US Begins To FLY Wetbacks Home To Mexico – Illegal Immigrants Previously Bussed To Mexican Border Towns, Now Thousands – Many Of Them Criminals, Will Be Flown In Luxury To Mexico City At US Taxpayer Expense

October 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. government began flying Mexican deportees home on Tuesday in a two-month experiment aimed at relieving Mexican border cities overwhelmed by large numbers of people ordered to leave the United States, some who fall prey to criminal gangs.

The flights will run twice a week from El Paso, Texas, to Mexico City until Nov. 29, at which time both governments will evaluate the results and decide whether to continue. The first flight left Tuesday with 131 Mexicans aboard.

The flights are not voluntary, unlike a previous effort from 2004 to 2011 to deport Mexicans arrested by the Border Patrol during Arizona’s deadly summer heat. The U.S. government will pay for the flights, and the Mexican government will pay to return people from Mexico City to their hometowns.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary said late Tuesday that more than 2,400 passengers will be flown to Mexico City during the next two months. Mexicans from the country’s northern border states are not eligible.

The experiment comes as Mexican cities along the U.S. border are grappling with large numbers of deportees who have no roots, few job prospects and sometimes limited Spanish. Many are deported to cities that are among the hardest hit by organized crime in Mexico, particularly across the border from Texas in the state of Tamaulipas.

“The newly repatriated, often with no means to return home, are susceptible to becoming part of criminal organizations as a means of survival,” Gustavo Mohar, Mexico’s interior undersecretary for population, migration and religious affairs, said in a statement released by ICE.

ICE Director John Morton said the flights “will better ensure that individuals repatriated to Mexico are removed in circumstances that are safe and controlled.”

ICE, which is managing the flights, said passengers will include Mexicans with criminal convictions in the United States and those who don’t have any. They will be taken from throughout the United States to a processing center in Chaparral, N.M., before being put on flights at El Paso International Airport.

President Barack Obama’s administration has made migrants with criminal convictions a top priority among the roughly 400,000 people of all nationalities who are deported each year. The Department of Homeland Security said nearly half of the 293,966 Mexicans deported in its last fiscal year had criminal convictions in the United States.

The policy has fueled concern in Mexican cities along the U.S. border that deportees are being victimized, turn to petty crime or are recruited by criminal gangs. In February, Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Mexican Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire announced plans for a pilot program, which was to begin April 1, but negotiations delayed the start until Tuesday. Homeland Security officials said the time was needed considering the complexities and logistics of the effort.

The Border Patrol will not participate in the flights, which is called the Interior Repatriation Initiative, said ICE spokeswoman Nicole Navas.

Under a previous effort, some Mexicans who were arrested by the Border Patrol in Arizona’s stifling summer heat were offered a free flight to Mexico City, but they could refuse. The Mexican Interior Repatriation Program flights carried 125,164 passengers at a cost of $90.6 million from 2004 to 2011, or an average of $724 for each passenger, according to ICE.

The flights became a key piece of Border Patrol enforcement in Arizona as the agency moved to end its decades-old, revolving-door policy of taking migrants to the nearest border crossing to try again hours later.

Doris Meissner, who headed the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in the 1990s, said the pilot program was an encouraging sign that that two governments are working together to address the large number of deportees in Mexico’s northern border cities.

“It makes it less likely these people will try to renter the U.S. … and it creates some chance that they are in an environment where they actually have some ties,” she said.

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Vaughn New Mexico’s Police Force Has One Certified Police Officer – A Drug Sniffing Dog – Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo Quits After News Stories About His Not Being Able To Carry A Gun Because Of Criminal Background – Owes Tens Of Thousands In Child Support And Faces New Felony Charges

September 27, 2012

VAUGHN, NEW MEXICO – The police chief of the small eastern New Mexico town of Vaughn resigned Wednesday, leaving the town with just one certified member on its police force — a drug-sniffing dog named Nikka.

Dave Romero, attorney for the town, said Wednesday that police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo decided to step down after news stories reported that he wasn’t allowed to carry a gun because of his criminal background.

“He decided the attention was distracting,” Romero said.

State officials said Armijo couldn’t carry a gun since acknowledging that he owed tens of thousands of dollars in delinquent child support payments in Texas. Armijo also faces new felony charges after being accused of selling a town-owned rifle and pocketing the cash.

Romero said Armijo is working to clear up the latest case. He said Armijo has not ruled out seeking the police chief’s position again if his case is resolved and the position is open.

According to records, the only qualified member of the Vaughn Police Department is Nikka, a drug-sniffing dog. Vaughn’s other officer isn’t certified and pleaded guilty to charges of assault and battery last year. Noncertified officers can’t make arrests and can’t carry firearms.

But Romero said not having an officer qualified to carry a gun didn’t put Vaughn at risk. “England doesn’t allow police officers to carry guns,” he said. “Sometime the strongest weapon in law enforcement is communication.”

