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New Mexico News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

President declares disaster in New Mexico wildfire zone

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters have slowed the advance of the largest wildfire in the U.S. as heavy winds relented. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has approved a disaster declaration that brings new financial resources to remote stretches of northern New Mexico devastated by fire. Fire crews in New Mexico sought Wednesday to keep the flames from pushing any closer to the town of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the blaze's shifting fronts. The fire has burned hundreds of square miles, dozens of homes and trigged the evacuation of 15,500 homes. The new disaster aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Las Vegas ex-pastor, teacher pleads guilty in child sex case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A church pastor and former elementary school teacher from Las Vegas has pleaded guilty to a child sex crime in a plea agreement that avoids trial and is expected to get him 2-to-20 years in state prison when he's sentenced Aug. 15. Records show that Reynaldo Crespin pleaded guilty Monday to attempted lewdness with a child under 14. Several other sexual assault and lewdness charges were dismissed. Crespin is 59. He taught from 2016 until this year and was a founder of New Horizon Christian Church in northeast Las Vegas. Records show he may also be sentenced to lifetime supervision as a sex offender.

US to hold back Lake Powell water to protect hydropower

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal water officials have announced they'll keep hundreds of billions of gallons of Colorado River water inside Lake Powell instead of letting it flow downstream to southwestern states and Mexico. U.S. Assistant Secretary of Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said Tuesday the move will allow the Glen Canyon Dam to continue producing hydropower while officials strategize how to operate the dam with a lower water elevation. The decision won't have any immediate impacts on the amount of water allocated for the region's cities and its farm. But it reflects the compounding challenges facing the region, where roughly 40 million people and a $5 billion-a-year agricultural industry rely on the Colorado River.

Change trains: Mexico favors N. Mexico over Texas

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican government is snubbing Texas and moving a proposed border rail link to New Mexico, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backed up border crossings with state truck inspections in April. Mexican diplomats met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and touted a rail line linking Mexican seaports on the Pacific with the San Jeronimo-Santa Teresa crossing in New Mexico. Mexican officials had considered a route through Texas, but in recent days they've said they can no longer rely on the state. Abbott had required all commercial trucks from Mexico to undergo extra inspections, tying up traffic and causing millions in losses.

Albuquerque sees 3 different homicides over the weekend

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in Albuquerque are dealing with three difference homicide scenes that occurred over the weekend. Albuquerque police say on Sunday officers responded to a single-vehicle car crash. One person died at a hospital. But the victim had suffered a gunshot wound. Earlier in the day around 4 a.m., a woman asked a neighbor to call police after she claimed to have stabbed her boyfriend. Officers found a man dead with wounds consistent with a stabbing. The woman was taken to the hospital for injuries and has not been arrested. Then on Saturday night, police found two people shot to death inside a home. There have been no arrests.

Arizona wildfire forces fast decision: Fight or flee flames?

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Ferocious winds that sent what was a small wildfire racing toward homes on the outskirts of a northern Arizona city presented a dilemma. Most residents in the "Girls Ranch" neighborhood north of Flagstaff, Arizona, fled the flames. One couple stood their ground. Another raced to save animals on neighbors' properties. Two homes in the close-knit neighborhood were among 30 in the area that were destroyed. The wildfire left a mosaic of charred land before it was almost fully contained this weekend. The blaze is one of many this spring that have forced panicked residents to make life-or-death, fight-or-flee decisions as wildfire season heats up in the U.S. West.

Man accused of impersonating Albuquerque policeman faces DWI

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man accused of impersonating an Albuquerque police officer last month also is facing a DWI charge. Raul Martinez had his initial court appearance Saturday. Albuquerque TV station KOB reports that two different videos show Martinez announcing himself as a city police officer at a gas station and a neighborhood. According to a criminal complaint, three women at the gas station said Martinez appeared to be drunk and was slurring his words. A judge decided Martinez could be released from jail on his own recognizance on the impersonation case, but he was held for a March 20 DWI charge that violated conditions of his release. It was unclear Sunday if Martinez has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf about the two cases.

Vegas water intake now visible at drought-stricken Lake Mead

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The water supply for Las Vegas has marked a milestone, with a water intake breaking the surface of drought-depleted Lake Mead and the activation of a new pumping facility to draw water from deeper in the crucial Colorado River reservoir. The Southern Nevada Water Authority released photos this week of the uppermost intake visible at the lake behind Hoover Dam. The agency says a deeper intake completed in 2020 that's called the third straw continues to let Las Vegas pump water from its primary supply while the lake level continues to decline. The moves come as several states relying on the Colorado River take new steps to conserve water amid ongoing drought and climate change.