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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

AP-US-MISSING-NATIVE-AMERICANS

  • ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland wants to do more than just put a bandage on a crisis that she says has been decades in the making. Haaland on Thursday announced the members of a commission that will craft recommendations on how the federal government can better tackle unsolved cases in which Native Americans and Alaska Natives have gone missing or have been killed. Haaland blamed the disproportionately high number of such cases on a lack of urgency and coordination. The commission is expected to hold public hearings and gather testimony over the coming months. Meanwhile, some tribes and states, including New Mexico, have created their own response plans to address the problem.

AP-US-BORDER-CROSSING-NEW-MEXICO

  • SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is highlighting its support for proposals to route an international rail line through its Santa Teresa border crossing, capitalizing on Mexico's unease with disruptions along the Texas portion of the U.S. border. Mexico had considered a route through Texas, but in recent days officials have said they can no longer rely on that state. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in April required all commercial trucks from Mexico to undergo extra inspections, tying up traffic. The administration of Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Wednesday that it will send a delegation to Mexico City to explore opportunities at the border crossing.

SPRING WILDFIRES

  • LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters in New Mexico are taking advantage of diminished winds to build more fire lines and clear combustible brush near homes close to the fringes of the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. The blaze has charred hundreds of square miles of tinder-dry forest, destroying dozens of homes and triggering the evacuation of thousands across an expansive stretch of rural northeastern New Mexico. President Joe Biden has approved a disaster declaration for areas devastated by the fire, while a congresswoman pressed the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday for a full account of its role in lighting a prescribed fire that fed the conflagration.

CHURCH PASTOR-CHILD SEX PLEA

  • 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.