Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT
PRISON ABUSE-NEW MEXICO
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than a dozen inmates who were transferred following a deadly riot at a New Mexico lockup in 2020 were allegedly abused and terrorized by state correctional officers. The allegations are outlined in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by a watchdog organization and a civil rights attorney. The inmates claim their rights to due process and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment were violated by a deputy warden and others at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility. The New Mexico Corrections Department had yet to see the lawsuit and could not immediately comment on the allegations. The case comes as the federal government faces more pressure to reform its own prison system and as advocates push for more oversight at the state level.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Albuquerque City Council has voted to uphold a previous decision to repeal an ordinance banning grocery stores and other retailers from distributing single-use plastic bags. The council voted last month to eliminate the ban, prompting a veto by Mayor Tim Keller, but the council's 6-3 vote Monday night overrides Keller's veto. Supporters of the ban cited environmental reasons. Opponents said it inconvenienced shoppers. The ban took effect Jan. 1, 2020 after being approved in 2019. The council also authorized creation of marijuana smoking lounges though public consumption of marijuana would remain illegal. A state law legalizing recreational marijuana took effect Friday.
- LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (AP) — Afghan families evacuated to the United States when the Taliban regained power are celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. They are doing so with gratitude for their safety, but also the agony of knowing their relatives back home are still in harm's way. Ramadan is a time of fasting, worship and togetherness with family and friends. But for those rebuilding their lives in the U.S., the holiday is bewildering and bittersweet knowing their loved ones are still under the repressive Taliban regime. Most fled because working with Americans during the war made them Taliban targets. But in the chaotic withdrawal, they left behind close-knit families and their cheerful, prayerful feasts.
NAVAJO PRESIDENT'S RACE
- WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A former Navajo Nation vice presidential candidate says he is seeking the tribal president's post. The announcement Monday from Buu Van Nygren comes a month before the deadline for candidates to file. He's the first to publicly announce his run. The primary election is Aug. 2. The top two vote-getters move on to the November general election. More than a dozen people typically run for president of the Navajo Nation. The tribe has the largest land mass of any Native American tribe in the U.S. and is second in population with about 400,000 tribal members. Current tribal President Jonathan Nez hasn't said whether he'll seek reelection.
SANTA FE FIRE OFFICIAL-HOUSE FIRE
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A retired Santa Fe assistant fire chief continues to recover from severe burns after his own home was decimated last week in a blaze. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Ted Bolleter remains in the University of New Mexico Burn Center. His daughter told the newspaper the 55-year-old suffered second- and third-degree burns to his hand, feet and face. The fire broke out just before 6 p.m. Friday. Fire officials determined wind had blown an ember from a fire pit, setting wooden patio furniture on fire. All eight people in the home, including five children, were able to leave safely except Bolleter, who ran through the blaze.
FORMER MUNITIONS DEPOT-SETTLEMENT
- SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Army has reached an agreement with Zuni Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico to pay $1.5 million toward restoring environmental damage done at a former munitions depot. The proposed settlement filed in federal court involves Fort Wingate, a former Army installation near Gallup that was used as a munitions storage and disposal site before being closed in 1993. Both the pueblo and the Navajo Nation have long-standing historical ties to the lands in and around Fort Wingate. Pollution problems at the site include soil and water contaminated by hazardous waste and unexploded ordnance. The cleanup work involves finding, disarming and removing explosives.
- ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A case against a man accused of causing a school bus crash two months ago in Albuquerque has been moved to district court. Prosecutors say 49-year-old Mario Perez was injured in the Feb. 23 crash and made his first court appearance Saturday. Albuquerque TV station KOB reported that Perez was in a wheelchair and had braces on both his legs. Police say Mario Perez allegedly was racing his car at more than 100 mph when it crashed into a school bus carrying more than 20 students. Nine of the students were taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries and police say two suffered broken bones. Police say Perez is facing two counts of causing great bodily harm with a motor vehicle.