Regional
5:22 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

No Bail For Columbus Suspects

Las Cruces – A federal judge is denying bail for three officials from a small New Mexico border town who face charges in a gun smuggling investigation.

Prosecutors say Columbus Mayor Eddie Espinoza and town Trustee Blas Gutierrez purchased dozens of weapons that later turned up in a drug bust in Juarez, Mexico. Columbus Chief of Police Angelo Vega is charged with conspiracy to smuggle guns.

Nine other defendants were arraigned Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Las Cruces. Two of them, the only females in the group, were released on $10,000 bond each. Another defendant postponed his detention hearing. The rest were denied bail.

The defendants were arrested Thursday as law enforcement officers raided the Police Department, a gun shop and eight homes in the town 70 miles west of El Paso, Texas.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.