NM town swamped in corruption abolishes police department

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.

4 thoughts on “NM town swamped in corruption abolishes police department

  1. E Trams says:

    Par for the course, this example of corruption is nothing compared to what goes on in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is from top to bottom. The corruption goes unprosecuted and takes place in broad daylight. The citizenry and particularly non-natives are not safe nor are their civil rights in New Mexico.

    • Shawn R. Behrens says:

      I was incarcerated for 31 days on a littering charge. I was also accused of a DWI for which I did not stick around to see what the penalty might be . The manner of transfer of myself from one jail to the other had me convinced that I was about to be executed. I lost everything I possessed after the 31 days with the exception of a couple hundred bucks in an account that I was able to use to bail myself out of the second jail. I was scared enough to run and never look back. After 12 years of losing job after job and countless other monies due to these charges , I am faced with the possibility of losing my latest job with Honeywell FM&T in Kansas City Mo. if I can not resolve these issues soon. I am not any further in my efforts to resolve this case than I was 12 years ago. I don’t know where to turn anymore.

      • Don Smith says:

        Contact lawyer Alan Maestas out of Taos New Mexico. He may be able to assist you or point you in the right direction. Ask for a free consult and see how he can help you or find a referral to a lawyer who can help you. It’s worth it if you can afford it and yoir case can likely get easily dismissed or even be able to sue for wrongful conviction. Be empowered and don’t let this hurt your future. New Mexico is the worst place on earth – at least it seems like it. We are getting out too. Taos county is awful. Get a good lawyer and this will help you!

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