Thursday News Roundup: Fed Judge To Sentence Zetas Members In Horse Deals

Sep 5, 2013

Fed Judge To Sentence Zetas Members In Horse Deals - Associated Press

A federal judge is set to sentence five members of the Zetas cartel for laundering drug money through horse racing.

Among the five men appearing in court on Thursday is Jose Trevino Morales, a brother to two of the Mexican gang's top leaders.

A jury found the men guilty of intent or conspiracy to commit money laundering. They face 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the men ran a scheme that went through $16 million in 30 months to buy, train and race horses. The operation created fake companies and sometimes fixed races.

Federal agents said horse owners, trainers and others crafted bank deposits to mask the drug money being used to fund the operation.

The trial was held in Austin because federal authorities in Central Texas prosecuted the case.

NM Judge Upholds County's Gay Marriage Ruling - Associated Press

A northern New Mexico county has become the eighth in the state to allow marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Los Alamos County clerk's office issued a license Wednesday to a lesbian couple shortly after a state district judge upheld a decision requiring that to happen.

Janet Newton and Maria Thibodeau were denied a marriage license last week and they filed a lawsuit that led to a ruling by District Court Judge Sheri Raphaelson that same-sex couples are entitled to be married in New Mexico.

Dona Ana County's clerk led the way on the gay marriage issue Aug. 21 by deciding independently to allow marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. Other counties have followed, including Grant County, which plans to start granting licenses next week.

NM Official Suggests State Acquire Federal Land - Associated Press

State Land Commissioner Ray Powell says New Mexico could generate more money for education by buying some federal land when it's put up for sale in the future by the government.

Powell said in a statement Wednesday the Bureau of Land Management occasionally sells land and some parcels might be suitable for the Land Office to generate revenue from grazing, energy production or commercial development.

Public education is partly financed with earnings from a permanent fund that receives royalties and other income from land given to New Mexico by the federal government at statehood.

Powell said acquiring BLM "disposal land" could be an alternative to a legislative proposal for increasing the yearly payout from the Land Grant Permanent Fund and earmarking the extra money for early childhood programs.

2 Horses In Southeastern NM Get West Nile - Associated Press

Two horses in Lea County have tested positive for West Nile.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports that Mary Cap, a veterinarian who operates Mountain States Equine near Hobbs, confirmed that two horses had the deadly virus. She says one horse was in Tatum and the other was in Hobbs.

Both horses were treated and reportedly doing well.

The state Department of Health says there have been four reported human cases of the virus in 2013. Officials say says most West Nile virus cases in New Mexico occur in August and September.

Common symptoms of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus are fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches.

Officials Urge NM Residents To Get Flu Shots - Associated Press

Health officials are reminding New Mexicans to start making plans to get flu shots.

The New Mexico Department of Health says the flu vaccine is arriving in some doctor's office and pharmacies.

And while it may seem early, Health Secretary Retta Ward says now is the time to make an appointment to get vaccinated. She says it is hard to predict how intense the next flu season will be, so New Mexicans shouldn't wait until flu season starts to get vaccinated.

Ward says everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each flu season, especially children, pregnant women, people over 50 and anyone with special health conditions or other issues that put them at a higher risk.