The Albuquerque Journal reports Blas "Woody" Gutierrez testified Wednesday in federal court in Albuquerque that former Police Chief Angelo Vega received $1,500 each time he allowed the cartel members to use village vehicles, including police cruisers, for drug and guns smuggling.
Gutierrez faces 10 years in federal prison for his guilty plea linked to a border gun smuggling ring.
Vega is the key prosecution witness in the case against Danny Burnett, a retired Los Lunas school superintendent who is charged with leaking information about a federal wiretap investigation in that Columbus gun and drug smuggling ring.
Burnett and Vega reportedly were friends from their days in Lincoln County in the 1990s, where Vega was a deputy sheriff and Burnett, an educator.
Burnett has pleaded not guilty, and his wife, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paula Burnett, has not been charged with any crime.
Paula Burnett has denied knowing about the wiretaps or telling her husband about the investigation.