Headlines: ABQ Marijuana Ballot Measure, Hazing Allegations At UNM And More...

Aug 19, 2014

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Albuquerque Ballot Measure On Marijuana Advances - The Associated Press

A sharply divided Albuquerque City Council has voted to put a marijuana decriminalization proposal on the November ballot.

The council voted 5-4 Monday night to put the proposal on the ballot after activists failed to collect enough voter signatures.

However, the measure is subject to a possible veto by Mayor Richard Berry. Also, Bernolillo County Commission has a say on what goes on the crowded ballot.

The proposal would make possession of an ounce or less of marijuana a civil infraction punishable by a fine of no more than $25.

A first offense for possession is currently a fine of up to $50 and up to two weeks in jail.

Santa Fe officials said Monday that activists submitted enough signatures to get a similar proposal on that city's ballot.

New Mexico Investigating Possible Case Of Hazing – The Associated Press

The University of New Mexico is investigating what it calls a "potential hazing incident" involving the women's soccer team.

Assistant Athletic Director Frank Mercogliano says the university is having a person from outside the athletic program conduct an investigation and interview team members.

According to Mercogliano, the incident allegedly occurred over the weekend. No further details were announced.

Advocates Eye Border Protest In New Mexico, Texas - The Associated Press

Immigrant advocates say they are planning a 100-mile walk along the border in New Mexico and Texas to protest the use of military-style patrols.

The Border Network for Human Rights says they will unveil plans for the two-state walk at a press conference in El Paso.

Organizers say the walk is aimed at protesting the use of the National Guard along the U.S.-Mexico border and to call for President Obama to act on immigration reforms.

Advocates say the walk will include activists and faith leaders from Texas and New Mexico.

Militias Complicate Situation On Texas Border - The Associated Press

Authorities are concerned about the presence of private armed militias patrolling the border in search of people sneaking into the U.S. from Mexico.

The U.S. Border Patrol circulated an "issue paper" warning agents after a recent incident in Mission, Texas, in which armed men in fatigues showed up while agents were rounding up immigrants hiding in and around a canal near the Rio Grande.

The agents assumed the men who assisted them were part of a Texas Department of Public Safety tactical unit. But they later learned the men belonged to the Texas Militia, whose members dress like a SWAT team and carry weapons but have no law-enforcement training or authority of any kind.

The incident ended peacefully, but officials say it's easy to imagine a deadlier outcome.

Wife Still Faces Charges In New Mexico Man's Death - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The wife of a man who was shot and killed at a foreign-exchange student party in Albuquerque is facing criminal charges via a preliminary hearing.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the move comes after Amy Herrera has twice avoided trial for the 2012 death of her husband because indictments were dismissed.

Second District Judge Briana Zamora is conducting the probable cause hearing based on first-degree murder charges filed by the District Attorney's Office, not a grand jury.

The criminal information against 32-year-old Herrera also includes lesser charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Authorities say 37-year-old Marc Herrera, a former Air Force officer, was found in death from apparent gunshot wound in July 2012.

According to witnesses, Herrera was heavily intoxicated when he arrived at his Albuquerque home during a party.

Accountant Pleads Guilty To Fraud In Benefits Plot - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A northern New Mexico accountant has pleaded guilty to federal charges alleging a scheme to defraud the unemployment system.

Court records indicate that Jasonn Gonzales of Velarde pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Albuquerque to conspiracy, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

A federal indictment accused him and a co-defendant of registering fraudulent companies and of fraudulently filing $1.3 million of fraudulent unemployment claims in the names of real people without their knowledge.

According to the Albuquerque Journal Gonzales could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and each of several mail fraud counts.

Ex-Jemez Springs Chief Pleads Not Guilty To Rape - The Associated Press and KOB TV

A former Jemez Springs police chief has pleaded not guilty to rape charges.

KOB-TV reports a judge yesterday ordered Shane Harger held on $250,000 cash or surety bond following his arraignment.

Harger was indicted earlier this month on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration and contact, and extortion.

Harger was fired in February over what town officials called questionable judgment after Transportation Security Administration agents discovered he had two names.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 18.

Space Grant Consortium Receives NASA Funds - The Associated Press

The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is getting a half million dollars for its Student Launch Program.

New Mexico Democratic Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced yesterday that NASA is giving the money to support the program that supports aerospace and technology programs at colleges in New Mexico.

The Student Launch Program, which began in 2009, helps students create and design experiments that can be launched into space from Spaceport America near Las Cruces.

The program is designed to attract students to aerospace-related programs and give them hands-on space technology experience.

New Mexico Chile To Get Added Protection - The Associated Press

New Mexico is looking to a new certification program to protect the reputation of one of its signature crops: chile.

Gov. Susana Martinez and officials with the New Mexico Chile Association will be visiting The Range in Bernalillo today to announce the program. The range is the first restaurant to sign up.

New Mexico Certified Chile will join other well-known trademarked products such as Vidalia Onions and Idaho Potatoes.

The program will build on existing law that makes it illegal to advertise any product as New Mexico chile unless it's actually grown here.

State Agency Hosts Conference For Veterans On PTSD - The Associated Press

A state agency and other groups are hosting a free conference in Albuquerque to help veterans and their families cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Department of Veterans' Services said the event is Sept. 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Part of the conference will focus on services and programs available for veterans with PTSD.

A clinical psychologist will discuss therapies used by the federal Veterans Affairs health care system.

The state agency said a free lunch will be available for those who attend the conference, and $40 gift cards will be given to the first 50 veterans, National Guard, Reserve or active duty personnel registering in advance for the event.

Pre-registering can be done through the department at 505-841-5346 or by email, theresa.zuni@state.nm.us

Police: Robber Took Shower, Left Evidence, Caught - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Police say a suspect accused of robbing a 94-year-old Albuquerque man was caught after he shaved and showered in the victim's home — leaving evidence.

The Albuquerque Journal reports authorities said 43-year-old Rudy Chavez was arrested Saturday following the bizarre robbery.

According to a criminal complaint, Chavez held Glen Miller at gunpoint while Chavez showered, shaved, dressed in Miller's clothes, and then left with Miller's car, television and cash. The complaint says Chavez told Miller he was committing the robbery because he had just been released from prison and couldn't find work.

Albuquerque Police Lt. Paul Szych said investigators identified Chavez through fingerprints on the shaver and a bottle of mouthwash.

Chavez faces a number of charges including kidnapping. It was not known if he had an attorney.