Judge Denies Release In Gun Smuggling Case

Las Cruces – A federal judge has refused an appeal from one of a dozen southern New Mexico residents held after being accused of taking part in a gun smuggling ring prosecutors say bought weapons to send to Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack last week declined to release Ian Garland of Chaparral, ruling he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

The mayor, police chief and a trustee from the tiny border community of Columbus also were among 12 people accused of engaging in a conspiracy to buy firearms to send to Mexico.

Federal prosecutors allege defendants bought about 200 firearms over 14 months from Garland's shop.

The suspended police chief, Angelo Vega, is set for a hearing Thursday in federal court in Las Cruces to appeal his detention.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.