The star witness for the prosecution in a case accusing Raymond Martinez and Juanita Moser of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine took the stand Thursday to describe how the defendants sought his advice on moving drugs into Guam.
Henry Alvendia, a former Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency lieutenant, was on the witness stand in the District Court of Guam, detailing how he was approached by the defendants around 2013 to discuss ways people on Guam are normally discovered bringing meth to the island.
Alvendia is the same individual who in 2015 signed a plea deal admitting culpability for crimes involving bribery, fraud and other corruption charges.
The witness said he had been a longtime associate of Moser, first meeting her when she was a bartender for a bar where he offered hookah services.
Alvendia testified that Moser and Martinez initially were not interested in drugs. He said that at first, the couple used his connections at customs to help ship classic cars to Guam at an affordable price. The case alleges Martinez and Moser were found in possession of 8 pounds of crystal meth during a traffic stop in California.
When Moser and Martinez brought up the topic of drug-smuggling, Alvendia said he shared that many would-be smugglers are caught when they attempt to mail drugs through the post office or ship drug packages as cargo.
'I didn't want to get involved in drugs'
Alvendia said the couple then asked about the possibility of moving drugs to Guam hidden in the vehicles they already were bringing in. He told the court that he is not interested in drug-smuggling. Alvendia said he "played along" with the conversation, but only to avoid saying "no" to people he called "friends."
"I didn't want to get involved in that kind of activity," Alvendia said. "I didn't want to get involved in drugs."
When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Black why Alvendia, as a law enforcement officer, did not make some kind of report about the conversation, Alvendia said he "turned a blind eye" to Moser's and Martinez's potential for drug-smuggling.
The court recessed before Alvendia could give a full account of how he was involved in the arrests of the defendants.
Court documents state that Alvendia, as part of the plea agreement in his corruption case, worked with authorities to conduct a drug sting on Moser and Martinez.
Multiple phone and video conversations were recorded by law enforcement that supposedly demonstrate how Moser and Martinez enlisted Alvendia's help and then coordinated to bring meth to Guam.
During opening statements, Black said video will show that Moser and Martinez wanted to get their conspiracy started before customs agents could become adept at operating new drug-detection machines at the island's seaport. Additionally, he said, video will show that Martinez and Moser said they had already ordered drugs to move from Mexico to California.
However, Alvendia's involvement in the drug trial has not been without controversy.
The defense attorney for Moser, David Lujan, has called Alvendia the "most corrupt customs officer in the history of Guam."
During opening statements, his co-counsel, Peter Perez, stated that Alvendia is a well-connected individual, despite no longer being a customs officer.
Perez also stated that Alvendia's fellow law enforcement agents would work to assist him in getting the least amount of jail time possible after his 2015 plea bargain.
Perez said the government "invented" an elaborate scheme to entice Moser and Martinez into importing drugs, so that Alvendia could be a cooperating witness against them.
Alvendia's testimony continues today.