US Begins To FLY Wetbacks Home To Mexico – Illegal Immigrants Previously Bussed To Mexican Border Towns, Now Thousands – Many Of Them Criminals, Will Be Flown In Luxury To Mexico City At US Taxpayer Expense

October 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. government began flying Mexican deportees home on Tuesday in a two-month experiment aimed at relieving Mexican border cities overwhelmed by large numbers of people ordered to leave the United States, some who fall prey to criminal gangs.

The flights will run twice a week from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City until Nov. 29, at which time both governments will evaluate the results and decide whether to continue. The first flight left Tuesday with 131 Mexicans aboard.

The flights are not voluntary, unlike a previous effort from 2004 to 2011 to deport Mexicans arrested by the Border Patrol during Arizona’s deadly summer heat. The U.S. government will pay for the flights, and the Mexican government will pay to return people from Mexico City to their hometowns.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary said late Tuesday that more than 2,400 passengers will be flown to Mexico City during the next two months. Mexicans from the country’s northern border states are not eligible.

The experiment comes as Mexican cities along the U.S. border are grappling with large numbers of deportees who have no roots, few job prospects and sometimes limited Spanish. Many are deported to cities that are among the hardest hit by organized crime in Mexico, particularly across the border from Texas in the state of Tamaulipas.

“The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming part of criminal organizations as a means of survival,” Gustavo Mohar, Mexico’s interior undersecretary for population, migration and religious affairs, said in a statement released by ICE.

ICE Director John Morton said the flights “will better ensure that individuals repatriated to Mexico are removed in circumstances that are safe and controlled.”

ICE, which is managing the flights, said passengers will include Mexicans with criminal convictions in the United States and those who don’t have any. They will be taken from throughout the United States to a processing center in Chaparral, N.M., before being put on flights at El Paso International Airport.

President Barack Obama’s administration has made migrants with criminal convictions a top priority among the roughly 400,000 people of all nationalities who are deported each year. The Department of Homeland Security said nearly half of the 293,966 Mexicans deported in its last fiscal year had criminal convictions in the United States.

The policy has fueled concern in Mexican cities along the U.S. border that deportees are being victimized, turn to petty crime or are recruited by criminal gangs. In February, Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Mexican Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire announced plans for a pilot program, which was to begin April 1, but negotiations delayed the start until Tuesday. Homeland Security officials said the time was needed considering the complexities and logistics of the effort.

The Border Patrol will not participate in the flights, which is called the Interior Repatriation Initiative, said ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas.

Under a previous effort, some Mexicans who were arrested by the Border Patrol in Arizona’s stifling summer heat were offered a free flight to Mexico City, but they could refuse. The Mexican Interior Repatriation Program flights carried 125,164 passengers at a cost of $90.6 million from 2004 to 2011, or an average of $724 for each passenger, according to ICE.

The flights became a key piece of Border Patrol enforcement in Arizona as the agency moved to end its decades-old, revolving-door policy of taking migrants to the nearest border crossing to try again hours later.

Doris Meissner, who headed the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 1990s, said the pilot program was an encouraging sign that that two governments are working together to address the large number of deportees in Mexico’s northern border cities.

“It makes it less likely these people will try to renter the U.S. … and it creates some chance that they are in an environment where they actually have some ties,” she said.

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Vaughn New Mexico’s Police Force Has One Certified Police Officer – A Drug Sniffing Dog – Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo Quits After News Stories About His Not Being Able To Carry A Gun Because Of Criminal Background – Owes Tens Of Thousands In Child Support And Faces New Felony Charges

September 27, 2012

VAUGHN, NEW MEXICO – The police chief of the small eastern New Mexico town of Vaughn resigned Wednesday, leaving the town with just one certified member on its police force — a drug-sniffing dog named Nikka.

Dave Romero, attorney for the town, said Wednesday that police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo decided to step down after news stories reported that he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun because of his criminal background.

“He decided the attention was distracting,” Romero said.

State officials said Armijo couldn’t carry a gun since acknowledging that he owed tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments in Texas. Armijo also faces new felony charges after being accused of selling a town-owned rifle and pocketing the cash.

Romero said Armijo is working to clear up the latest case. He said Armijo has not ruled out seeking the police chief’s position again if his case is resolved and the position is open.

According to records, the only qualified member of the Vaughn Police Department is Nikka, a drug-sniffing dog. Vaughn’s other officer isn’t certified and pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery last year. Noncertified officers can’t make arrests and can’t carry firearms.

But Romero said not having an officer qualified to carry a gun didn’t put Vaughn at risk. “England doesn’t allow police officers to carry guns,” he said. “Sometime the strongest weapon in law enforcement is communication.”

