Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-OMICRON VARIANT
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health on Monday announced the state's first identified case of the COVID-19 omicron variant. Health officials say the case was identified Sunday and involves a Bernalillo County woman. They say the unidentified woman reported recent domestic travel to a state with reported cases of omicron. Authorities say the woman was seen in a local emergency room and then discharged. The state health department is currently conducting a thorough case investigation. The omicron variant has been confirmed in at least 30 states and the District of Columbia as well as more than 60 countries. Arizona reported its first confirmed case of the omicron variant on Dec. 8 in Yavapai County.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation is reporting 23 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one new death. Tribal health officials released their latest figures Sunday evening, bringing the reservation's pandemic totals to 1,562 deaths and 40,497 positive cases. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez issued a reminder to get the vaccine or the booster as the Christmas holiday approaches. He says an increase in cases after a holiday is inevitable. So, it's crucial to protect yourself. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- HIT-AND-RUN-BOY KILLED
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police are searching for the driver who struck and killed a 7-year-old boy as he was crossing the street with his family. Authorities say the hit-and-run occurred Sunday around 8:30 p.m. at Central Ave and Tingley Drive. A family of four had just left the River of Lights, a series of holiday light displays at ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. According to traffic camera footage, a car ran a red light. The family was in the crosswalk and the traffic signal gave them the right of way. The boy's father was also injured. He was taken to a hospital in stable condition. Police say the off-highway vehicle fled the scene.
- FATAL STRUCTURE FIRE
RIO RANCHO, N.W. (AP) — Authorities say two people have been found dead after a structure fire in the Rio Rancho area. Several fire crews from Sandoval County were called out around 3 a.m. Sunday. Rio Rancho police and county sheriff's officials also went to the scene. Authorities say one person was found dead as firefighters tried to stop the flames from spreading. They say a second person was found dead at the scene shortly afterward. The names, ages and genders of the two dead persons weren't immediately known. Authorities say the cause of the fire is under investigation and it's not yet known how the two people died. The county sheriff's office and the New Mexico State Fire Marshal's Office are in charge of the fire investigation.
- ALBUQUERQUE-FENTANYL SEIZURES
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say fentanyl is the No. 1 drug driving crime and violence in Albuquerque. Drug Enforcement Administration say agents seized 242 pounds of fentanyl in the past fiscal year in New Mexico. That's a 900% increase over the prior fiscal year and well over the amount captured around the state in the previous five fiscal years combined, according to DEA officials. Authorities say fentanyl seizure amounts have surpassed heroin, which dropped to some of its lowest levels since 2016. The Albuquerque Journal reports that despite the seizures, the amount of fentanyl that has slipped through the fingers of law enforcement has furthered an epidemic of overdoses in the New Mexico.
- PROP FIREARM-SHOOTING
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge has decided that the assistant director who handed Alec Baldwin a prop gun that killed a cinematographer on a New Mexico film set must make himself available for an interview with state workplace safety regulators. Local news outlets reported that a district judge on Friday granted the state officials' request to issue a subpoena to Dave Halls, assistant director for the movie "Rust." Halls' attorney did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded in the Oct. 21 shooting on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set near Santa Fe.
- REDISTRICTING-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Democratic-led Legislature has approved an overhaul of New Mexico's three congressional districts that would reshape a Republican-dominated district in a southern oil-production region. The state House voted Saturday to approve a redistricting bill from Democratic state Rep. Georgene Louis of Albuquerque and Democratic state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces. The vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for consideration. The redistricting plan bolsters the Hispanic, voting-age majority in New Mexico's southern 2nd District. It also divides a conservative, oil-producing region in southern New Mexico into multiple districts, stoking outrage among Republicans.
- DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS
RALEIGH. N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has been formally chosen to lead the Democratic Governors Association next year. Association members elected Cooper to the job on Saturday at the group's meeting in New Orleans. He's been vice chair and chair-elect in 2021. Now he'll spearhead efforts to help party nominees win more in a big gubernatorial year ahead. Thirty-six governorships are on the ballot in 2022. Republican governors currently lead 27 of the 50 states. Cooper is succeeding Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico. The association also elected New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy as vice chair and chair-elect for 2022.