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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

  • Police: Ex-New Mexico deputy hoarded lost evidence in home

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A former sheriff's deputy in southern New Mexico has been arrested on accusations of tampering with evidence after detectives say a cleaning crew found boxes of guns and case files at his foreclosed home. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports former Doña Ana County sheriff's deputy Vincent Lopez was taken into custody Thursday following an investigation that began in May. Police say bags of evidence, firearms, ammunition, and case files were found at the foreclosed home. The 54-year-old Lopez told Las Cruces detectives the evidence was related to a multiple-rape case and a hostile working environment at the sheriff's office. Online records don't list an attorney for Lopez.

  • Activists vow to meet arriving federal agents in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Activists in Albuquerque say they are preparing to greet federal agents coming to New Mexico's largest city with civil disobedience and peaceful protests. Members of a coalition organized by the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice vowed Thursday to resist any Portland-style "occupation" of the city and any efforts to increase aggressive policing. Center executive director Jim Harvey said President Donald Trump is only sending federal agents to the city as a photo op. U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson is defending the decision to deploy 35 federal agents to Albuquerque to address violent crime, urging the city's Democratic mayor to embrace the effort

  • New Mexico extends stay-at-home order as coronavirus surges

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is extending its stay-at-home health order with minor revisions through the end of August in response to a surge in coronavirus cases. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that more progress is needed before the state can reopen the economy further, and she urged residents to be cautious in avoiding possible exposure. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Mexico increased by 255 on Thursday to 20,388 since the outbreak of the pandemic, with three new deaths. New Mexico labor authorities are approving unemployment benefits automatically for people who don't return to work because of their advanced age or serious medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

  • GOP US Senate hopeful Ronchetti rebuffs election delay idea

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A GOP U.S. senatorial candidate in New Mexico is joining top Republicans in Congress in rebuffing President Donald Trump's suggestions the 2020 elections be delayed. Mark Ronchetti's campaign manager Jeff Glassburner said Thursday the Albuquerque Republican does not support moving the election from November 3rd. Trump suggested the delay as he pushed unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic would result in fraud. The Republican Party of New Mexico, however, is defending Trump and said the president was only raising questions. Ronchetti is facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján for an open Senate seat in New Mexico.

  • Lujan Grisham builds profile as Biden looks to make VP pick

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Can a Latina running mate help Joe Biden win crossover votes and energize Democrats in November? The answer may rest with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The former congresswoman has led an unflinching response to COVID-19 in the nation's most Hispanic state. Biden has promised to run alongside a woman, and the allure of a Latina candidate is baked into the nation's shifting racial and ethnic demographics as the number of potential Hispanic voters is likely to eclipse the number of eligible Black voters by November. The pandemic has thrust Lujan Grisham into the national spotlight and life-and-death decisions.

  • Leader, civil rights group part after Ethnic Studies flap

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico Hispanic activist who demanded the state's largest university remove some Ethnic Studies classes is no longer a leader in the nation's oldest Latino civil rights group. The League of United Latin American Citizens New Mexico Director Fred Baca told The Associated Press that Ralph Arellanes was informed this week he won't be returning as the group's state executive director. Baca says Arellanes then resigned. Arellanes drew anger among LULAC members nationally last week after writing a letter to the president of the University of New Mexico and urging the school to remove any classes that teach that Spanish conquistadors committed genocide against Indigenous populations. 

  • Trump administration easing more Obama-era oil and gas rules

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration is seeking to ease more rules for oil and gas drilling that were adopted under the Obama administration. The latest changes are projected to save energy companies more than $130 million over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management proposal would streamline requirements for measuring and reporting oil and gas produced from federal lands. Critics say the measure backtracks on rules meant to ensure companies drill responsibly and that the public gets paid for energy extracted from public lands. Drilling in the U.S. slowed dramatically when the coronavirus pandemic caused demand for fuel to drop, but is beginning to rebound.

  • Police: New Mexico man attacked officer over fear of snakes

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he became combative with police over a fear of snakes and tried to grab an officer's gun. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Nathaniel Ryan Ramirez was arrested Saturday following a disturbance at a Las Cruces gas station. According to police, Ramirez complained about snakes and claimed he was bitten. But officers say he had no bite marks. After he was taken into custody, police say Ramirez kicked an officer's vehicle then tried to grab the officer's gun. Ramirez was eventually taken to MountainView Regional Medical Center. It was not known if he had an attorney.