Fresno Police Officer on Trial

April 30, 2009 7:00:15 PM PDT
Damaging testimony Thursday morning in the trial of a Fresno Undercover Police Officer. Officer Paul Cervantes is accused of stealing a car. The trial against Cervantes stared with testimony from Humberto Quintero who is a suspected drug dealer. Cameras are not allowed inside the court room. Quintero testified he came to a South West Fresno McDonalds in January 2008 to arrange a drug deal.

Daniel Martin is Quintero's defense attorney. He explained what Quintero said on the witness stand. Martin said, "He was arrested. The car was taken away and he was never paid for the car. Mr. Quintero explained that Officer Cervantes was present at the time he was arrested."

The prosecutor accused Officer Cervantes of stealing the SUV and giving it to a police informant named Jesus Valles. Cervantes and another Officer Hector Becerra were arrested in January. A judge eventually cleared Becerra of the crime.

Cervantes' attorney said the narcotics officer did nothing wrong. In fact, he thought the informant paid for the SUV. But the informant's attorney Ralph Torres said Cervantes gave the car away, "In working with local law enforcement to include Cervantes, he was authorized to take the vehicle and that was it."

Testimony resumes on Friday morning. Eventually, Officer Cervantes is expected to address all these issues, because he is scheduled to testify in his own defense.

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