News Briefs: Tuesday September 23, 2014

Jessica Ramirez
Jessica Ramirez is facing child abuse charges after she allowed her drunk teen nephew to drive her through ABQ while she was drunk so she could sleep with her boyfriend police say.

KRQE News Briefs for Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

Woman accused of letting drunk teen nephew drive

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police say a drunk woman had her young, drunk nephew drive her through Albuquerque so she could sleep with her boyfriend on her birthday. Police arrested 34-year-old Jessica Ramirez just after midnight Monday.

Police say the nephew who is just 13 or 14 years old crashed into the landscaping on Coors near Central. Ramirez told the Albuquerque Police Department he hit the curb twice, then she grabbed the wheel to help him and that is when they wrecked. She is charged with child abuse and her nephew was charged with DWI.

Clovis officer under investigation after traffic stop

CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – The police officer caught on camera slamming a handcuffed man down to the ground is now under criminal investigation. Clovis police officer Brent Aguilar had pulled a woman over in August then got into it with her boyfriend.

The officer wouldn’t tell them why he pulled them over and the boyfriend wouldn’t give his ID to the officer. Aguilar then threw the boyfriend down. That man, Jorge Corona, has hired a lawyer.

Initially Clovis police said they were launching an IA investigation into Aguilar and putting him on desk duty. Now the officer could be facing charges.

‘Dig’ to premier in 2015

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A series filmed partially here in Albuquerque won’t make its fall premier until next year. Executive producers for the show Dig, blame production issues due in-part to the conflicts in the Middle East.

The show was originally slated to be filmed entirely in Jerusalem, it ultimately moved to Croatia, with interior shots being filmed here in the Duke City. The show stars Jason Isaacs, as Peter Connelly, an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem.

The 6-episode series will now debut sometime in 2015.

Web series seeks marijuana business proposals

TAOS, N.M. (KRQE) – Two Taos TV executives want their latest reality show to focus on pot. Wendy Robbins and Karen Paul are the co-creators of a new web series called “The Marijuana Show.”

A show they describe as, “the apprentice meets shark tank–if the sharks were dolphins.” They want people to propose business plans centering on marijuana. They’ve been holding auditions in Denver, where pot is legal.

For more information»

Expo NM, Roadrunner Food Bank team up to help families in need

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Did you recycle when you visited the state fair? If you did, you helped put food on the table for some New Mexico families.

This year expo New Mexico and Roadrunner Food Bank worked together to recycle. More than 40 barrels were placed all across the fair grounds to collect aluminum, plastic and cardboard. Around 27 tons of materials have now been hauled off to the food bank where it will be baled then sold.

The money made will go towards helping Roadrunner Food Bank.

Flamenco institute to move to new location

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Nearly a year after a devastating fire destroyed the downtown flamenco facility they’re getting ready to move into new location. It was last December when flames ripped through the National Institute of Flamenco at Second and Gold Street.

They lost everything including pictures and videos documenting their 15-year history. Despite the fire, flamenco classes took place at Tierra Adentro of New Mexico, and the Carlisle gym on the UNM campus. But now the institute says it will soon have a temporary facility on Central near UNM.

They’ve signed a three year lease on the new property. In the meantime, they are designing a permanent facility. The Albuquerque Fire Department says they still investigating what caused the fire.

Group pushes youth to register to vote

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The campaign to decriminalize marijuana is ramping up efforts to lure young voters to the polls this November. It’s in response to last week’s ruling by the state Supreme Court. The justices said voters in Santa Fe and Bernalillo Counties will get to answer a poll question about reducing pot penalties.

Tuesday the organizer for the campaign says young people are under-represented in elections. They say the want to educate students on how they believe decriminalizing marijuana will benefit New Mexico. The group was at UNM Tuesday helping students register to vote and they will be at UNM and CNM all week.

They will also be sending students text alerts and messages on social media to remind them when it’s time to vote.

City parking summit to address downtown parking issues

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Do you think there’s not enough parking in downtown Albuquerque? The city is hoping to fix that.

In November city officials will be holding a parking summit. The goal is to bring downtown stakeholders together to discuss any parking problems and come up with solutions. Officials say the summit will also look at the traffic counts downtown and the cost of adding parking spots or parking structures.

Police chase man near Eubank, Lexington

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police responded to a situation near Eubank and Lexington on Tuesday involving a man who allegedly has outstanding felony warrants.

Police say the man ran from officers. A perimeter was established and police said the situation was contained.

ABQ shooting suspect in police custody

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque police say they’ve caught the man who shot a gas station clerk several months ago. Darrius Valles, 20, was taken into custody at a northeast Albuquerque apartment Monday.

Police had been looking for him since May when they say he walked into the fill-up gas station at 12th and Candelaria, tried to rob the clerk, then shot the clerk in the leg. The victim did survive.

