Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT

Mar 31, 2021
  • New Mexico weighs automated expungement of pot offenses

SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — New Mexico would automatically erase pot convictions and reconsider sentences for some as legislators advance a package of bills to legalizing recreational marijuana. A Senate panel advanced the expungement bill Tuesday evening toward a Senate floor vote, after hours of discussion and revisions. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session of the Legislature to legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older. Automated expungement and pardon procedures are contingent on legislative approval of a framework for legal sales and taxation of recreational cannabis. Neighboring states Colorado and Arizona have legalized recreational marijuana

  • Democrats narrow congressional nomination to 2 contenders

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.

  • New Mexico organizers plan for international balloon fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Organizers are planning for this year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, with ticket sales for the annual fall event expected to begin in July. The fiesta usually attracts hundreds of ballooning teams as well as hundreds of thousands of spectators from around the globe. Last year's fiesta wasn't held because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said Tuesday that the board of directors is committed to New Mexico's public health mandates and plans to have health measures identified for pilots and guests by the time ticket sales begin. He also warned that the measures may be updated and will be evaluated as October approaches.

  • Albuquerque police: 1 of 2 missing teenage girls found safe

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police in Albuquerque say one of two teenage girls reported missing last weekend has been found safe. They say 14-year-old Zuriah Castillo was located Tuesday, but the search continues for 16-year-old Jaylynn Miller. The girls were reported missing Saturday and an Amber Alert was issued. The alert was later changed to a missing endangered juvenile advisory after police interviewed a suspect who said he wasn't involved in the girls' disappearance and it was no longer believed the teens had been abducted. Police did not immediately disclose where Castillo was located.  

  • Virus variant identified in Britain found on Navajo Nation

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — A coronavirus variant first identified in Britain has been found on the Navajo Nation. Tribal health officials said Tuesday that the United Kingdom strain was confirmed in a sample obtained in the western part of the reservation. The Navajo Department of Health is working with states and other public health entities to identify any more variant cases. Navajo President Jonathan Nez says the finding reinforces the need for social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and limiting travel. The person who tested positive for the variant on the Navajo Nation had been fully vaccinated and is now recovering.

  • Virgin Galactic rolls out latest generation of spaceship

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Virgin Galactic rolled out its latest spaceship as the company gets ready to resume test flights in the coming months at its headquarters in the New Mexico desert. The newest ship dubbed the VSS Imagine was designed and manufactured in California. Company officials say it will likely be summer before the ship begins glide flight testing at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. CEO Michael Colglazier says the addition of the new ship Tuesday marks the beginning of a Virgin Galactic fleet that will ferry paying customers and scientific payloads to the fringe of space. He said the company is still aiming for commercial operations in 2022.

  • New Mexico judge delays trial over jury pool's racial makeup

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico judge has postponed a jury trial for a man accused of rape after his attorney argued his client's right to a fair trial was violated because none of the potential jurors selected were Black. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that 25-year-old Maury Elliot is accused of raping two teens and a woman in separate attacks. Jury selection for one of the cases was scheduled to start Monday. But Judge T. Glenn Ellington halted the trial after a defense lawyer said none of the 77 potential jurors were Black. Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist argued that the pool's racial makeup represents Santa Fe.

  • Albuquerque police: 2 children killed in crash on I-25

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque police say alcohol and speed were factors in a single-vehicle crash in which two children were killed and two others were injured, one critically. Police said the wreck occurred at about 4 a.m. Tuesday when the vehicle struck a concrete barrier along northbound Interstate 25 after entering the freeway on a ramp from Interstate 40 at high speed. A police statement said two adults also were the vehicle and that both were injured, the driver critically. The statement said the two children killed were under age 10 but police did not provide additional information about the children or the adults.