Border Town Mayor Pleads Guilty To Arms Trafficking
July 14, 2011

The former mayor of a New Mexico border village has pleaded guilty to arms trafficking charges.

Columbus mayor Eddie Espinoza pleaded guilty earlier this week to participating in a gun smuggling ring in which investigators say some 200 weapons were trafficked into Mexico. Federal authorities arrested Espinoza in March together with Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega and Village Trustee Blas Gutierrez.

The former mayor faces up to 65 years in prison under charges of gun smuggling, conspiracy and making false statements. He and other village officials remain in federal detention.

The village of Columbus recently dissolved their police department because of budget constraints.

Mexican drug cartels routinely pay straw purchasers in the United States to smuggle weapons across the border. In five years of drug related violence throughout Mexico, some 40,000 people have died.

Columbus, New Mexico