COLUMBUS, NM (KRQE) - Federal prosecutors are making damning new claims about the Columbus, New Mexico police chief.
He's one of several officials from that small border town busted in a weapons smuggling ring.
Chief Angelo Vega is one of a dozen people arrested in March as part of what federal agents claim was a large conspiracy to run guns across the border to Mexican drug gangs. So far, Vega is charged with only one count.
In federal court Thursday, his lawyer argued that Vega should be released on electronic monitoring.
But a prosecutor countered that Vega "is not a one count fringe player." He claimed Vega was in the conspiracy's back pocket and was paid $20,000 in protection money. He also said Vega was using police vehicles to run and traffic firearms. The prosecutor went on to contend that Vega was using his police credentials to buy bullet proof vests and tactical gear and send them to the cartel in Mexico.
After hearing all that, the judge refused to let Vega out of jail, saying the disgraced chief is a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Meanwhile, there's a new example of just how widespread gun running to Mexico is. Border agents stopped a southbound van at an El Paso crossing on Tuesday and found 148 AK-47 magazines and 6,000 rounds of ammunition hidden inside.
Despite all that, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insisted at a Washington forum Friday that the border is not out of control. She claimed that increased manpower is paying off. ""I think the amount of resources we put at the border with mexico shows how serious this administration is," Napolitano said. She added that she realizes the work is not done, but she insisted the border is not overrun or out of control as some critics charge.
The border city of Juarez is definitely out of control. Gunmen walked into a bar there Thursday night, opened fire and killed eight people.
The popular Capulin Snow Play Area near Sandia Peak will be closed for the second year in a row.
While the roads were looking clearer late Thursday afternoon in the Albuquerque area, they could get dangerous again as temperatures drop later in the evening.
New details were released Thursday in Albuquerque's latest police shooting.
The southeast part of the state is getting hit hard with winter weather.
Our four-legged friends need help this holiday season.
The Sunland Peanut Company just can’t seem to catch a break.