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Jury hears opening arguments in case against 2 San Juan cops accused of stealing cocaine

Two San Juan policemen accused of stealing cocaine took the case against them to trial Monday.

Two San Juan policemen accused of stealing cocaine took the case against them to trial Monday.

Officer Salvador Hernandez and Officer Richard Leon Castillo appeared in federal court Monday morning.

They're accused of stealing cocaine after a drug bust on Aug. 27, 2016.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Rees previewed the case during her opening statement, telling the jury about two schemes to steal cocaine.

Members of a drug trafficking organization stole cocaine from their supplier, Rees said. To conceal the theft, they staged a drug bust — loading a car with bundles of cocaine and abandoning the vehicle in San Juan.

Border Patrol agents found the car and called the San Juan Police Department. Hernandez and Castillo responded. They stole bundles of cocaine during the bust, Rees said.

Attorneys for Hernandez and Castillo said their clients didn't do anything wrong. They raised questions about whether or not any cocaine actually went missing.

Both Rees and attorney Reynaldo Merino, who represents Castillo, said a video from the drug bust will be a key piece of evidence.

The trial will continue Tuesday.

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