Sheriff Takes Over Duties In Hatch, Town Mourns

Aug 14, 2016

Sheriff Takes Over Duties In Hatch, Town MournsThe Associated Press

Dona Ana County Sheriff's deputies have taken over public safety duties in the village of Hatch following the fatal shooting of one of its eight officers.

The department says deputies will respond to calls in Hatch while local officers mourn the killing of 33-year-old Jose Chavez. The officer, who had been on the force for two years, was killed Friday after pulling over two Ohio fugitives.

Police suspect 38-year-old Jesse Hanes was the shooter. James Nelson, who is also wanted on suspicion of murder in Ohio, was in the car.

Hanes remains hospitalized after shooting himself in the leg.

Nelson is being held on a fugitive warrant.

A third person in the car was a hitchhiker who is considered a witness.

New Mexico High Court To Hear Arguments Over Pollution RuleThe Associated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month in a case over contested water regulations that address groundwater pollution by copper mines.

Attorneys for the state and environmental groups will make their case regarding the so-called copper rule on Sept. 28.

The rule was initially approved by water regulators in 2013.

The New Mexico Environment Department argues the regulations are among the most stringent of any copper-producing state in the West and strike a balance between protecting water and allowing for economic development.

Environmentalists say the regulations violate the state Water Quality Control Act in addition to giving mining companies too much leeway to pollute groundwater.

Environmentalists are asking the court to set aside the rule and require the state to adopt new regulations to prevent pollution.

Director: New Mexico Spaceport Positioned For Next FrontierThe Associated Press

New Mexico's Spaceport America has hosted nearly 30 vertical rocket launches and its futurist hangar and runway are ready for tourists as all the infrastructure is in place for the next step in the commercial space race.

That's why director Christine Anderson is giving up her view of the remote desert outpost, saying there's no better time to pass the baton.

Anderson announced her resignation earlier this summer. Her last day is Tuesday and the search is underway for her successor.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Anderson said she believes in the commercial space industry and still sees the taxpayer-financed spaceport as a game changer for the state.

She says it's attracting more aerospace customers and is on track for the next fiscal year to have 90 percent of its operating budget funded through lease revenues and other user fees.

Tougher Tribal Antiquities Legislation Comes Under CriticismThe Associated Press

A push for federal legislation that would prohibit Native American items protected by U.S. laws from being exported to international markets has come under scrutiny from dealers and collectors as tribal leaders try to defend the proposals.

At a press conference Friday, Gov. Kurt Riley of Acoma Pueblo said misconceptions about the proposals in Congress have led to fears that dealers who collect and sell tribal antiquities will have to relinquish their entire inventories. He says there is also a misconception that the proposals will prohibit the export of all U.S. tribal art and antiques.

A proposed resolution introduced by Rep. Steve Pearce urges federal agencies to seek the return of certain tribal items from international auction houses.

Legislation proposed by Sen. Martin Heinrich seeks stiffer penalties for stealing and trafficking tribal religious and cultural objects.

Court Sides With Efforts To Certify Hatch ChilesThe Associated Press

A federal appeals court is refusing to reconsider a decision in favor of an association of green chile growers in the Hatch Valley of Southern New Mexico in a dispute over the use of the renowned Hatch name on food labels.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a rehearing request by the Hatch Chile Co. in a potential setback to the company's efforts to protect its stylized "Hatch" brand logos.

The court is backing efforts by the Hatch Chile Association and allied Albuquerque food distributor El Encanto to subpoena records that may indicate whether Hatch Chile Co. products contain purely Hatch-grown chile.

Chile association member Preston Mitchell said Thursday that a lower court will review the subpoenas. The association is seeking a certification mark for Hatch-grown chiles.

Probe Targetting High-Crime In Albuquerque Nets 98 ArrestsThe Associated Press

Authorities say 104 people have been charged with violating federal firearms and drug trafficking after a four-month, multi-agency investigation that aimed to curb high violent crime rates in the Albuquerque area.

The investigation also led to the arrests of four people on state charges, with two of the defendants accused in separate in killings that happened in May and June.

Authorities say 94 of the 104 suspects in the federal firearms and drug cases have been arrested. Ten are considered fugitives.

The defendants in federal court are accused of crimes ranging from distributing meth and heroin to being felons in possession of firearms.

The investigation was led by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and involved more than a half-dozen other law enforcement agencies, including the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.

Santa Fe Man Acquitted In Fatal Crash Pleads Guilty To DWIThe Associated Press

A Santa Fe man who was acquitted in 2011 of vehicular homicide in a crash that killed four teenagers has pleaded guilty to his third drunken driving charge.

Scott Owens was sentenced Wednesday to 364 days in jail, but 330 days were suspended under a plea agreement.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Owens went free after the hearing because he received credit for time served. He had been on electronic monitoring since being charged in February.

The sentence also calls for three years of probation, and he's required to seek treatment for substance abuse.

In the fatal crash, a jury found Owens not guilty of causing the wreck though he had admitted to drinking before the incident. He also was arrested in 2013 in another alcohol-related case.

Las Cruces Teen Pleads Guilty To Fatal ShootingThe Associated Press

A Las Cruces teen has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 17-year-old last year.

D'Shaun Hermans, who is 19, entered the plea Thursday under an agreement with prosecutors that calls for a 10-year prison term on charges that also include aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, tampering with evidence, aggravated battery and shooting at an occupied building.

The district attorney's office says Hermans accidently shot Jaycob Alba while the two were attempting to rob a home with three other teens in July 2015. Alba died instantly.

Hermans was 18 at the time of the shooting.

Under the plea agreement, authorities say, his sentence will be served at the same time as a sentence for charges in a separate burglary case.