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

Aug 7, 2019

US Border Patrol checkpoints in New Mexico reopenLAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints in New Mexico have reopened.The Border Patrol announced Tuesday that the inland checkpoints that were closed earlier this year are back in operation.Officials say a decrease in the number of migrants arriving at the border has allowed for agents to return to the posts. The surge in illegal crossings during the last few months had overwhelmed the system, requiring agents to be reassigned.With the checkpoints open, officials say agents are watching for human smuggling, drug trafficking and any people who may be wanted fugitives.They say the checkpoints are a secondary layer of defense against criminal activity attempting to make its way into the United States.


Albuquerque police arrest a suspect in May homicide caseALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say they have arrested a suspect in a homicide case.They say 35-year-old Mario Figueroa is jailed at the Metro Detention Center on suspicion of an open count of murder and tampering with evidence.Homicide detectives believe Figueroa interrupted several people burglarizing his car May 20 and shot 31-year-old Jacob Gearing as he fled the scene on Albuquerque's far west side.Police officers caught up with Gearing at a market and he had two gunshot wounds and died at the scene.Detectives allege Figueroa lied about his role in the incident and gave false information about his identify and date of birth.They say Figueroa denied shooting Gearing, but video evidence allegedly shows otherwise.It was unclear Tuesday if Figueroa has a lawyer yet for his case.


Uruguay issues travel warning against Albuquerque, DetroitALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Uruguay issued a warning to its citizens early this week about traveling to the U.S. after two mass shootings killed more than 30 people.The Latin American country also cited three cities citizens should avoid: Albuquerque, Detroit and Baltimore.Uruguay's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the three cities are among the 20 most dangerous in the world and cited CEOWORLD magazine at its source.Albuquerque has garnered national attention in recent years over its high auto theft rates and violent shootings.Uruguay advised its citizens to avoid U.S. theme parks, shopping centers, art festivals, religious activities and sporting events.Albuquerque spokesman Matt Ross said it was absurd for Albuquerque to be cited.Venezuela's Foreign Ministry also issued a statement suggesting its citizens "postpone travel" to the U.S. in light of "hate crimes."


El Paso, with deep Mexican American past, rallies amid painThe mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart struck a city that some call a Mexican American intellectual, political and literary center.Investigators believe the white shooter wrote an anti-Hispanic, anti-immigrant online rant before killing 22 people in a community where Mexican Americans once faced violence from white mobs.However, since World War II Mexican Americans have transformed the city into a key bicultural center that has helped reshape U.S. Latino life.El Paso-born novelist Sergio Troncoso says Mexican Americans helped make El Paso one of the safest big cities.But he says the shooting is triggering memories of when Mexican Americans faced racial violence and highlighting the nation's trouble with white nationalism today.


Official: Nuke program serves as 'ultimate insurance policy'ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The head of the U.S. agency that maintains the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal says the country is facing the most complex and demanding global security environment since the Cold War.National Nuclear Security Administration chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty spoke Tuesday at a business expo in New Mexico.She said that Russia and China are investing significant resources to upgrade and expand their capabilities, Iran has increased its nuclear stockpile beyond limits set by a 2015 accord and North Korea's intentions remain unclear.She described the United States' nuclear program as the "ultimate insurance policy."Gordon-Hagerty's visit comes as the NNSA faces pressure to ramp up production of plutonium pits at facilities in New Mexico and South Carolina. The pits are key components for nuclear weapons.


New Mexico house speaker eyes special session over terrorism(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf is calling for a special session that would focus on legislation aimed at combating potential domestic terrorism in the border state.The Albuquerque Journal reports Egolf said Tuesday the special session could take place after leading lawmakers hear from law enforcement officials and state Cabinet secretaries at a domestic terrorism summit later this month.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the summit earlier this week following the deadly shooting in El Paso that killed 22 people.The Santa Fe Democrat says the special session would likely last just one or two days and could focus on legislation creating a new counter-terrorism unit within the state Department of Public Safety.Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicki says any special session talk was premature.___


State agreed to $1M in settlements with 3 former employeesSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Documents show the state reached settlements totaling $1 million with three former state employees within the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.The settlement terms detailed in documents that were released Tuesday show Amy Orlando, a former deputy secretary for DPS, and another department employee each received $300,000. Another employee settled for $400,000.The payouts were authorized last year near the end of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration after several employees sued the state with complaints ranging from wrongful termination and hostile workplace issues to retaliatory and inappropriate behavior by former State Police Chief Pete Kassetas.He has denied wrongdoing.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration released the previously undisclosed settlement agreements after a 180-day period passed that had prevented them from doing so.__The story replaces a previous version that erroneously described the records released as court documents.


New Mexico judge broadens medical marijuana program(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has ordered state officials to issue identification cards for the medical marijuana program to all qualifying patients, including people who live outside the state.The Albuquerque Journal reports the judge's order Monday was in response to an emergency petition filed by three out-of-state residents after the state Department of Health denied their applications to enter the cannabis program.A state law that took effect in June removed the program's New Mexico resident requirement.Department officials argued the change was not intended to allow non-residents to obtain medical marijuana cards.It also says allowing non-residents in the program would encourage the transport of cannabis across state lines.The department says it plans to file a response to the court order later this month.___