Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT
- Torres Small, Herrell meet in 1st debate in close House race
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell finally have met in a debate in southern New Mexico's closely watched U.S. House race. Torres Small stressed "bipartisanship" during the KOAT-TV/Albuquerque Journal-sponsored debate Sunday while Herrell tried to link the Democrat to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Herrell said she would be a "conservative voice" and pointed to her "Christian values." Torres Small repeatedly highlighted her votes on oil and gas that bucked the Democratic Party. The race is a rematch of the 2018 campaign where Torres Small won by less than 4,000 votes to flip the traditionally Republican-leaning district.
- Biden endorses Luján for US Senate bid in New Mexico
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is throwing his support behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján for U.S Senate in New Mexico. The former vice president said Sunday that Luján is a "proven leader" who has helped craft legislation like the CARES Act _ the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden also cited Luján's work on health care reform while in the U.S. House. Luján and Republican Mark Ronchetti are vying for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is retiring. Luján and Ronchetti have traded attack ads on who is the better candidate for health care reform in New Mexico.
- Police seek suspect who drove car into protesters at UNM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's police chief says he's making a priority out of finding the suspect who reportedly drove a vehicle into racial injustice protesters near the campus of the University of New Mexico. No one was hurt in Friday's incident. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said in a statement Saturday that the city "will not tolerate this kind of behavior." Demonstrators claim the driver was disparaging them before driving through the crowd. They had gathered for a third night of protests after a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, decided not to indict any of the officers directly involved in the death of Breonna Taylor.
- Latest crime sweep nets 36 arrests in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say the latest in a series of city-wide crime sweeps has netted 36 arrests, including many suspects with a history of gun violence. Police Chief Harold Medina said Saturday that the "anti-crime operation" has resulted in 151 arrests since Aug. 19. The majority of the 36 offenders booked into jail Wednesday through Friday during the fourth edition of the crack down have a criminal history for gun violence and property crimes. Officers and detectives cleared 53 felony warrants, made 20 felony arrests; recovered nine firearms, nine stolen vehicles and issued 183 citations.
- Permian investments grow as market shows signs of recovery
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — An American energy investment company has pledged $8.5 million to develop oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin that are owned by Shell Oil Co. The announcement this month by U.S. Energy Development Corp. to acquire interest in a horizontal well project near the New Mexico-Texas state line is an indication that some operations are looking to expand their footprint in what is still considered one of the country's most productive oilfields. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that the project will target part of what government scientists have identified as the largest continuous oil and gas resource in history.
- Navajo officials set on shutting down New Mexico hemp farms
PHOENIX (AP) — The Navajo Nation is not letting go of a fight against what it says are illegal hemp farms cultivated through immigrant labor. A member of the tribe and head of the operation, Dineh Benally says his business partnership with a Las Vegas dispensary has provided dozens of jobs on the vast reservation that includes parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. A New Mexico judge, however, approved last week a temporary restraining order keeping Benally from running the Shiprock area farms. Benally called the ruling disappointing and harmful to the Navajo Nation's economy. He says more than 200 members of the tribe are employed there.
- Albuquerque police chief's staffer cleared of misspending
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the outgoing Albuquerque police chief's staff has been cleared of allegations of abusing a city credit card and getting an inappropriate pay raise. The Albuquerque Police Department announced Friday the results of an internal investigation of John Ross, the chief of staff for Chief Mike Geier. Geier's secretary in July accused Ross of using the city-issued card for personal purchases like a $2,500 laptop. According to the probe, Ross only committed a minor infraction. He did not list the purchase of two items on the card within the required three days of their acquisition.
- Judge removes Trump public lands boss for serving unlawfully
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said Friday that U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley was never confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate as required under the Constitution and served unlawfully for 424 days. The ruling marks the latest pushback against the administration's practice of filling key positions without U.S. Senate approval. Montana's Democratic governor had sued to remove Pendley. The agency oversees almost a quarter-billion acres of land, primarily in the U.S. West.