The Luna County Sheriff's Office tells Action 7 News that 11 people have been taken into federal custody, including Mayor Eddie Espinoza, city council member Blas Gutierrez and police chief Angelo Vega.
According to the US Attorney's office, they face firearms violations and drug trafficking charges.
The 11 are accused of buying high-powered weapons like AK-47s and ammunition favored by Mexican drug cartels and smuggle them into Mexico, according to the federal charges.
The Luna County Sheriffs Office has restricted Columbus Police department from using their radio frequencies and data bases in order to maintain integrity. Sheriff Cobos was heading to the Columbus City hall to talk to the remaining city council.
Columbus is only a few miles north of the U.S. border with Mexico.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement confirms that theyâ€™re conducting operations in Columbus, N.M. ICE said it is searching several locations, but will not reveal what they are looking for.
Several area residents called into the Action 7 Newsroom on Thursday morning to report the numerous federal agents in the town.
Residents said they are shocked to hear their mayor is part of the investigation.
â€œI voted for him, to re-elect him. Heâ€™s been re-elected,â€ Hermina Wagoner said.
The suspects are in federal custody in Las Cruces.