Lawson tabbed Columbus Village Mayor, replacing accused gun trafficker
The former clerk of Columbus was elected Tuesday morning as Columbus Mayor, on a unanimous vote of the three Board of Trustees members.
Nicole Lawson, 36, a candidate for mayor when Eddie Espinoza was re-elected in 2010, was one of three people who submitted unsolicited letters of interest for the position.
Lawson took the oath of office Tuesday, administered by her father, Ron Fisher, Columbus’ Alternate Municipal Judge.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Lawson said, “and I will make the most of it. Given the state of the village, I did discuss it (candidacy) with my family, before I submitted a letter. I have the support of my family.”I think first-hand information is more important and more reliable, so I need to speak to each individual employee and each department head.”
Lawson, who resigned as Village Clerk effective January 2010, said she wants to hold a village meeting to hear residents’ concerns.
Columbus had been absent a mayor since Espinoza’s resignation at May’s end. Espinoza, Trustee Blas Gutierrez and Police Chief Angelo Vega were among a 12 people arrested March 10 on a federal indictment for gun smuggling.
Nicole Lawson is sworn in as Mayor of the Village of Columbus, New Mexico by her father, Ron Fisher, the alternate village Municipal Judge. (James E. Efferson Photo)
About those gun smugglers:
The U.S. attorney for Western Texas has taken over the firearms trafficking case against officials from the Town of Columbus and others.I wonder when or whether we will find out the reason.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Mexico, which brought the indictments against then-Mayor Eddie Espinosa, then-Police Chief Angelo Vega, City Trustee Blas Gutierrez and nine others, referred all questions to the Texas office.
Daryl Fields, public affairs officer for the West Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office, told nmpolitics.net the case was transferred but wouldn’t say why.
“I can confirm to you that the case you are inquiring about will now be supervised by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas,” he said. “No further comment will be made at this time.”
Did the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico have a conflict that hampered its prosecution of the case? Or is there another reason for the transfer? C.J. McElhinney, attorney for Blas Gutierrez, called the transfer “highly unusual” but said prosecutors in New Mexico and Texas wouldn’t explain the reason to him.