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Thread: N.M. police chief, mayor, trustee caught in federal sweep

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  1. #11
    Senior Member Pisces_2010's Avatar
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    We will soon find out a lot of more people are involved into similar or the same criminal actions. Possibly, the reason for so much support for illegal immigrants.
    When you aid and support criminals, you live a criminal life style yourself:

  2. #12
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Federal gun raid leaves border town without mayor, police chief

    By Michael Martinez, CNN

    March 11, 2011 -- Updated 0312 GMT

    (CNN) -- 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 said.

    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.

    It could not be determined by CNN Thursday whether any of the defendants had retained attorneys.

    They and seven other defendants were arrested by federal and local authorities Thursday, and all but one of them were arrested in Columbus, Gonzales said. The 11th defendant, Ignacio Vallalobos, 24, of Columbus, remained a fugitive and is facing two counts of firearms smuggling and a conspiracy charge, authorities said.

    "Presumably these folks are engaging in this activity because there is money to be made," Gonzales said. "We're very disappointed that we have among these 11 people three people in government positions -- a police chief sworn to protect the public and a mayor sworn to lead and provide for the public safety and a village trustee that has that duty as well."

    Authorities also conducted searches at eight residences, a business and even the Columbus Police Department, authorities said.

    "That was part of the tragedy here -- we're actually having to search a police department," Gonzales said. He didn't know what was seized from there Thursday.

    Because the small town of Columbus has only a four-member police force, including the chief, Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos told CNN Thursday that his deputies were now providing police patrols.

    But the sheriff has told Columbus officials that their police department could no longer use the same radio frequency as the county to ensure the integrity of local law enforcement.

    Sheriff Cobos said the remaining three members of the village board were now running the town, and he was in negotiations with them to take over police protection.

    "It's right across the border from Puerto Palomas (Mexico), and they have a history of street violence down there that include daylight assassinations, kidnappings, shootings and one of the last incidents down there was finding three heads in a gazebo in the town plaza," Cobos said.

    When asked about how the federal raid left the small town without several top officials, the sheriff said: "I haven't seen anything like this before. Whatever comes up, we take care of it the best way we can. We're meeting with other state officials to see what we can come up with" regarding public safety in Columbus.

    Between January 2010 and March 2011, the defendants allegedly bought about 200 firearms from Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, New Mexico, which is owned and operated by Ian Garland, 50, who was also arrested and is facing several charges, authorities said.

    The defendants allegedly claimed they were the actual purchasers of the firearms, when in fact they were acting as "straw purchasers" who were buying the firearms on behalf of others, authorities said.

    The indictment came after a yearlong federal investigation and was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a program targeting the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply, authorities said.

    During the investigation, law officers also seized 40 AK-47-type pistols, 1,580 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, and 30 high-capacity magazines from the defendants before they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said.

    No weapons were knowingly permitted to cross the border, authorities said.

    "Identifying and arresting individuals involved in criminal activities, especially weapons and drug trafficking, in our homeland is a national security priority for ICE," Manuel Oyola-Torres, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas, said in a statement.

    All 11 defendants are charged with one count each of conspiracy to smuggle firearms from the United States to Mexico. If convicted of this charge, each defendant could receive a sentence of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

    Some of the defendants also are charged with making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms. Conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

    Some of them are charged with unlawfully concealing and facilitating the transportation of firearms knowing that the firearms were intended for exportation from the United States, authorities said. The maximum penalty for that offense is 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

    http://edition.cnn.com
    We have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.

  3. #13
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Long story short:
    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.
    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

  4. #14
    Senior Member Pisces_2010's Avatar
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    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.
    That is one dangerous situation!!! I must express, nothing can compare to it.
    When you aid and support criminals, you live a criminal life style yourself:

  5. #15
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisces_2010
    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.
    That is one dangerous situation!!! I must express, nothing can compare to it. 8O
    Until they catch (or don't catch) someone selling nuclear or biological material to terrorist (foreign or domestic?).
    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

  6. #16
    Senior Member Pisces_2010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDoe2
    Quote Originally Posted by Pisces_2010
    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.
    That is one dangerous situation!!! I must express, nothing can compare to it.
    Until they catch (or don't catch) someone selling nuclear or biological material to terrorist (foreign or domestic?).
    Both domestic and foreign.

    Private gun sales by U.S. organized criminals to foreign nationals, both domestic and foreign, and should be listed as an act of terrorism, because some of those weapons could have been used to murder Americans.
    When you aid and support criminals, you live a criminal life style yourself:

  7. #17
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    I.C.E. News Release

    March 11, 2011
    Las Cruces, NM

    ICE, ATF arrest police chief, mayor and trustee of New Mexico town

    8 others were indicted in firearms trafficking case as part of a multi-agency investigation


    LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The police chief, mayor and a trustee of the village of Columbus, N.M., were among 10 people arrested March 10 for their roles in a firearms-trafficking ring, which was the focus of an investigation by special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

    A federal grand jury in New Mexico indicted 11 members of the trafficking ring on firearms and smuggling charges. The criminal enterprise was based in Columbus, a small border village across from Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico.

