A one-time border police chief collected payments from the Juarez Cartel in exchange for running background checks and license plates and buying military gear for the Mexican cartel, he testified Wednesday.
Former Columbus (N.M.) Police Chief Angelo Vega made those admissions as the central witness in a federal wiretapping trial targeting Danny Burnett, a former school superintendent accused of leaking information about a federal probe of a gun and drug smuggling ring, reports the Albuquerque Journal.
Vega was arrested in March of 2011 during a federal raid targeting the Barrio Azteca street gang. A federal affidavit later accused him of purchasing more than 200 guns from a local firearms dealer over a 14-month period as a straw purchaser.
Vega was collecting $40,000 a year as police chief of the small village. At the same time, he collected $2,000 a month plus bonuses in $100 bills. Vega reported to former village trustee Blas "Woody" Gutierrez, who asked Mayor Eddie Espinosa to approach Vega about working for the cartel in 2010.
Vega allowed cartel operatives to use police vehicles to deliver drugs, pick up guns and pick up proceeds from marijuana sales.