Vaughn, a town of about 450 located 104 miles east of Albuquerque, is a quiet town that is an overnight stop for railroad workers. And while residents say there is no crime problem, the town is set deep in what U.S. Homeland Security Investigations officials say is an isolated region of the state popular with drug traffickers. Officials say the desolate roads in Guadalupe County make it hard for authorities to catch smugglers moving drugs from Mexico.

Guadalupe County Sheriff Michael Lucero said since news about the police chief’s record became public his department has helped patrol Vaughn. But he said those efforts have put a slight strain on his already short-staffed department.

“I visit the town at least once a month,” said Lucero. “The important thing is to keep a presence so residents know we’re there to help if we’re needed.”

Romero said town officials are considering whether to hire another police chief or keep the department staffed with just one officer. He said it’s unclear whether the town will keep the police dog, which had been in Armijo’s care.

When approached by a reporter from The Associated Press at his Vaughn home, Armijo said he had no comment, and he declined to grant access to the canine for photographs or video.

The dog’s kennel could be seen in Armijo’s backyard, and a police truck marked “K-9” was parked in his driveway.

At Penny’s Diner, residents said they were embarrassed by the attention the episode has put on the small town.

“There’s just a whole lot of nothing going on here,” said cook Joyce Tabor. “We have very little crime. It’s quiet. So this really doesn’t matter.”

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Pedophile Portales New Mexico Police Officer Victo Castillo Arrested And Charged With Sexual Misconduct With Underage Girls – Fired

August 31, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO — A former Portales police officer has been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with underage girls.

New Mexico State Police say 45-year-old Victor Castillo was taken into custody Friday. He’s being held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond on suspicion of 31 felony charges.

Authorities say Castillo was assigned as the Portales Public School Resource Officer from Jan. 8 to May 25.

During that span, Castillo allegedly manufactured, possessed and/or distributed sexually explicit photos and videos of at least two female Portales High School students who are under 18.

Authorities say Castillo allegedly provided alcohol to female students and engaged in sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student he met while working at Portales High.

Portales police say Castillo was fired on July 13. It’s unclear if Castillo has a lawyer.

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Portales New Mexico Police Officer Mkel Aguilar Quits After On-Duty Sex In Patrol Car Gets His State Certification Suspended

August 4, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO – Portales Police Officer Mikel Aguilar has resigned after a New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy board announced his certification has been suspended.

Lt. Mark Cage says Aguilar resigned to “pursue other endeavors,” and the department had not received any formal notification on the officer’s certification status.

According to the board, Aguilar’s certification was suspended for having sex in a police vehicle while on duty with the Roswell Police Department. His employment ended there in 2011.

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Former Portales New Mexico Police And School Resource Officer Victor Castillo Arrested, Charged With Multiple Counts Of Sexual Misconduct With Children – Only Worked At The School For Three Months, But Faces Laundry List Of Charges

August 4, 2012

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO – A former Portales police officer has been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct with underage girls.

New Mexico State Police say 45-year-old Victor Castillo was taken into custody Friday. He’s being held on a $100,000 cash or surety bond on suspicion of 31 felony charges.

Authorities say Castillo was assigned as the Portales Public School Resource Officer from Jan. 8 to May 25.

During that span, Castillo allegedly manufactured, possessed and/or distributed sexually explicit photos and videos of at least two female Portales High School students who are under 18.

Authorities say Castillo allegedly provided alcohol to female students and engaged in sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old student he met while working at Portales High.

Portales police say Castillo was fired on July 13. It’s unclear if Castillo has a lawyer.

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Roswell New Mexico Police Officer Stephanie Coon Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Drunk Driving – Wife Of Former Officer Justin Coon, Convicted Of Using Stolen ID’s To Obtain Drugs Used To Make Meth

July 7, 2012

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO — A Roswell police officer who is the daughter-in-law of Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon is facing drunken driving charges.

Stephanie Coon was arrested early Friday morning after authorities say she hit a car in Roswell. Police say when they looked in the car, they found an open liquor container.

According to the police report, Coon refused a breath test and has been charged with aggravated DWI. She has been placed on administrative leave.

Coon is the wife of former Roswell Officer Justin Coon, who was sentenced to five years of probation for using stolen IDs to obtain drugs commonly used to make meth. He was eventually fired.

It was unclear if Stephanie Coon had an attorney.

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Neither Of Vaughn New Mexico’s Criminal Cops Allowed To Carry A Firearm

June 29, 2012

VAUGHN, NEW MEXICO – Freight trains still rumble through Vaughn, NM just like they have since the 1800s.

There are two schools, and a couple of bars and restaurants. Hoteliers still rent rooms to travelers even though few tourists stay overnight.

There’s little traffic and not much crime in this sleepy little town that 500 people call home.

Ranchers, farmers and business owners all support the second amendment.

Many own guns.

But not everyone in town has the right to carry a firearm – including the city’s only two police officers.