    The defendants charged in the 84-count indictment include Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, Mayor Eddie Espinoza, and Blas Gutierrez, village trustee in Columbus. Defendant Ignacio Villalobos has not been apprehended and is considered a fugitive.

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and the U.S. Attorney's Las Cruces Branch Office participated in the yearlong investigation.

    Ten of the 11 defendants were arrested without incident Thursday morning by teams of federal, state and local law enforcement officers. Vega, Espinoza, Gutierrez and seven other defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances March 11 in the federal courthouse in Las Cruces.

    Federal agents also executed 10 search warrants at eight residences, a business, and at the Columbus Police Department.

    "Identifying and arresting individuals involved in criminal activities, especially weapons and drug trafficking, in our Homeland is a national security priority for ICE," said Manuel Oyola-Torres, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in El Paso. "ICE HSI special agents will continue working shoulder-to-shoulder with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to stop the flow of drugs, weapons and other contraband across the U.S.-Mexico border."

    This investigation has been designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The principal mission of OCDETF is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply.

    The indictment alleges that, between January 2010 and March 2011, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to purchase firearms for illegal export to Mexico. During this 14-month period, the defendants allegedly purchased about 200 firearms from "Chaparral Guns," a store owned and operated by defendant Ian Garland.

    According to the indictment, the defendants purchased firearms favored by the Mexican Cartels, including AK-47-type pistols, weapons resembling AK-47 rifles but with shorter barrels and without rear stocks, and American Tactical 9mm pistols. The defendants allegedly obtained firearms from Chaparral Guns by falsely claiming they were the actual purchasers of the firearms, when in fact they were acting as "straw purchasers" who were buying the firearms on behalf of others.

    During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized 40 AK-47-type pistols, 1,580 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, and 30 high-capacity magazines from the defendants before they crossed into Mexico. The indictment alleges that 12 firearms previously purchased by the defendants later were found in Mexico and were traced back to these defendants. As part of the investigation, efforts were made to seize firearms from defendants to prevent them from entering into Mexico, and no weapons were knowingly permitted to cross the border.

    U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales of the District of New Mexico, said, "Gutierrez, Espinoza and Vega were duty sworn to protect and safeguard the people of Columbus, N.M. Instead, they increased the risk of harm that the people of Columbus face every day by allegedly using their official positions to facilitate and safeguard the operations of a smuggling ring that was exporting firearms to Mexico. Today's indictment reflects our unwavering resolve to ensure safety along our Southwest border, and to expose and prosecute corrupt officials who seek to profit at the expense of the citizenry they are sworn to protect."

    Charges Against Defendants:

    Ignacio Villalobos, 24, of Columbus: conspiracy and firearms smuggling;

    Blas Gutierrez, 30, of Columbus: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, firearms smuggling;

    Eddie Espinoza, 51, of Columbus: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, and firearms smuggling;

    Angelo Vega, 40, of Columbus: conspiracy;

    Ian Garland, 50, of Chaparral, N.M.: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, and firearms smuggling;

    Alberto Rivera, 40, of Columbus: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, and firearms smuggling;

    Miguel Carrillo, 30, of Columbus: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, and firearms smuggling;

    Ricardo Gutierrez, 25, of Columbus: conspiracy, making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms, and firearms smuggling;

    Manuel Ortega, 25, of Palomas, Mexico: conspiracy and firearms smuggling;

    Vicente Carreon, 26, of Columbus: conspiracy and firearms smuggling; and

    Eva Lucie Gutierrez, 21, of Las Cruces: conspiracy and making false statements in connection with acquisition of firearms.

    John E. Murphy, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, and his El Paso Branch Office staff also assisted with the investigation. The Chihuahua State Police in Palomas, Mexico, and the Secretariat of Public Security in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, also supported the case.

    The U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), New Mexico State Police, the Las Cruces Police Department, the El Paso (Texas) Police Department, and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies also assisted.

    An indictment is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

    ICE is a 21st century law enforcement agency with broad responsibilities for a number of key homeland security priorities. For more information, visit www.ICE.gov . To report suspicious activity, call 1-866-347-2423.
    U.S. Dept of Homeland Security

    http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1103/1 ... cruces.htm
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 03-15-2012 at 03:32 PM.
    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

  8. #18
    Senior Member Mickey's Avatar
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    Mexico corruption and crime inside the United states. Who would have ever believed it could happen.

  9. #19
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    RELATED

    U.S. mayor, police chief charged with smuggling guns to Mexico

    http://www.alipac.us/ftopict-231157.html
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 03-15-2012 at 03:32 PM.
    NO AMNESTY

    DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS

    BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP

  10. #20
    Senior Member Pisces_2010's Avatar
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    An elderly man once told me, a person do not fight for something, unless they will be rewarded or benefited for their support. If there is nothing in the plot to reward, a man will not lend his support and he will not stick around.

    A quote from Robert.:
    When you aid and support criminals, you live a criminal life style yourself:

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