Valles was also wanted in a home invasion back in July. According to the criminal complaint he was one of4 three men who forced their way into the home and held up the homeowners at gunpoint then stole three laptops, a wallet, an iPhone and a gun. One of the homeowners recognized Valles.

He is now behind bars facing several charges including robbery with a deadly weapon.

Presbyterian clinic set to open in Rio Rancho

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Presbyterian Medical Group is expanding service in Sandoval County with a new clinic in Rio Rancho. The 17,000-square-foot clinic on Highway 528 and Enchanted Hills Boulevard is a $5 million project that will provide primary care services and an onsite reference lab.

Eventually the clinic wants to add radiology along with a pharmacist clinician and behavioral health practioner on site. Right now people in Rio Rancho and northwest Albuquerque face long waits or are unable to find a primary care physician in their area. The new clinic is set to open October 6th.

Damaged lines disable 911 service in Alamogordo

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – 911 Service in Alamogordo is down because of damage to a fiber optic line. Police say calls for service are being re-routed through Roswell in the meantime and they are confident the problem won’t affect response time for emergencies. Crews are working to fix the line as quickly as possible.

Security cameras reduce crime at ENMU

PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – Police officers say new surveillance cameras on the Eastern New Mexico University campus appear to be reducing crime. Approximately 100 cameras were installed around campus recently, some inside and some outside.

The high definition cameras have infrared capabilities, are responsible to changes in light and provide a live feed of campus. The cameras were rolling earlier this month when a group of teens stole and vandalized pumpkins at the pre-school on campus. They captured the teens rolling the pumpkins around in a parking lot and help identify them, leading to an arrest.

The chief says the cameras have become a vital crime fighting tool that has been used for a variety of cases from burglary to battery. The chief says the cameras have also proved key in exonerating individuals who were falsely accused of crimes.

Roswell golf course vandals sought

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Roswell police are looking for some vandals who trashed some golf carts causing thousands of dollars in damage. It happened at the Nancy Lopez Golf Course at Spring River this weekend.

Police say a security guard noticed two teenagers on the course at about 3:30 Saturday morning driving around in golf carts but they fled. That’s when the guard noticed two carts had been crashed, one of them into a food smoker and trailer. One of the carts had the ignition and dash board ripped out. Five other golf carts were later found crashed too.

Police seek Roswell armed robbery suspect

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Roswell police are also looking for an armed robber who targeted a cell phone shop last night threatening the employee. It happened at about 8:00 p.m. at the Sprint store on north Main. Police say the robber did have a weapon and used it to threaten the clerk but aren’t releasing any more details or even saying what the weapon was.

UNM alum, Essence Mag founder to visit old school

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The founder of Essence and Latina magazines is scheduled to attend homecoming events at the University of New Mexico – his alma mater.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Ed Lewis is slated to speak Wednesday at The Pit and sign copies of his book, “The Man from Essence.” The 74-year-old entrepreneur also is scheduled to take part in the “All Alumni Open House” on Thursday.

Lewis graduated from UNM in 1964 and was only one of five black students when he came to campus.

He arrived to UNM on a football scholarship but was cut from the team after his freshman year.

A 2005 book on leadership suggested that Lewis was cut because he wore dashikis and supported Malcolm X.

Poll: Most oppose immigrant driver’s licenses

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A new poll shows likely New Mexico voters still oppose an 11-year-old state law that allows immigrants who are in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses.

The Albuquerque Journal reports three-fourths of the likely voters surveyed opposed the law, echoing findings of similar Journal polls.

Meanwhile, the September Journal poll found that 20 percent supported it. Three percent had mixed feelings, and 2 percent didn’t know or wouldn’t say.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez made repealing the law an issue when she first campaigned for office in 2010 and continues to advocate repeal as she runs for re-election this year. Her Democratic opponent, Attorney General Gary King, supports the law.

The new poll was conducted Sept. 9 through 11 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

Vehicular homicide trial for former APD officer begins

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The trial of former Albuquerque Police Department Sergeant Adam Casaus, is underway. A jury was selected Tuesday morning and opening statements began just a short time ago. They must decide if Casaus is guilty of vehicular homicide.

In February of 2013 Casaus drove through a red light at Paseo del Norte and Eagle Ranch hitting a car with Lindsey and Ashley Browder inside, Ashley died. Casaus who was off duty claims he was chasing a drunk driving suspect.

His attorney says they will present evidence of that. Prosecutors contend there is no solid evidence of that.

Trial of sheriff accused of ‘road rage’ continues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A motorist says he thought a northern New Mexico sheriff was going to execute him during a heated traffic stop.

Michael Tafoya told jurors Monday he begged for his life as Rio Arriba County Thomas Rodella pulled a gun on him following a road rage chase in March.

