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Former N.M. Chief On Cartel Payroll

September 26, 2013  | 

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.

Tags: Juarez Cartel, Police Chiefs, Police Corruption, Gun Trafficking


Comments (19)

Displaying 1 - 19 of 19

JJ @ 9/26/2013 4:08 PM

This guy needs to be hung in the street close enough to the border for his friends to witness!

Captain Steve @ 9/26/2013 4:26 PM

Inexcusable, but not surprised. How can you pay a police chief $40k per year and expect him to toe the line in a border environment where the temptation is so great ? Shame on him. He sold his integrity, career and will go to prison for an extra $2k per month. Shame also on the city fathers who think they can get a qualified, ethical and honest police chief for a pittance. I bet the manager at the local McDonald's makes that much.

Chuck @ 9/26/2013 4:29 PM

So how is the background check gonna spot a straw purchaser. If people want guns theyll get them. Thanks for selling us out A-hole. I hope your cell mate is 13 inches long and round as a beer can

Boston @ 9/26/2013 4:32 PM

You will always find a few bad apples. See folks this is how it works we complain about the Mexican Police being corrupt and on the take from Cartels. Look like this crap has started in this country too.

Ex-Border Patrolman @ 9/26/2013 5:51 PM

No big shock, that kind of thing has been going on in Columbus, NM for decades. It's "plata o plomo" - silver or lead. The village is a mile north of the border; across the fence is Las Palomas - smuggling down there is a way of life.

gary @ 9/26/2013 9:04 PM

He sold his badge for only 2G a month?
I know officers that make a lot less than $40G than would not have been tempted.
It is the character of the person, not the temptation, that keep you honest.

Tom V @ 9/27/2013 4:14 AM

I don't care if he made 40 K or 140 K a year. The worst thing is that he broke an oath to serve his Vllage,State&Country. You just don't break it, period, regardless of the temptation. This is the kind of news that should be making it to the national level, but it won't because it will not serve any political agenda of those in power. America needs to wake up and smell the coffee. I would have no problem with my federal tax dollars supporting special ops across the border to eradicate this disease. Before anybody crys about the international politics, ask yourself one question. Does the Mexican government know this is going on ? If so, what have they done about it, and why don't they want to work with the US government to eliminate it ? Betcha some more of that dirty drug bribery money.

Tom

Tom V @ 9/27/2013 4:14 AM

I don't care if he made 40 K or 140 K a year. The worst thing is that he broke an oath to serve his Vllage,State&Country. You just don't break it, period, regardless of the temptation. This is the kind of news that should be making it to the national level, but it won't because it will not serve any political agenda of those in power. America needs to wake up and smell the coffee. I would have no problem with my federal tax dollars supporting special ops across the border to eradicate this disease. Before anybody crys about the international politics, ask yourself one question. Does the Mexican government know this is going on ? If so, what have they done about it, and why don't they want to work with the US government to eliminate it ? Betcha some more of that dirty drug bribery money.

Tom

Boston @ 9/27/2013 5:40 AM

@TomV because of this drug and gun mess some people on our side of the border is making big money. Our USG does not want it to stop. I have an old DEA friend who told me the only way this will stop is when the demand for drugs are gone and education is the only way to prevent it from spreading. Sex education and prayer is more of a issue then teaching kids about the dangers of drugs. What starts out as a social fun night ends up for most a life of misery.

Ima Leprechaun @ 9/27/2013 7:10 AM

I fnd this to be normal behavior for New Mexico Law Enforcement he is just the only one to get caught...so far.

Really? @ 9/27/2013 7:35 AM

This guys committed TREASON, and should be dealt with on the most severest level!

S.S. @ 9/27/2013 8:35 AM

Im an e.p.p.D P.D. officer and Las Cruces is not that far from us. Those guys are very hard working professionals. They do know what they're doing. It's what this one a**hole did and what he did to the state of N.M. cause there are always gonna be A**holes and shitheads like Ima Leprashit who thinks. Yet i'm pretty sure has never even left his mommy and daddy's basement, FREAK. Get a life and a job, just not in L.E. Ima Leprashit is worthless and none of his posts should even be put on the sight. The guys a bum. Hope that chief gets what he deserves and punishment be sought to the fullest extent of the law.

LawMan5643 @ 9/27/2013 9:12 AM

The bad part is that I'm sure he started out with good intentions, but 40K as the Chief of Police is too small for anyone with any type of experience. Besides this Government of ours has to be in on it! You can't tell me that we can put men on the moon but can't stop drugs from coming across the border.

Capt. Crunch @ 9/27/2013 9:28 AM

Tax payers sholud not have to pay a large sum of money to keep a person honest. This A**hole should be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Capt. Crunch @ 9/27/2013 9:28 AM

Tax payers sholud not have to pay a large sum of money to keep a person honest. This A**hole should be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Dennis @ 9/27/2013 10:34 AM

ima leprechaun why would you make such a stupid general statement. You must not be or ever have been law enforcement. After 30 years of service most of it in NM I would not make such a statement. Yes there are bad cops out there and I would love to take someone like this down HARD. But you sir are an idiot based on this post and others. Must be one of the stupid people. Meanwhile a vast majority of NM law enforcement are fighting the good fight.

Dave @ 9/27/2013 11:32 AM

Ima Leprechan,,,your a clewless individual, stop wasting my reading time with your constant diatribe of "all cops are bad",,,,

Boston @ 9/28/2013 6:31 AM

Ima find another place to hang out! This is for people who respect law enforcement.

Kerri Leclair @ 9/6/2014 12:21 PM

20 years ago in Capitan, my grandfather(almost 80 years old at the time) was murdered. Deputy Angelo Vega was one of the first on scene. Several months later he was sent to question a man who had admitted to killing my grandfather with a piece of firewood. After a long drive he apparently did not want to be bothered. After intimidating this individual,(with witnesses there) he was told absolutely nothing!! My grandfathers case is still unsolved.

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