Vaughn, a town of about 450 located 104 miles east of Albuquerque, is a quiet town that is an overnight stop for railroad workers. And while residents say there is no crime problem, the town is set deep in what U.S. Homeland Security Investigations officials say is an isolated region of the state popular with drug traffickers. Officials say the desolate roads in Guadalupe County make it hard for authorities to catch smugglers moving drugs from Mexico.

Guadalupe County Sheriff Michael Lucero said since news about the police chief’s record became public his department has helped patrol Vaughn. But he said those efforts have put a slight strain on his already short-staffed department.

“I visit the town at least once a month,” said Lucero. “The important thing is to keep a presence so residents know we’re there to help if we’re needed.”

Romero said town officials are considering whether to hire another police chief or keep the department staffed with just one officer. He said it’s unclear whether the town will keep the police dog, which had been in Armijo’s care.

When approached by a reporter from The Associated Press at his Vaughn home, Armijo said he had no comment, and he declined to grant access to the canine for photographs or video.

The dog’s kennel could be seen in Armijo’s backyard, and a police truck marked “K-9” was parked in his driveway.

At Penny’s Diner, residents said they were embarrassed by the attention the episode has put on the small town.

“There’s just a whole lot of nothing going on here,” said cook Joyce Tabor. “We have very little crime. It’s quiet. So this really doesn’t matter.”

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Pedophile Portales New Mexico Police Officer Victo Castillo Arrested And Charged With Sexual Misconduct With Underage Girls – Fired

August 31, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO — A former Portales police officer has been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with underage girls.

New Mexico State Police say 45-year-old Victor Castillo was taken into custody Friday. He’s being held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond on suspicion of 31 felony charges.

Authorities say Castillo was assigned as the Portales Public School Resource Officer from Jan. 8 to May 25.

During that span, Castillo allegedly manufactured, possessed and/or distributed sexually explicit photos and videos of at least two female Portales High School students who are under 18.

Authorities say Castillo allegedly provided alcohol to female students and engaged in sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student he met while working at Portales High.

Portales police say Castillo was fired on July 13. It’s unclear if Castillo has a lawyer.

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Portales New Mexico Police Officer Mkel Aguilar Quits After On-Duty Sex In Patrol Car Gets His State Certification Suspended

August 4, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO – Portales Police Officer Mikel Aguilar has resigned after a New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy board announced his certification has been suspended.

Lt. Mark Cage says Aguilar resigned to “pursue other endeavors,” and the department had not received any formal notification on the officer’s certification status.

According to the board, Aguilar’s certification was suspended for having sex in a police vehicle while on duty with the Roswell Police Department. His employment ended there in 2011.

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Former Portales New Mexico Police And School Resource Officer Victor Castillo Arrested, Charged With Multiple Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children – Only Worked At The School For Three Months, But Faces Laundry List Of Charges

August 4, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO – A former Portales police officer has been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with underage girls.

New Mexico State Police say 45-year-old Victor Castillo was taken into custody Friday. He’s being held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond on suspicion of 31 felony charges.

Authorities say Castillo was assigned as the Portales Public School Resource Officer from Jan. 8 to May 25.

During that span, Castillo allegedly manufactured, possessed and/or distributed sexually explicit photos and videos of at least two female Portales High School students who are under 18.

Authorities say Castillo allegedly provided alcohol to female students and engaged in sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student he met while working at Portales High.

Portales police say Castillo was fired on July 13. It’s unclear if Castillo has a lawyer.

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Roswell New Mexico Police Officer Stephanie Coon Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Drunk Driving – Wife Of Former Officer Justin Coon, Convicted Of Using Stolen ID’s To Obtain Drugs Used To Make Meth

July 7, 2012

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO — A Roswell police officer who is the daughter-in-law of Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon is facing drunken driving charges.

Stephanie Coon was arrested early Friday morning after authorities say she hit a car in Roswell. Police say when they looked in the car, they found an open liquor container.

According to the police report, Coon refused a breath test and has been charged with aggravated DWI. She has been placed on administrative leave.

Coon is the wife of former Roswell Officer Justin Coon, who was sentenced to five years of probation for using stolen IDs to obtain drugs commonly used to make meth. He was eventually fired.

It was unclear if Stephanie Coon had an attorney.

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Neither Of Vaughn New Mexico’s Criminal Cops Allowed To Carry A Firearm

June 29, 2012

VAUGHN, NEW MEXICO – Freight trains still rumble through Vaughn, NM just like they have since the 1800s.

There are two schools, and a couple of bars and restaurants. Hoteliers still rent rooms to travelers even though few tourists stay overnight.

