Trial for accused drug importers begins - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Trial for accused drug importers begins

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Jet skis, the thing, the stuff, and the pie...each term said to describe the code used by a pair facing federal drug charges whenever they allegedly planned to smuggle eight pounds of meth from California to Guam. The prosecution arguing they were caught red handed, but, the defense calling it entrapment and corruption on the part of law enforcement. Raymond Martinez and Juanita Moser were in court today after a lengthy seven days of jury selection. Both sides presenting opening statements to the 18 member jury.

Indicted for conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute the drug, ICE.

Sitting beside their Attorney's, Raymond Martinez and Juanita Moser watched as the government was first to address the jury. The couple are accused of trying to bring about eight pounds of meth from Southern California to Guam in 2015. The drugs hidden inside five-gallon containers marked with Morton salt labels. They were eventually stopped in the Golden State as authorities monitored their alleged drug activity.

Federal prosecutor, Fred Black, taking jurors down memory lane....telling them the case goes as far back as 2009. He painted a culture of corruption within Guam Customs and Quarantine that ultimately facilitated the local drug trade, and described how defendants devised a plan to get meth into Guam. This is when Black says the bad deals occurred between those accused and customs Lieutenant Henry Alvendia. Alvendia is one of the government's witnesses.

A prior instance, he contends is the pair in 2011 would bring cars to the island and flip them for profit.

Now, Alvendia should sound familiar; he was one of several customs officers who were indicted in 2015 for receiving kickbacks from private businesses for favors. He eventually entered into a plea agreement and agreed to cooperate with the feds investigation.

But, Black argued the couple wanted to get rich quicker by bringing drugs here instead. He says in late 2012 they approached Alvendia to help, however, he was afraid to get involved with drugs specially with meth.

Fast forward to 2015...two years after an apparent fallout between Alvendia and the couple. The feds employee Alvendia to go undercover and carry out a scheme to catch them in the act. Black brought up several recordings of conversations between the trio as they planned out how to get the drugs to Guam. He called Moser the leader of it all. The recordings he says detailed how they used code referring to the drugs as "the pie," or "the stuff." He told the jury the couple are not junkies, they are greedy.

He concluded that after being caught with the drugs in their rental car in California that the evidence will show they did exactly what they are being charged with. The argument changed when attorney Peter Perez, who represents Martinez, told jurors Alvendia and the other law enforcement investigators from Guam and California are not credible. He contends he case is based on a corrupt investigation. Perez saying the scheme to catch his client, "was all government orchestrated and it was all government directed." He argues that investigators put a GPS device in the couples rental car without first getting a warrant, and that none of them ever reported the device even after a K9 inspection alerted them to it during a traffic stop.

Perez eluding to entrapment and that they were set up. He asked that his client be found not guilty. An argument that will ultimately be up to the jury to decide.

 Attorney David Lujan, defense for Moser will begin his opening statements Monday morning.

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