Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MST
- 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.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NAVAJO NATION
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation officials on Saturday reported 52 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and three more virus-related deaths. Tribal health officials said the total number of deaths now stands at 1,561 with a total of nearly 40,500 cases. The reservation covers 27,000 square miles and extends into parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
- ALBUQUERQUE-AEROSPACE CENTER
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque officials are cutting ties and moving on from plans for for what they had hoped would be a flagship addition to New Mexico's burgeoning aerospace industry. The city announced Friday that the aerospace company behind the planned Orion Center never signed a lease agreement that was prepared months ago. Albuquerque chief operating officer Lawrence Rael says the company hasn't followed through on its commitments. Plans at one point called for building a large campus that could have employed as many as 2,500 people. The parent company of Group Orion is TGI and faced financial and legal trouble. Company officials did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
NEW YORK (AP) — An aspiring musician, a young British model, a struggling middle school dropout and an impressionable high school student were the four key witnesses to testify against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex-abuse trial. The four women's testimony in Manhattan federal court offered sordid details about allegations Maxwell groomed them to participate in sexual massages with Epstein. Three of the four women testified using pseudonyms or only their first names to protect their privacy. The defense says Maxwell is taking the fall for Epstein, who died by suicide in 2019. The government's case finished Friday. Defense attorneys are expected to put on their case next week.