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New Mexico town dissolves police dept after gun smuggling scandal

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Mayor: Mr Espinoza was one of 11 people arrested in the New Mexico raid, which follows an investigation of federal firearms and drug trafficking allegations.

It’s not often you hear of a village police chief being arrested by authorities in a raid.

But even more sensationally in Columbus, the mayor and a council member have also been arrested with him on drug and weapons charges.

Eddie Espinoza, Angelo Vega and Jose Blas Gutierrez are all being held after they were among 11 people arrested on Thursday in the historic New Mexico village.

The raid follows an investigation of federal firearms and drug trafficking allegations, officers told the Las Cruces Sun-News.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration carried out the raid with state police.

It was conducted on a number locations including Mr Espinoza’s house and up to five homes remained surrounded on Thursday.

Columbus is located two miles north of the international border with Mexico and the Luna County Sheriff’s Office will now be helping to patrol the village.

Mr Vega took over as Columbus police chief in April 2009, when he said in an interview that any illegal activity linked to drug activity will be met with imprisonment.

He is the village’s seventh police chief since Mr Espinoza was elected mayor in 2006.

Columbus has a population of around 1,800 and the average resident is 28 years old, with a median household income of $17,600 and a median house price of $65,100.

The village, which was first established in 1891, is known for hosting the worst foreign attack on continental America in 1916 until the World Trade Centre fell on 9/11.

General Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa’s cross-border raid with 500 Mexican revolutionaries killed 18 Americans, enraged the U.S. and almost even started a war with Mexico.


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