Monday, April 28, 2014

Former New Mexico Police Chief Angelo Vega Allegedly On Cartel's Payroll

A former police chief in a New Mexico border town collected more than $2,000 a month from the Juarez Cartel in exchange for protection and help with smuggling drugs and guns, a former town official testified Wednesday. Blas "Woody" Gutierrez, the former Columbus village trustee, told a federal court that former Police Chief Angelo Vega also received $1,500 each time he allowed cartel members to use village vehicles, including police cruisers, for the syndicate's various operations, the Albuquerque Journal reported ( ). Vega is the key prosecution witness in the case against Burnett, the husband of Assistant U.S. Attorney Paula Burnett, who has not been charged with any crime. Vega testified Wednesday that he didn't remember exactly how much he was paid or how long he worked for the cartel. But he admitted running background checks and license plates at the request of cartel members and buying military gear at law enforcement supply stores for members of the Juarez Cartel and its enforcement arm, La Linea. Gutierrez said Vega told him that he had a friend whose wife worked in the U.S. Attorney's Office and that the friend told Vega their telephones were tapped. Gutierrez said he was not sure Vega was telling the truth until the two men met in Columbus and Vega destroyed his new phone in front of Gutierrez. "He did it to show he wasn't messing around," Gutierrez said. Gutierrez also testified that Vega claimed his friend could make the case go away for $20,000...more

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