Trial begins for alleged 3 Pinoy gun smugglers

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Feb 06 2013 06:46 PM | Updated as of Feb 07 2013 02:46 AM

LOS ANGELES, California - 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.

Several other weapons that Syjuco, Ubaldo and Revereza allegedly sold to undercover agents and shipped to the US were similar to the ones used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Aurora movie theater massacre.

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 jury trial is expected to last two weeks. All three defendents will be tried by the same jury. However, the jury could decide each man's fate individually. Each one faces a maximum 15 years prison sentence if convicted.