Journal Southern Bureau
LAS CRUCES – Four defendants in a Columbus gun-smuggling case that snared the mayor, a village trustee and the police chief were sentenced Tuesday to terms in federal prison ranging from two years to 90 months.
Among those sentenced was Gabriela Gutierrez, the wife of former trustee Blas Gutierrez, who has been described as the leader of a scheme to use straw buyers, or people who falsely presented themselves as the actual buyers of weapons, to supply Mexican cartels with about 200 firearms and ammunition between January 2010 and March 2011.
U.S. Judge Robert Brack sentenced a tearful Gabriela Gutierrez, a Mexican national with legal permanent residency in the United States and the mother of three, to two years in federal prison pursuant to a still-undisclosed plea agreement.
Other defendants who appeared before Brack on Tuesday were: Alberto Rivera, 42, sentenced to seven years and four months in prison, for acting as a straw buyer in the purchase of 50 weapons; Miguel Carrillo, 31, sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison for making straw purchases and participating in a smuggling conspiracy; and Manuel Ortega, a 26-year-old father of five sentenced to five years and 10 months for his role in smuggling at least 50 weapons to Mexico.