Former Columbus Mayor Gets 4 Years for Smuggling

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The former mayor of the New Mexico border town of Columbus has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for his role in a gun smuggling ring that prosecutors say shipped nearly 200 guns to Mexican drug cartels.

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack in Las Cruces on Thursday sentenced 52-year-old Eddie Espinoza to 51 months in federal prison. Espinoza, former Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega and former town trustee Blas Gutierrez were among a dozen defendants who have pleaded guilty in the case. Espinoza was the fourth to be sentenced.

Espinoza pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of making false statements in the acquisition of firearms and three counts of smuggling firearms from the United States. He faced up to 65 years in prison.

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