There’s little traffic and not much crime in this sleepy little town that 500 people call home.

Ranchers, farmers and business owners all support the second amendment.

Many own guns.

But not everyone in town has the right to carry a firearm – including the city’s only two police officers.

After run-ins with the law, both lawmen’s holsters are empty.

New Mexico State Police arrested Vaughn Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo last summer after a grand jury in Texas indicted him for criminal nonsupport of his ex-wife and two young sons.

Armijo owed his first family more than $52,000. That amount was adjusted to $40,000 after he reached a plea deal with Randall County prosecutors.

“I was unable to make the amount that was being required and I got behind. Its hard, because if you’re not making enough to do it then what do you do?” Armijo told KOB. “It’s something I didn’t take care of and I know that I should have.”

Armijo, who’s annual salary is less than $30,000, got five years probation and was ordered to start making monthly payments to help support his 10 and 12 year old sons.

Texas officials also waived a standard condition of probation and decided to allow Armijo to carry a firearm.

Armijo requested his probation be supervised under a compact between New Mexico and Texas. It was approved, but New Mexico probation officials did not recognize the gun waiver Texas offered Armijo.

Unable to own a gun or any ammunition, Armijo sold an assault rifle to Guadalupe Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Sanchez in January.

Sanchez told a state police officer he purchased the AR-15 from Armijo for $250.

Nothing in the Armijo’s probation conditions prohibit Armijo from owning a dog.

But, State Police are investigating if Armijo used his K-9 during traffic stops.

They are also investigating an allegation Armijo may have used drugs from an evidence vault as a tool to train his K-9 dog — A dog the state says Armijo is not certified to handle.

In May, Director of the State Law Enforcement Academy Louis Medina received a letter from an Animal Protection of New Mexico case manager.

Alan Edmonds wrote to Medina after he received a call from someone who claim they witnessed Armijo beat the dog with a chain leash. In an informational report filed in May, State police officer Michael Wheeler claimed he saw the dog had an open wound.

“I clearly observed an open wound that was healing on top of the dog’s head,” Wheeler reported.

But Armijo denied hurting the dog.

“I know what you are looking at,” Armijo told Wheeler. “The dog hit her head on top of her cage. The drug dealers in town are making allegations that I have been hitting and abusing my dog. They are afraid I’m going to bust them.”
Armijo hires an un-certified officer

Brian Bernal is Vaughn’s second police officer.

He was hired this spring but still has not attended the state’s law enforcement academy and is not a certified cop.

Bernal has had his own legal problems, and up until a few weeks ago was carrying a weapon even though federal law prohibits anyone convicted on domestic violence charge from owning a firearm or ammunition.

In January 2011, Bernal pled Guilty in Santa Rose to assault and battery against a household member.

The misdemeanor was dismissed after Bernal completed an anger management course.

Reporter Gadi Schwartz and Producer Peter St. Cyr traveled to Vaughn to investigate the police force.

They confronted Mayor Paul Madrid, but he did not want to talk and slammed a garage door at his business off the main drag.

No one answered at the police station either.

Town residents did speak out and they have mixed feelings about the officer’s problems.

Many don’t think that Armijo should still have his job as chief.

“It’s ridiculous,” one man said.

Others don’t think the town should even have its own police force.

After a week of chasing Armijo down, the chief finally agreed to take St. Cyr on a ride around town in his police truck.

He claims he doesn’t need a gun to do his job.

“We have tasers, batons, mace … stuff like that,” Armijo said. “This isn’t a TV show. This is life. We don’t run in everyday with a gun drawn. Life isn’t in a pistol grip. It’s how you talk to people. I wasn’t the type of person to go, ‘I’m a cop now give me my badge and my chip on my shoulder.’ That’s not me.”

Guadalupe County Sheriff’s deputies and state police officers are called when Vaughn’s officers need backup.

Sheriff Michael Lucero told Schwartz his department already covers Vaughn.

“As a law enforcement officer I’m responsible for 3,000 square miles which consists of parts of Vaughn,” Lucero said. “We do handle it.”

Medina won’t comment on Armijo’s issue specifically, but said officers need to follow the law or find another job.

“You’re supposed to pay child support if that’s required of you. You’re supposed to follow all traffic laws,” Medina said. “If you get arrested for any reason then you’re in violation and that would be an allegation of misconduct that would come before our office for contemplation of revocation or suspension of their certification.”

Medina acknowledged he sent the chief a Notice of Contemplated Action after receiving a complaint against Armijo.

Medina said he will continue to review the matter and plans to make recommendation to the Law Enforcement Review Board soon.

Board members have the final say to suspend or revoke Armijo’s state certification.

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