Witness: Former Columbus Police Chief Was On Cartel Payroll

Sep 26, 2013

A former Columbus, New Mexico trustee says his former police chief collected more than $2,000 a month from the Juarez Cartel and allowed its members to use the city's police cruisers.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that former Columbus village trustee Blas "Woody" Gutierrez testified Wednesday that former Police Chief Angelo Vega received $1,500 each time he allowed the cartel members to use village vehicles, including police cruisers, for drug and guns smuggling.

Gutierrez faces 10 years in federal prison for his guilty plea linked to a border gun smuggling ring.

Vega is the key prosecution witness in the case against Danny Burnett, who is charged with leaking information about a federal wiretap investigation in a Columbus gun and drug smuggling ring.

Burnett has pleaded not guilty, and his wife, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paula Burnett, has not been charged with any crime.

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