The wife of a Columbus village trustee indicted last week on charges related to being part of an illegal firearms trafficking ring has become the 12th person charged in the case.
Gabriela Gutierrez, the wife of trustee Blas Gutierrez, was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center around 1 a.m. Saturday. She is charged with making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, adding and abetting, and conspiracy.
You can read the criminal complaint filed by Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Moisés Maldonado by clicking here.
According to the complaint, federal investigators learned of Gabriela Gutierrez’s involvement in the case from one of the defendants indicted and arrested last week – someone who is identified in the criminal complaint only as a confidential source.
Gabriela Gutierrez, like the other defendants, is alleged to have been involved in the purchasing of firearms for trafficking into Mexico. On Thursday – the day indictments against the other 11 defendants were unsealed and 10 were arrested – agents served a search warrant at the home of Blas and Gabriela Gutierrez. There, according to the complaint, they found Gabriela Gutierrez “attempting to hide bulk cash on her person and within her children’s shoes.”
“It is affiant’s belief Gabriela Gutierrez was attempting to keep the special agents searching her residence from seizing the bulk cash,” the complaint states.
Though Gabriela Gutierrez has been charged, she has not been indicted by a grand jury.
Her husband faces 37 counts including one count of conspiracy, 17 counts of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, and 19 counts of firearms smuggling. Blas Gutierrez’s sister and cousin are also charged in the case, as are Columbus Mayor Eddie Espinoza and Police Chief Angelo Vega.
Blas Gutierrez’s attorney said Sunday that the charges against him are politically motivated.
One defendant in the case, Ignacio Villalobos of Columbus, remains at large. Most of the others are scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. Read the full indictment here.