met a prospective weapons buyer in November 2010 who was actually an undercover FBI agent.
Ubaldo later introduced the undercover agent to Syjuco, who supplied the weapons, and Revereza, the Philippine Customs official assigned to the Manila airport who facilitated the movement of the illegal weapons through Philippines customs and eventually into the US.
The weapons supplied included a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, an M203 single-shot grenade launcher and 12 Bushmaster machine guns, as well as explosives including mortars and grenades.
The weapons landed in Long Beach, Ca. on June 7, 2011, where they were promptly seized by the FBI.