Monday News Roundup: Guilty Plea In Governor's Hacked Email Case

Jun 16, 2014

Guilty Plea In Governor's Hacked Email Case - The Associated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez's former campaign manager has pleaded guilty to two counts in a case that accused him of intercepting her email.

Jamie Estrada entered his plea Monday as part of an agreement with federal prosecutors. He initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Under the plea agreement, Estrada faces up to one year in jail for intercepting email from Martinez's campaign account and for making false statements to federal investigators.

Some of the electronic messages were leaked to Martinez critics, who publicly released them.

Estrada briefly served as campaign manager in 2009, as Martinez was beginning her bid for governor. The Republican won election in 2010 and took office in January 2011.

UNM Planning Flat-Rate Tuition Proposal - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

University of New Mexico officials are considering several proposals designed to offer students guaranteed flat-rate tuition for the four years it takes them to graduate.

The plans are designed to remove the uncertainty of tuition increases during the time it takes a traditional student to earn a degree,

One of several plans officials are considering would offer the guarantee to the first 500 applicants and year, and a second would offer it only to scholarship recipients.

The Albuquerque Journal reports planning for the guaranteed tuition is in the preliminary stages but the Board of Regents discussed the issue last week.

The university's associate vice president for enrollment management is charged with developing a viable plan.

A handful of states have already adopted various guaranteed tuition rate plans.

Albuquerque Council To Consider Police Reform Plan - The Associated Press

Albuquerque city councilors are scheduled to decide whether to allow residents to have a say how the city's troubled police department should be reformed.

Councilors are slated to vote today on a proposal that would create a broad commission aimed at crafting a reform plan amid a pending U.S. Justice Department agreement.

The proposal would allow mediators to take comment from thousands of city residents and help draft a long-term outline for reform.

Council president Ken Sanchez says the measure needs two-thirds of councilors' support to pass.

The move comes as the city of Albuquerque and the Justice Department are negotiating a plan at revamping the police.

A federal report faulted Albuquerque police over its use of force.

2 Men Accused Of Smuggling Devices From New Mexico - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Federal authorities say two Chinese nationals are suspected of trying to smuggle sensors made in New Mexico for U.S. military use.

The Albuquerque Journal reports a federal magistrate judge unsealed two search warrants related to the case last week.

According to the affidavit, 28-year-old Bo Cai and 29-year-old Wentong Cai, a graduate student in Iowa, were both arrested within the past six months on charges of smuggling goods and violating the Arms Export Control Act.

It is not clear if they are related.

The documents say that both visited Albuquerque last December to meet with an undercover agent about buying the sensors.

The agent even gave Wentong Cai, a "Breaking Bad" fan, a tour of sites featured on the AMC drama series.

Both could face 20 years in prison.

New Santa Fe Police Chief To Be Sworn In - The Associated Press

Santa Fe is officially getting a new police chief today.

Eric Garcia will be sworn in as the chief at Santa Fe City Council Chambers at 8 a.m.

The 42-year-old Garcia is replacing Ray Rael, who resigned from the position in March.

Garcia was a New Mexico State Police officer for 18 years. He has worked the past two years as Espanola's public safety director.

He was chosen from 48 applicants.

City officials said Garcia has a focus on community policing, a history of improving officer morale and commitment to introducing new training programs.

Device Leads To Downtown Santa Fe Evacuation - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Police evacuated an area of downtown Santa Fe for about an hour yesterday afternoon following reports of a suspicious device.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports a couple came across the device around 1 o’clock outside the public library and notified authorities.

The police and firefighters cordoned off an area near Washington Avenue and Marcy Street from 1:30 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.

Police say the device resembled a container of industrial pesticide.

Bomb squad officers removed it and will have it detonated at an explosive range.

There were no injuries.

Police say a nearby arts and crafts fair and an outdoor concert went on without disruption.

Free Black Lung Testing At New Mexico Mines - The Associated Press and Farmington Daily Times

A mobile testing unit for black lung disease will be making stops in New Mexico this week.

The Farmington Daily Times reports that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is conducting free screenings for the illness commonly associated with coal mine workers.

The screenings take about 30 minutes and include a chest x-ray, breathing test and health questionnaire.

Miners are encouraged to make an appointment but walk-ins are welcome.

Medical professionals say there is no known treatment for black lung disease but early detection is important.

Black lung disease is caused by inhaling coal dust.

The mobile unit will be at San Juan Mine in Waterflow today and tomorrow.  It will then be at Navajo Mine in Fruitland on Wednesday and Thursday.