Note: how it's seen there
Columbus, New Mexico struggles after gun-smuggling case wipes out
By Reyes Mata III \ Las Cruces Sun-News
Posted: 01/23/2012 12:00:00 AM MST
COLUMBUS -- When federal agencies raided this small New Mexico town
last year to stop a gun-smuggling operation they allege was sending
guns into Mexico's drug war, they left a trail of indictments that
gutted city leadership -- including the police department -- and
turned residents leery of having outside law enforcement patrol it.
"There were two police early this morning giving tickets, making
people late for work," complained Alejandro Zapata, a resident of
Columbus for more than 20 years. He pointed to a street corner where,
he said, New Mexico State Police were handing out citations last
week. "People said somebody put out a report that we needed more
police. We don't. We have our policeman, and it's Ojeda. We don't
need any more than him."
The Ojeda to whom he is referring is Jose Ojeda, a corporal from the
Luna County Sheriff's Department who, in July, was reassigned from
Deming to patrol Columbus, about 50 miles to the south.
Ojeda has been patrolling the estimated 750 homes in Columbus since
July 7. That's the day the Village Council voted to dissolve its
police department after Police Chief Angelo Vega, Mayor Eddie
Espinoza, and trustee Blas Gutierrez were among 11 defendants charged
in an 84-count federal indictment that ultimately linked them to the
Sheriff takes over
When the five-member Columbus police force was eradicated, Luna
County Sheriff Raymond Cobos moved to absorb their patrol routes,
creating a plan to keep Columbus
monitored 24 hours a day with Luna County deputies.
"Once the police chief was arrested, and the mayor and other
individuals, we got involved because there was no law enforcement,"
said Luna County Sheriff's Department Capt. Arturo Baeza, a spokesman
for the department.
Since then, the Luna County Sheriff's Department has racked up
expenses of between $17,000 and $18,000 a month to pay the salaries,
overtime and fuel costs.
Baeza added that Columbus would most likely be a permanent part of
the sheriff's patrol because "I don't see them ever getting a police
department ever back on its feet."
The presence of Luna County sheriff's deputies would be a problem for
some people, Baeza said.
One of these is Walter Simpson, a resident of more than 30 years and
a captain with the Columbus Fire Department. Simpson said he doesn't
like the assumption from Luna County that his town will not ever be
able to have its own police department.
"That's the way (Sheriff) Cobos would like it, too. He would like
total control of us down here. He would like us to be under his
thumb," said Simpson, who was adamant that one day Columbus would
sort out its finances and reopen its police department.
"It's going to happen. We are very positive down here, regardless of
what people think. When I say people, I'm talking about the people in
Deming," said Simpson. "They have always treated us like a red-headed
stepchild. And I'm talking about the county. We are going to be just
Nicole Lawson, appointed as Columbus mayor in June to replace her
jail-bound predecessor, is the town's 37-year-old emergency medical
technician who is now assigned to clean up the town's finances.
The task, she said, is difficult.
"It's frustrating, and it's hard. I have such dedicated workers, and
I have to send them home," she said about staff who is working late
to help her. "I understand me staying late. But I have a mom of three
in there working until midnight, then up at six and doing it again."
Before Columbus can consider starting its own police force again,
Lawson said finances would have to be straightened out, and the city
would need to become profitable. To do this, she said a 30-year loan
for $700,000 might be necessary. She also said a forensic audit into
the town's money trail is part of fixing its woes.
"Somebody will be held responsible for what happened" to the town's
finances, said Lawson, whose term ends in March 2014.
Lawson said she can understand why people here are frustrated by the
myriad problems engulfing Columbus.
"I share your frustration," she said, when asked what message she
would send to her town. "Please don't give up. Stay involved. This is
your community. Don't ever close your eyes or back down. The money
that goes to that office is your money. The things that are done
should be done to serve you."
Reyes Mata III may be reached at email@example.com, 575-541-5405.
Note: have to wonder how well prepared federal and local law
enforcement are prepared to deal with these.
