LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The former mayor of a New Mexico border town has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for his role in a smuggling ring that prosecutors say shipped nearly 200 guns to Mexican drug cartels.
U.S. District Judge Robert Brack on Thursday sentenced Eddie Espinoza to 51 months in federal prison. The 52-year-old former mayor of Columbus, N.M., had faced up to 65 years in prison.
Espinoza, former Columbus police chief Angelo Vega and former town trustee Blas Gutierrez were among a dozen defendants who pleaded guilty in the case. Espinoza was the fourth to be sentenced.
He 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.