Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

Mar 31, 2021
  • IMMIGRATION-CHILDREN DROPPED

SANTA TERESA, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say two Ecuadoran children were abandoned by smugglers after being dropped over a 14-foot-high barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday evening. The toddler and her 5-year-old sister were unhurt, but officials with the U.S. Border Patrol called the incident near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, appalling. It comes as the Biden administration struggles with finding space to house the several hundred kids and teenagers who are crossing the border daily. In some cases, parents refused entry into the U.S. have sent their children across the border alone, hoping they will be placed with relatives eventually.

  • MARIJUANA-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — Legislators mounted a charge toward legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico, as House lawmakers sent an approved framework for pot sales, business licenses and taxation to the state Senate for consideration. The House voted 38-32 on Wednesday to approve the Democrat-sponsored bill. Several House Democrats joined Republicans in opposition. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session of the Legislature to legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older after time ran out during a regular annual legislative session. Additional vetting of the House-approved bill and a competing Republican proposal takes place before an unusual committee meeting of the entire Democrat-led Senate.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico will expand vaccine eligibility on Monday to everyone 16 years of age and older. The federal government has directed states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1. Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins said Wednesday that New Mexico will be meeting that mark a month early. While the pace of vaccination has been limited by supply, she said federal officials have indicated that states should expect "meaningful increases" in supply over the coming weeks. New Mexico continues to lead the U.S. in vaccine distribution. Nearly 1.2 million doses have been administered in the state so far.

  • TREASURE HUNT-SENTENCE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A judge in Wyoming has sentenced a man to six months in prison for digging in a Yellowstone National Park cemetery in pursuit of hidden treasure. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl also ordered 52-year-old Rodrick Dow Craythorn, of Syracuse, Utah, on Wednesday to serve six months of home detention and two years of probation, and to pay $31,566 in restitution. Craythorn dug in the Fort Yellowstone cemetery in late 2019 and early 2020. Craythorn was seeking a treasure chest containing coins, gold and other valuables that Santa Fe, New Mexico, antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn stashed in the Rocky Mountains over a decade ago.

  • IMMIGRATION-NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A private Christian camp in northern New Mexico is looking for volunteers and donations as it prepares for the potential arrival of immigrant children from the U.S.-Mexico border as federal holding facilities become more crowded. Officials with Glorieta Camps confirmed Wednesday that they're in contract negotiations with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to house and feed potentially 2,400 unaccompanied migrant children. Josh Nelson with Glorieta Camps was unsure when a contract would be finalized. President Joe Biden is under pressure to address immigration as thousands of children and families have been arriving at the border. Authorities also reported that two young children were dropped over the border wall Tuesday evening but were unhurt.

  • UNIVERSITY GRADUATIONS

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University has said it will hold limited in-person commencement events in May in addition to its previously planned virtual ceremony for its spring graduates. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that events will be held at Aggie Memorial Stadium in multiple sessions to comply with social distancing and capacity guidelines. Tickets will be required. Masks will also be required. The in-person event will be broadcasted so people unable to attend can participate in both ceremonies. The virtual celebration on May 15 will take place regardless of in-person plans. Commencement activities for the university's branch campuses will be determined by each campus.

  • CONGRESS-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two state legislators have advanced to a runoff for the Democratic nomination to defend an Albuquerque-based congressional seat left open by newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. State Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Rep. Melanie Stansbury were the top two contenders on Tuesday as members of the Democratic Party central committee narrowed an initial field of eight candidates. A second vote takes place Wednesday to decide on a nominee to confront Republican state Sen. Mark Moores in a June 1 special congressional election. Democrats have held the 1st Congressional District Seat since 2009.

  • AP-US-GRIZZLY BEARS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Grizzly bears are slowly expanding the turf they roam in the northern Rocky Mountains but scientists say they need continued protections, They have also concluded that no other areas of the country would be suitable for the fearsome animals. The Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday released its first assessment in nearly a decade on the status of grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. The bruins are shielded from hunting as a threatened species except in Alaska. Grizzly populations grew over the last 10 years in the Yellowstone region and around Glacier National Park. Scientists are focusing on bolstering existing populations and not on reintroducing bears elsewhere.