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Two Columbus residents have been arrested for attempting to illegally cross two horses into Mexico.

Aiben Madrid, 20 and Ismael Trevizo, 44, were both arrested on counts of export of livestock to be inspected and conspiracy. Both are felony charges. Trevizo also faces a count of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, for one of the horses being severely emaciated.

Madrid was caught by U.S. Border Patrol near mile marker 84 on Highway 9, which is less than two miles away from the international border. Border Patrol agents then contacted the Luna County Sheriff's Office, which made the arrests.

Madrid was allegedly riding the emaciated horse. Photographs taken by the LCSO showed the horse was so thin its spine was clearly visible under its hide. Chief Arturo Baeza estimated it could need to gain about 500 pounds to get back to its normal weight. Sheriffs personnel said it was formerly a race horse.

The two were allegedly attempting to cross the horses into Mexico to avoid paying inspection fees, LCSO personnel say.

The horses were secured by the New Mexico Livestock Board, the LCSO said.

The arrests come just weeks after a LCSO-sponsored meeting with local law enforcement, including the USBP, which was held to encourage communication to combat cattle rustling and other livestock related crimes.

The two were booked at the Luna County Detention Center.

Matt Robinson can be reached at