Rodella is standing trial of federal charges of deprivation of rights and brandishing a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities say Rodella was in plainclothes when he pulled over Tafoya, jumped out of his personal SUV with a gun, and shoved his badge in Tafoya’s face.

Defense attorney say Rodella did not injure Tafoya and simply wanted to stop him from driving recklessly.

The 26-year-old Tafoya is scheduled on Tuesday to face cross examination.

Man shot by police linked to child sexual assault

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) – Authorities say a Bloomfield man fatally shot by a police officer was under investigation for child sexual abuse.

The Daily Times reports Bloomfield Police Chief Randy Foster confirmed last week that 61-year-old John Rogers was under investigation on suspicion of child sexual assault.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the investigation was related to multiple counts of criminal sexual penetration of minors.

Foster said for legal reasons he could not discuss the specifics of the case.

Jonathan Rogers, John Rogers’ son, referred questions to the family’s attorney, Brendan O’Reilly of Albuquerque. O’Reilly said he had no comment on the investigation.

New Mexico State Police say Rogers, who was fatally shot by police, was getting a gun out a vehicle’s glove box at the time of the shooting.

Denver judges to hear New Mexico immigration cases

DENVER (AP) – Two immigration judges in Denver will begin hearing asylum cases by video from a remote New Mexico deportation center.

The Denver Post reported Tuesday the Denver judges will assume work that had been done by judges in Arlington, Va., also by video.

The Justice Department says it makes more sense to have Denver judges hear the cases because they’re in the same time zone as the center in Artesia, N.M.

A surge of immigrants from Central America has backed up federal courts and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration attorneys filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block deportations from Artesia, saying immigrants there don’t have proper access to lawyers and are being forced to clean restrooms and retell stories of violence and rape in front of children.

Testing of New Mexico babies exposed to TB begins

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) – State health officials have launched its first screening of babies possibly exposed to tuberculosis at an El Paso hospital.

The New Mexico Department of Health said Monday the screenings will continue with the first of two special clinics hosted by the state.

Officials say 50 babies from New Mexico may have been exposed to tuberculosis because of an infected employee who worked in the postpartum and newborn nursery area of Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso. Letters have been sent to the families, and they’re being invited to screening clinics.

The children were potentially exposed at a nursery in the Providence Memorial Hospital of El Paso between September 2013 and last month. The health care worker tested positive for tuberculosis late last month.

Oil lease sales on state land generate $7 million

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The state Land Office says it received $7.3 million from the most recent sale of oil and gas leases.

The agency said Monday the revenue is the highest from leases since getting $7.8 million in December 2013.

Leases were sold last week for oil and gas development on three dozen tracts of state land in Lea, Eddy, Chaves and Roosevelt counties. The highest bid was nearly $1.8 million for a 320-acre parcel in Lea County.

The Land Office said it’s collected more than $246 million from oil and gas lease sales since 2011.

The agency received more than $726 million last year from royalties from oil and gas production.

The revenue goes to support state institutions, including public schools and universities.

San Juan County hikes raises tax to close deficit

AZTEC, N.M. (AP) – San Juan County is temporarily increasing its gross receipts tax to cover a $6 million shortfall in a program that helps pay for uninsured health care.

The Daily Times reports that the two increases approved Monday by the county commissioners means shoppers will pay nearly 4 cents more for every $20 of spending.

Commission Chairman Jack Fortner says he didn’t like the increases but that the county can’t lose hundreds of jobs and health care services that otherwise could be eliminated.

One of the taxes is set to expire at the end of 2016 and the other at the end of 2017.

Gun stolen from NM officer’s vehicle found

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Santa Fe County authorities have recovered a gun and a bulletproof vest but not a badge and some other gear belonging to a state Corrections Department officer whose vehicle was burgled earlier this month.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that three people have been arrested in connection with the theft but that the Sheriff’s Office is looking for a fourth person.

A corrections officer’s duty bag was stolen on Sept. 8.

It contained a .40-caliber handgun, a bulletproof vest, a law enforcement badge, a stun gun, a duty belt, a baton and a set of handcuffs.

The gun was found in a trash can in a park after it was sold following the theft.

New Mexico says health exchange premiums to drop

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Many New Mexico residents getting health coverage through the state health insurance exchange will generally see slightly lower premiums in 2015.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the state Office of the Superintendent of Insurance says premiums will go down for three of the five insurers.

According to the office, premiums for a 50-year-old non-smoking Albuquerque-area resident will drop on average by 7 percent at Molina Healthcare, 1.5 percent at New Mexico Health Connections and 1 percent at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico.

Presbyterian Health Plan’s premiums aren’t changing.

A fifth participating insurer, Christus Health Plan, is in its first year.

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