Former police chief, Angelo Vega
Columbus has abolished its police department and will now fully depend on the Luna County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement within the village…”We’ve always been down there,” Sheriff Raymond Cobos said. “We will shift our assets.”
“We are entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Luna County Sheriff’s Office to maintain adequate coverage for the municipality,” Columbus Mayor Nicole Lawson said.
On Monday, sheriff’s department officials were going over the inventory and vehicle list from the village’s former police department. In a vote prior to abolishing the department, the trustees also abolished the village’s code enforcement and animal control components. In New Mexico, licensed law enforcement officers are allowed to enforce code enforcement and animal control standards…
In another twist for the village, incarcerated former trustee Blas Guitierrez submitted his letter of resignation on Friday, July 8. He is one of 12, including former Mayor Eddie Espinoza and former police chief Angelo Vega, who were arrested for their alleged roles in a gun smuggling ring…
Espinoza submitted his resignation in late May following the March 10 early morning raid that led to the arrest of the village officials. Vega is still on paid leave pending his resignation or a guilty verdict.
Lawson said it is too soon to tell just how far in the red the village is, a reflection on how disorganized the books were when Lawson took over earlier in July.
An typical example of how the corruption of Mexican drug gangs and Mexican officials and law enforcement — easily extends into the United States side of the border. The mayor and chief of police of Columbus, New Mexico used their standing in local government to run guns across the border for months before capture.