Germany's KMW Buys Armored Civil Vehicle Producer
Jan. 23, 2012 - 02:23PM |
By ALBRECHT MÜLLER | Comments
BONN — German tank maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has reached an
agreement with the EDAG Group to take over its production of armored
KMW announced the deal Jan. 23, saying the purchase of the German
automotive development specialist still requires approval by the
The acquisition is a move by KMW to strengthen its role in the market
for protected military wheeled and tracked vehicles using EDAG's
technologies, as well as developing activities in the highly
protected civil vehicles sector.
The acquisition also complements KMW's strategic activities to
establish itself in Central and South America. EDAG manufactures its
protection systems at sites in Ingolstadt, Germany, as well as a
facility in Mexico.
"The extension of our numerous protection activities through the EDAG
protection branch is a logical step and, with a view to the site in
Mexico, a consistent continuation of our Central and South America
strategy," Frank Haun, chief executive and president of KMW, said in
a press statement.
The EDAG protection business develops and integrates ballistic
protection systems for civil vehicles produced by a range of global
Note: Sinaloa update 15 killed in third week of Jan.
Matan a 15 personas en tercera semana de enero
En lo que va del Gobierno de Mario López Valdez han matado a 1,965
Con 15 asesinatos, entre ellos el de un empleado de una ferretería
propiedad del Gobernador y un iraquí vinculado con el cartel de
Sinaloa, terminó la tercera semana de enero.
Esta es la segunda semana del mes y del año en que los homicidios
dolosos muestran una baja considerable, ya que
el año pasado un promedio de entre 25 y 35 personas eran asesinadas
por semana. Estadísticas de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del
Estado indican que en este año ya suman 60 homicidios y mil 965 en lo
que va de la administración del gobernador Mario López Valdez.
El 'malovazo' La semana pasada se registró un ataque contra una
ferretería Malova, propiedad del Gobernador, en Mazatlán. El atentado
dejó como saldo un trabajador muerto y uno más lesionado.
La agresión ocurrió el miércoles cuando dos individuos armados
ingresaron al local y dispararon contra los empleados e intentaron
incendiar el inmueble. El propio Gobernador consideró el atentado
como una reacción de la delincuencia por la detención de seis
presuntos secuestradores vinculados con el cartel Beltrán Leyva,
antes en el puerto.
El sábado por la mañana encontraron muertos a dos de los seis
presuntos secuestradores en el Centro de Ejecución
de las Consecuencias Jurídicas del Delito de Mazatlán.
La Secretaría de Seguridad Pública aseguró que fallecieron por
sobredosis de droga. Pero no se ha descartado el
En Culiacán durante la madrugada del lunes asesinaron a balazos a un
iraquí nacionalizado canadiense, en las inmediaciones de la central
De acuerdo con las autoridades de Canadá, Salih Abdulaziz Sahbaz, era
un miembro de alto rango de la pandilla Naciones Unidad que fungía
como enlace de ese grupo con el cártel de Sinaloa.
El más reciente homicidio registrado fue en Mazatlán donde un joven
fue acuchillado presuntamente por varios jovenes la madrugada de ayer
en el cruce del Bulevar Toledo Corro y la calle Perla,
entre los fraccionamientos Santa Esmeralda y Los Sauces, a unos 50
metros de una caseta de la Policía Municipal.
La víctima fue identificado como Cruz Alfredo "N"., de 17 años, y con
domicilio en la Colonia Salvador Allende del puerto, informó personal
de instituciones que tomaron conocimiento de los hechos. El hecho fue
reportado alrededor de las 1:15 horas de ayer.
De los homicidios cometidos entre el lunes 16 y el domingo 22, en
Culiacán se registraron cinco, en Mocorito cinco, en Mazatlán dos,
Ahome y el Fuerte uno.
MUNICIPIO NÚMERO DE VÍCTIMAS
n Culiacán 6
n Mocorito 5
n Mazatlán 2
n Ahome 1
n El Fuerte 1