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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has the highest percentage of residents in the U.S. Southwest without adequate broadband internet infrastructure. The Biden administration on Monday released details about each state's infrastructure needs for everything from internet access to highways, affordable housing and drinking water projects. In New Mexico, the federal government estimates that 22% of residents live in areas where there's no broadband infrastructure that provides acceptable internet speeds. Nearly 70% live in areas where there's only one such internet provider. The coronavirus pandemic highlighted broadband problems as schools turned to remote learning and other services were forced to go online only.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Alamogordo man serving life in prison for murder and other crimes has lost an appeal. The New Mexico Supreme Court upheld the convictions Monday of Robert "Bob" Chavez in the 2011 killing of a man whose body was later burned. Chavez's attorneys had argued he should not have been tried in 2019 jointly with Matias Loza, who pleaded guilty to murder and other charges. The state's highest court unanimously found that a joint trial did not impact Chavez's civil rights or his defense. Prosecutors say Chavez, his brother and Loza ran a drug-trafficking gang and killed Richard Valdez after an altercation at a restaurant.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana. The Democratic governor said Monday that legalization should bring more than 10,000 new jobs and could free about 100 from prison. Her decision makes New Mexico the seventh state since last November to legalize adult possession and sales of cannabis for recreational use. Recreational marijuana use will be legal within months and sales would kick off next year in the state. Lujan Grisham also has supported marijuana reform as a way boost state revenue. The bill gives the governor strong oversight through her appointed superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say one armed man showed up for a planned white supremacist rally in downtown Albuquerque. A police spokesman says police had prepared Sunday for the possibility of a huge turnout but it never materialized. Authorities say an armed man, accompanied by two women and two children, nearly came to blows with a few hundred counter-protesters at Civic Plaza. Officers moved all five into the Albuquerque Convention Center to defuse the situation. No arrests were made but police issued a court summons to the armed man on one charge of child endangerment. One person was also injured in a fight but declined medical treatment or to press charges.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Monday reported two new confirmed COVID-19 cases, but no additional deaths for the second consecutive day. The latest numbers brought the pandemic totals on the tribe's reservation to 30,267 cases with 1,262 known deaths. Tribal officials had ordered a weekend lockdown over fears that a new variant could drive another deadly surge. The Stay-At-Home order required all Navajo Nation residents to refrain from unnecessary travel to help limit the spread of the virus, including a new and more contagious strain. The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 B.1.429 variant on the reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah was confirmed last week.


ABIQUIU, N.M. (AP) — Crews are working to fully contain two small wildfires on the Rio Chama bosque near Abiquiu that forced some evacuations of residents. Rio Arriba County Sheriff's officials say evacuations were lifted Saturday night and the cause of the wildfires were under investigation. The fires broke out Saturday afternoon. Authorities say one wildfire was burning in Abiquiu and at least one residence was charred. The second fire was burning two miles away to the north near U.S. Highway 85.  On Sunday, authorities reported resources from the county and the state's forestry division were working to secure the fire's perimeter and mop up hot spots.  


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Newly released information on the killing of a New Mexico State Police Officer during a Feb. 4 traffic stop indicates he was caught by surprise when a man who'd agreed to temporarily surrender a rifle instead opened fire. According to a State Police statement and video excerpts released Friday, 39-year-old Omar Felix Cueva of Deming fired at least once at Officer Darian Jarrott across the pickup truck's bed and then fatally shot Jarrott after he ducked and fell.  Authorities previously said Cueva fatally shot Jarrott after being pulled over on Interstate 10 west of Las Cruces. Cueva later died in a shootout with other officers after a pursuit.


TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol officials has told Tucson officials that a tent-like facility planned in the southern Arizona city to temporarily house migrants will be located near the city's airport and be completed in about a month. The Arizona Daily Star reports that John Modlin said Friday in an email that the facility will be designed to hold 500 people but its working capacity will likely be 150-200 due to COVID-19 considerations and litigation-related restrictions. Modlin is interim head of the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector. Councilman Steve Kosachik said the planned facility likely will hold unaccompanied minors encountered by the Border Patrol.