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NM Village Officials Arrested in Gun Raid

Badlands Beady

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The mayor, police chief and a village trustee in the New Mexico border town of Columbus have been charged along with eight other defendants with buying firearms for illegal export to Mexico, federal authorities said Thursday.


An 84-count indictment accuses the 11 of being what authorities describe as a gun-trafficking ring. The ring bought guns "favored by the Mexican cartels," such as American tactical 9 mm pistols and the so-called "AK-47 pistols," which are weapons resembling AK-47 rifles but with shorter barrels and without rear stocks, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales of New Mexico told CNN.


In a phone interview, Gonzales said authorities seized 200 such firearms, allegedly purchased illegally using "straw" buyers, and intended for sale in Mexico. He added that 1,500 rounds of ammunition were also seized.


Authorities say much of the Mexican drug cartel violence is carried out with weapons originating from the United States.The indictment alleges that 12 firearms previously purchased by the defendants were found in Mexico and were traced back to them, authorities said.


"I couldn't tell you for sure that the firearms would ultimately be put in the hands of people who were going to hurt other people, but because we believe the firearms were destined for Mexico, we feel we made a big difference today," Gonzales told CNN.


Arrested Thursday were Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, 40; Mayor Eddie Espinoza, 51; and village trustee Blas Gutierrez, 30, said Gonzales, who added the town's population was about 2,000 people.


As of late Thursday, no attorneys had entered appearances for any defendants, who all were in the custody of the U.S. Marshal, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Martinez of the U.S. Attorney's office in New Mexico.

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First the ATF with Operation Gunwalker, and now this. Seems the biggest gunrunners into Mexico are all in the government.


Maybe they're still mad over Pancho Villa getting spanked there in 1916 => http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment/huachuca/HI1-12.htm

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If they are selling to the cartels across the border, they give all of us a black eye. I say we wait until the trials before we take sides on this one.

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