In a rare order, a federal judge has acquitted a Miami man charged with dealing marijuana along with his cousin and a friend, concluding prosecutors failed to prove he was involved with them.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Donald Graham found Alvaro Ulloa, 32, was not guilty of conspiring with the cousin, Michael Vado, 25, and the friend, Edgardo Martinez, 22, both of Miami.
At trial this week, Graham found that Ulloa was “merely present” at the Allapattah residence of the cousin and friend in late November when police found about four pounds of marijuana, several Xanax bars and a small amount of cocaine in the home.
“Merely being present when a crime is being committed is not enough to convict someone under the law,” said defense attorney Marshall Dore Louis, who represented Ulloa along with lawyer Ricardo Martinez-Cid. They also put on evidence that Ulloa lived with his parents, not with the cousin and friend.
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The case was filed in federal court because Vado and Martinez were also charged with possessing a firearm while dealing drugs.
Before trial, Vado pleaded guilty to the pot-distribution conspiracy and gun charge. On Thursday, the jury found Martinez guilty on the conspiracy charge, but acquitted him of a related distribution count and the firearm offense.