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Update: County Commissioner Arrested

Update: County Commissioner Arrested

POSTED: Friday, February 24, 2012 - 7:40pm

UPDATED: Saturday, February 25, 2012 - 9:34pm

EL PASO - We're learning more about the arrests of County Commissioner Willie Gandara Jr. and Juan Canales, his alleged accomplice. Both men are being held behind bars with no bond for drug trafficking.

 Court documents say Commissioner Gandara and Canales used a Socorro home to sell pot last September and October. Now federal agents are trying to seize the property, but according to online county records it doesn't belong to Commissioner Gandara or Canales. It belongs to former Socorro Mayor Willie Gandara Sr., the County Commissioner's dad.

Gandara Sr. was indicted on federal corruption charges last year, and was voted out of office. Now, like his son, he awaits trial. We called Mr. Gandara for comment on his property possibly being seized in the drug case, but he has not returned our call.

Meanwhile, the attorneys for Commissioner Gandara and Canales say both men will plead not-guilty on Tuesday. They say, the federal agents haven't shown them any of the evidence they say they have.

The attorney's have not said how the men are connected, but sources at the El Paso County Courthouse say the two are always together. We're told Canales has been hanging around Commissioner Gandara's office for the past several months. We asked the county's human resource department if he's a paid employee, but they wouldn't give us a direct answer. Instead, they asked us to submit an open records request. We did.

Although it's still unclear if Commissioner Gandara is paying Canales to work for him, online finance records show that Canales donated $1,500 to Commissioner Gandara's campaign for State Representative. He was only one of two people who donated and don't appear to be part of the Gandara family. All other donors to his campaign appear to be related to him.

At this point it's unclear if Commissioner Gandara will continue his campaign for State Representative. It also doesn't appear he has any plans to resign from his current seat.

Comments News Comments

The second biggest business during alcohol prohibition in 1920s Detroit was liquor, at $215 million a year and employing an estimated 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During just one raid, the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy, and Sheriff Edward Stein.

Just like their counter-parts of the 1920s, Drug cartels are eager and ready to show, that when it comes to business, they too, are completely non-partisan. They will buy-out and threaten politicians of any party; making deals with whoever can benefit them, and killing those who are brave or foolish enough to get in their way.

Prohibition comes with great human cost. If you support it; you're either a black market profiteer, a corrupt politician, a terrorist, a sadomoralistic fake-conservative, or an authoritarian wing-nut-socialist.

As a prohibitionist, you've helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike, while making these dangerous substances freely available in schools and prisons.

You've triggered the worst crime wave in history, raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging, and helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

Your insistence that only criminals should sell drugs has put previously unknown, dangerous, contaminated concoctions on our streets. Your aberrant ignorance has diverting scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting peaceful citizens from YOUR ever-escalating prohibition-engendered mega-violence. - These are the very same citizens that you falsely claim to represent.

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