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Investigator, convict testify against Florida man in 16-pound pot deal

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: The attorney for a Florida man charged with trying to sell 16 pounds of marijuana to an undercover detective told jurors yesterday that it wasn’t his client’s drugs. But the man he put the finger on testified that he didn’t see the pot trucked up to New Jersey until the day of the deal.

Questioned by Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor James Santulli, Alejandro Barcena said defendant Yordanis Reyes supplied the marijuana.

Barcena, who testified against Reyes in exchange for a flat five-year prison sentence, said he didn’t see the pot before March 30, 2012 — the day they parked with it outside the Chili’s Restaurant at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus.

There, he said, they met with the undercover detective (whose name is being withheld by CLIFFVIEW PILOT ).

“The bag was in the van before we got there,” Barcena said through an interpreter.

Pressed by defense attorney Sam DeLuca, Barcena said: “Of course I knew what was in the bag. We were doing a marijuana deal. What’s going to be in the bag?  Not fruit.”

The undercover officer testified that he showed Reyes $1,300 of “flash” money, then put it in a car that was quickly driven away by a colleague “to show they would have to deliver the drugs to get the money.”

It was a dangerous situation, the investigator said, “given the amount of drugs and money involved, and the fact I didn’t really know Reyes.” He had arranged in advance for enough officers to be available “so the arrest could be made as soon as the marijuana was revealed,” he said.

When he got to Chili’s, the investigator said, he pointed at Barcena and asked Reyes, “Who is that?”

He said he then asked: “Can I see the marijuana?”

Instead of completing the agreed-upon $60,000 deal for the shrink-wrapped marijuana bricks, Reyes, Barcena and the detective were seized by several officers, protecting the investigator’s cover.

DeLuca said his client had a business relationship with Barcena transporting cement and vehicles and knew nothing about the pot deal.

DeLuca insisted that Barcena struck the deal with the undercover cop, and that Reyes — of Homestead, Florida — never got out of the car that day.

“Do you expect to get five years [in prison] even though you testified here today?” the defense lawyer asked Barcena.

“Yes,” he replied.

“So your deal was five years, but it could have been 10 years, and you don’t expect to get any further consideration but a flat five years?” DeLuca asked.

“Yes,” Barcena said.

STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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