Wednesday News Roundup: Santa Fe Vote Sought On Pot Decriminalization

Jul 16, 2014

Santa Fe Vote Sought On Pot Decriminalization  – The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Activists have submitted thousands of petition signatures to try to force a November vote in Santa Fe on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.

ProgressNow New Mexico and Drug Policy Action on Tuesday submitted petitions bearing more than 7,100 signatures. They need at least 5,763 valid signatures from registered city voters to force a vote on their proposal.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the Santa Fe proposal mirrors one which the groups are trying to get on the ballot in Albuquerque.

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

Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Santa Fe now is a petty misdemeanor for the first offense.

New Mexico Authorities Cancel Amber Alert For Kids - The Associated Press

An Amber Alert issued for two children by New Mexico State Police and Las Vegas police was canceled after the kids were found unharmed.

State Police say 25-year-old Davina Wilkins was arrested on suspicion of custodial interference late Tuesday. She's accused of taking her two boys without authorization and in violation of a court order.

They say Wilkins was participating in a supervised visit with her children Tuesday afternoon when she fled the Children, Youth and Families Department facility with them.

Police: Man Fatally Shot By US Deputy Had BB Gun - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque police say an alleged probation violator threatened a deputy U.S. marshal with a BB gun before the deputy marshal shot him.

Authorities have said Deputy Marshal Kenneth Daniel shot and killed 27-year-old Anthony Jacob Chavez at a home on July 2.

Chavez was on probation on a conviction for transporting people illegally in the United States. The conviction resulted from a 2010 arrest in Luna County.

The Albuquerque Police Department is leading the investigation into the shooting, and the Albuquerque Journal reports that police disclosed Tuesday that Chavez had a BB gun and threatened the officer.

Court records state that Chavez had a pending criminal case in which he was charged with vehicular homicide. That stemmed from a May 2013 fatal accident.

State Police: Officers Fire Shots At Woman - The Associated Press

New Mexico State Police say two officers fired shots at a woman's vehicle as she fled from a criminal investigation in northeast Albuquerque yesterday.

Police say officers were serving an arrest warrant on 27-year-old Kayenta Jackson who was wanted on suspicion of fraud and forgery and was taken into custody.

However, when agents went to Jackson's home, they say 28-year-old Roxanne Torres fled in a vehicle.

Police say two officers fired shots at the vehicle and an investigation is underway to determine why.

Authorities say Torres crashed her vehicle, fled in a stolen SUV and drove to a hospital in Grants for treatment of a gunshot wound.

Police say Torres later was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

Law Enforcement Academy To Talk Training Changes - The Associated Press

The board for the state's main law enforcement academy is scheduled to discuss recent changes to its cadet curriculum and vote on revoking licenses of troubled officers.

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy board is slated to meet this morning in Albuquerque as protesters vowed to picket outside over recent Albuquerque police shootings.

Attorney General Gary King, chair of the board and who is running for governor against Gov. Susana Martinez, also has come under criticism for not aggressively revoking the licenses of fired officers.

The academy recently adopted a new training model officials say could reduce police shootings, although some critics argue those changes may increase them.

Changes came following complaints from police chiefs and sheriffs who said the academy wasn't properly preparing cadets.

Portales Breaks Ground On Water Treatment Plant - The Associated Press

Portales has officially broken ground on a $27 million treatment plant that will help the eastern New Mexico community meet its future water needs.

State Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn was among the officials at Tuesday's ceremony. He says the plant represents the largest state investment in a water facility in the department's history.

A state loan program provided more than $26 million. Portales also received state and federal grants for the project.

The wastewater treatment plant and reuse project has been under development for years. Construction is already underway and concrete work is expected to begin next week.

Portales Public Works Director John DeSha says the plant represents the first of a four-part plan to securing a lasting water supply for the city. The treated water will be used on city parks.

Lawsuit: DEA Paid New Mexico Man With Crack - The Associated Press

A lawsuit says federal agents paid a struggling addict in crack for his help with an undercover investigation into a Las Vegas, New Mexico drug operation.

Court papers filed this week in U.S. District Court say 38-year-old Aaron Romero was approached by DEA agents in 2011 to assist with drug deals in exchange for portions of the drugs obtained by authorities.

The lawsuit claims Romero's participation in "Operation Smack City" reignited a previous crack addiction.

Romero's lawyer says the arrangement was in violation of DEA policy.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Albuquerque declined to comment.

The lawsuit seeks $8.5 million in damages for the loss of "love, familial relationships, and companionship" related to Romero's  crack addiction.

Navajo Nation To Hold Tribal Energy Summit - The Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is hugely dependent on coal for revenue.

Tribal officials want to get their government talking about how to diversify the portfolio at an energy summit.

The tribe's Division of Natural Resources is sponsoring the summit to be held July 23-24 at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort east of Flagstaff.

Navajo President Ben Shelly signed off an updated energy policy last October that keeps coal prominently in the tribe's energy mix. At the time, he said the tribe also must explore clean coal technology and make strides in renewable energy development.

The summit is a chance to discuss the energy policy, along with the history of natural resources on the Navajo Nation, coal markets, carbon capture and the future of renewable energy.

New Feature "Bare" To Film In New Mexico - The Associated Press

Another feature film is coming to New Mexico. New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis said Tuesday that the feature "Bare" will begin principal photography in Albuquerque and Moriarty at the end of July and film through mid-August. He says "Bare" is the story of a young girl living in Nevada who starts a complicated relationship with a female drifter who introduces her to a darker world and forces her to grow. The movie stars Imogen Poots, Riley Keough, Chris Zylka and Rachel Korine.