top of page

Allowing Testimony Before Trial

"El Pollo", accused of drug trafficking crimes, asks a judge in NY to authorize a testimony from a drug trafficker from the Sinaloa Cartel that would serve as exculpatory evidence in his trial for drug trafficking crimes before the trial begins.

The defense of Hugo Carvajal Barrios, alias "El Pollo", accused of drug trafficking crimes by the United States government, presented a communication before the Southern District Court of New York with the statement of the Mexican drug trafficker, Luis Fernando Bertulucci Castillo, alias 'Fernando Blengio Ceseña' convicted in the US and who, in an interview with the lawyers of the former intelligence chief of the Hugo Chávez regime, pointed out that the former Chavista soldier was not involved in a drug transaction that took place in Venezuela in 2006.

"El Pollo" Carvajal

The defense of the former Venezuelan soldier who is in the process of being extradited to the US from Spain wants the testimony of a Mexican drug trafficker, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, and close to Chapo Guzmán, to allow one of the charges for the charges to be dismissed. which Carvajal is accused.

In the official letter, sent by the defense to the judge in the case, Alvin K. Hellerstein, the lawyers asked the court to order the statement of a defense witness named Luis Fernando Bertulucci Castillo, alias who is serving his sentence for drug trafficking crimes in the Oklahoma federal prison, and who will be released on January 6, 2023.

The lawyers asked Judge Hellerstein to authorize the deposition of the witness before he is deported from the United States. Bertulucci Castillo is in a US Bureau of Prisons facility.

The petition is accompanied by a statement signed by Lara Dreux, a multilingual paralegal at Carvajal's law office, which establishes, according to them, "the factual basis for the proposed statement."

The defense that they contacted federal prosecutors Kyle Wirshba and Kaylan Lasky to seek the government's opinion on this request, "but did not receive a response."

Carvajal's defense based their motion on Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which establishes that the deposition of a potential witness may be ordered "to preserve testimony for trial."

"The court may grant the motion due to exceptional circumstances and in the interest of justice."

DOJ reward for the arrest of El Pollo

The lawyers argue that the jurisprudence establishes that a witness must be questioned before January 6, 2023, because otherwise he would not be "available" because when he was deported he could not or did not want to travel to the United States for the trial.

"There are exceptional circumstances and a deposition is in the interest of justice, because Mr. Blengio's testimony is essential to the case of Mr. Carvajal's defense and will promote the truth-seeking process of the jury trial," they said.

The government alleges that Mr. Carvajal “worked together and with others to ship a 5.6-ton shipment of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico on a DC-9 aircraft” in 2006. “But, Dreux's statement makes it clear that the Mr. Blengio will testify that he was the owner of the DC-9, and was the one who coordinated the shipment with the Venezuelan authorities and, that the Venezuelan authorities lied to him by falsely stating that Mr. Carvajal was involved to extract money from him." They further add that Blengio's testimony "will deeply exonerate Mr. Carvajal in relation to the government's allegation that he worked to “dispatch” the drug-laden plane."

Carvajal's defense warns that if a statement is not ordered from Luis Fernando Bertulucci Castillo and he is deported to Blengio, it will probably be impossible to present his testimony before the jury.

The attorneys said that in order to preserve Hugo Carvajal's Sixth Amendment rights to compulsory process and to present a case, the Court must order that a personal deposition be made by January 6, 2023.

In order to guarantee Mr. Carvajal's right to a fair trial and the full dissemination of the truth behind the government's accusations, the Court must order the removal of Fernando Blengio.

They further add that if Hugo Carvajal is extradited to the United States to face justice, he can be tried solely on the basis of the S-1 Superseding Indictment based on statements made to Spanish authorities in the extradition proceedings.

What Fernando Blengio Ceseña or Luis Fernando Bertulucci Castillo said to Lara Dreux

Convicted drug trafficker Blengio said he owned the plane and personally handled the transaction involving cargo carried by the plane in 2006, in testimony from paralegal assistant Lara Dreux.

1) When arranging the transaction in 2006, Blengio worked with officers from the Venezuelan National Guard to divert security from the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, near Caracas, Venezuela.

2) Blengio never spoke with the defendant in the case, Hugo Carvajal

3) One of the defendants told Blengio that he had to pay bribes to a high-level Venezuelan official, and it was then that he was recommended to pay Hugo Carvajal, to ensure that he could continue working quietly with the drug conspiracy.

4) Blengio arranged, through one of his associates, a meeting with an (unknown) man who according to his contacts was General Hugo Carvajal.

In Dreux's statement, Blengio says he believed the man he met with and gave him a large sum of dollar money was Hugo Carvajal, but then when he saw a photograph of Hugo Chávez's former intelligence chief, he learned that he had been tricked, because the one in the photograph was not the person he had met with.

"Blengio believed that his associates in Venezuela had tricked him into keeping the money that he had given to the man with whom he had the meeting," he warns.

According to the defense document, Blengio asserted that Hugo Carvajal was not involved in the 2006 drug transaction.

According to the testimony collected by Dreux, Blengio declared that he does not have American citizenship, and that he expects to be deported from the United States, once he is released at the end of his sentence. Also, he said that he does not know where he will live, and that he believes that his life is in danger if he is sent to the country of birth.


Maibort Petit

Author and founder of the Freedom Voice Reports. this article was written for Venezuelan Politica, which is an affiliate of Freedom Voice Reports. it deals mainly with government corruption and transnational crime and our federal court system.

Freedom Voice Reports

A non-profit 501(c)(3), translated this Spanish article from the La Iberia , with permission.

Founded by Maibort Petit. An organization through their media company that defends your Freedoms and Human Rights from government abuses. They are also known for their many community projects.


bottom of page