US accused of withholding evidence in drug case

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. prosecutors have suffered a rare setback in a drug case involving two Colombian men amid accusations that evidence was withheld from the defense.

Two Colombians were facing up to life in prison as their trial got underway. Instead both got a quick plea deal and sentences of three years. That includes credit for nearly two years they’ve been in custody.

Defense attorney Jose Qunion says Friday the case turned suddenly after testimony that prosecutors knew about payments the Drug Enforcement Administration made to Colombian police in the case. The defense had been asking for the information but prosecutors said they didn’t know about any payments, a claim the judge didn’t believe.

Colombians John Finkelstein Winer and Jose Salazar Buitrago were sentenced May 23 and could be home in months.

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