Fresno Officer Paul Cervantes Defended Himself in Court

May 4, 2009 7:35:15 PM PDT
A Fresno police officer defended himself on Monday against criminal charges. Paul Cervantes is accused of stealing a SUV from a suspected drug dealer and giving it to a police informant.Cervantes took the witness stand late Monday afternoon. Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom during his testimony. Cervantes testified about a drug bust that happened at a South Fresno fast food parking lot. Cervantes said a police informant named Jesus Valles set up a drug deal to bust a suspected dealer named Humberto Quintero.

While the prosecutor claims Paul Cervantes stole Quintero's car from scene, the officer said the informant made arrangements to buy Quintero's car. Officer Hector Becerra also supported that claim on the witness stand.

Carl Faller is Becerra's attorney. Footage shows Becerra and Cervantes bailing out of jail in January. Investigators arrested both undercover narcotics officers for stealing Quintero's car, but a judge later cleared Becerra of the crime. Faller recalled what his client said on the stand, "It was his information that the car had been purchased by Mr. Valles from Mr. Quintero and that transaction had been previously completed."

The jury should soon deliberate the case after Cervantes completes his testimony on Tuesday.

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