Ex-NM police chief pleads guilty in firearms care

AP News
Posted: Aug 26, 2011 12:12 PM
Ex-NM police chief pleads guilty in firearms care

The former police chief of the small New Mexico border town of Columbus has pleaded guilty to federal charges he helped smuggle guns into Mexico.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Angelo Vega appeared Thursday before a federal magistrate in Las Cruces in a change of plea hearing.

The town's former mayor, a former town trustee and nearly a dozen other people already have pleaded guilty in the case.

Prosecutors say Vega faces up to 35 years in prison sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy, smuggling and public corruption charges. A sentencing date hasn't been set.

Columbus is just north of Palomas, Mexico, which has seen increasing violence as drug cartels wage war against one another, the Mexican Army and police.