Defense attorneys in the Mexican Mafia trial in Los Angeles federal court began their case Wednesday by continuing to attack the prosecution's key witness, a former Mexican Mafia prison gang member who turned against the group.
The defense's first witness was Los Angeles sheriff's Det. Roy Nunez, who was a chief handler of Ernest "Chuco" Castro, who testified for nearly two months against the 13 defendants. The suspected members or associates of the prison gang are accused of racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.
Nunez testified that he and FBI Special Agent James Myers were Castro's main contacts during the first part of the federal probe into the Mexican Mafia and that Castro had provided them with names and telephone numbers for suspected members of the Eme, as the prison gang is commonly called.
During his time on the witness stand, Castro often could not remember details of what he told investigators.
Nunez, who left the task force investigating the Eme in 1994, said he emphasized to Castro the importance of telling the truth--something Castro admitted under cross-examination that he didn't always do.