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3 men convicted in plot to sell military weapons to drug cartels

March 4, 2013 |  8:05 pm

Three Philippine men were convicted Monday of importing military weapons that came in a shipment to Long Beach as part of a plot to arm Mexican drug cartels and gang members, federal authorities said.

Evidence presented during the four-week trial in federal court in Los Angeles showed that the men conspired to sell weapons that included machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as well as explosives including mortars and grenades, according to the FBI.

The men, identified as Sergio Syjuco, 26, Cesar Ubaldo, 27, and Arjyl Revereza, 26, met with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a prospective buyer, federal authorities said. 

The men believed the buyer was "interested in bringing weapons into the United States to arm drug dealers in Mexican drug cartels and Mexican Mafia gang members," the FBI said in a statement.

During the trial, the undercover agent was accused by a defense attorney of spending taxpayer dollars on prostitutes after going with Syjuco and others to brothels. The attorney sought unsuccessfully to have the case dismissed.

"The undercover agent assigned to this investigation and his family endured true hardship," said Bill Lewis, assistant director in charge of the FBI office in Los Angeles. He called the allegations "unfounded."

The three men are scheduled to be sentenced June 9 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. 

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— Robert J. Lopez

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