After run-ins with the law, both lawmen’s holsters are empty.

New Mexico State Police arrested Vaughn Police Chief Ernest “Chris” Armijo last summer after a grand jury in Texas indicted him for criminal nonsupport of his ex-wife and two young sons.

Armijo owed his first family more than $52,000. That amount was adjusted to $40,000 after he reached a plea deal with Randall County prosecutors.

“I was unable to make the amount that was being required and I got behind. Its hard, because if you’re not making enough to do it then what do you do?” Armijo told KOB. “It’s something I didn’t take care of and I know that I should have.”

Armijo, who’s annual salary is less than $30,000, got five years probation and was ordered to start making monthly payments to help support his 10 and 12 year old sons.

Texas officials also waived a standard condition of probation and decided to allow Armijo to carry a firearm.

Armijo requested his probation be supervised under a compact between New Mexico and Texas. It was approved, but New Mexico probation officials did not recognize the gun waiver Texas offered Armijo.

Unable to own a gun or any ammunition, Armijo sold an assault rifle to Guadalupe Sheriff’s Deputy Juan Sanchez in January.

Sanchez told a state police officer he purchased the AR-15 from Armijo for $250.

Nothing in the Armijo’s probation conditions prohibit Armijo from owning a dog.

But, State Police are investigating if Armijo used his K-9 during traffic stops.

They are also investigating an allegation Armijo may have used drugs from an evidence vault as a tool to train his K-9 dog — A dog the state says Armijo is not certified to handle.

In May, Director of the State Law Enforcement Academy Louis Medina received a letter from an Animal Protection of New Mexico case manager.

Alan Edmonds wrote to Medina after he received a call from someone who claim they witnessed Armijo beat the dog with a chain leash. In an informational report filed in May, State police officer Michael Wheeler claimed he saw the dog had an open wound.

“I clearly observed an open wound that was healing on top of the dog’s head,” Wheeler reported.

But Armijo denied hurting the dog.

“I know what you are looking at,” Armijo told Wheeler. “The dog hit her head on top of her cage. The drug dealers in town are making allegations that I have been hitting and abusing my dog. They are afraid I’m going to bust them.”
Armijo hires an un-certified officer

Brian Bernal is Vaughn’s second police officer.

He was hired this spring but still has not attended the state’s law enforcement academy and is not a certified cop.

Bernal has had his own legal problems, and up until a few weeks ago was carrying a weapon even though federal law prohibits anyone convicted on domestic violence charge from owning a firearm or ammunition.

In January 2011, Bernal pled Guilty in Santa Rose to assault and battery against a household member.

The misdemeanor was dismissed after Bernal completed an anger management course.

Reporter Gadi Schwartz and Producer Peter St. Cyr traveled to Vaughn to investigate the police force.

They confronted Mayor Paul Madrid, but he did not want to talk and slammed a garage door at his business off the main drag.

No one answered at the police station either.

Town residents did speak out and they have mixed feelings about the officer’s problems.

Many don’t think that Armijo should still have his job as chief.

“It’s ridiculous,” one man said.

Others don’t think the town should even have its own police force.

After a week of chasing Armijo down, the chief finally agreed to take St. Cyr on a ride around town in his police truck.

He claims he doesn’t need a gun to do his job.

“We have tasers, batons, mace … stuff like that,” Armijo said. “This isn’t a TV show. This is life. We don’t run in everyday with a gun drawn. Life isn’t in a pistol grip. It’s how you talk to people. I wasn’t the type of person to go, ‘I’m a cop now give me my badge and my chip on my shoulder.’ That’s not me.”

Guadalupe County Sheriff’s deputies and state police officers are called when Vaughn’s officers need backup.

Sheriff Michael Lucero told Schwartz his department already covers Vaughn.

“As a law enforcement officer I’m responsible for 3,000 square miles which consists of parts of Vaughn,” Lucero said. “We do handle it.”

Medina won’t comment on Armijo’s issue specifically, but said officers need to follow the law or find another job.

“You’re supposed to pay child support if that’s required of you. You’re supposed to follow all traffic laws,” Medina said. “If you get arrested for any reason then you’re in violation and that would be an allegation of misconduct that would come before our office for contemplation of revocation or suspension of their certification.”

Medina acknowledged he sent the chief a Notice of Contemplated Action after receiving a complaint against Armijo.

Medina said he will continue to review the matter and plans to make recommendation to the Law Enforcement Review Board soon.

Board members have the final say to suspend or revoke Armijo’s state certification.

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Veteran Santa Fe New Mexico Police Officer Jon Lopez Arrested, Supended, And Charged After Beating His Wife – Just Days After Department Initiated “Zero Tolerance” Policy Targeting Criminal Cops

June 25, 2012

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – A Santa Fe police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested Sunday evening on charges of battery on a household member and interfering with communications.

Jon Lopez, 30, who lives in Santa Fe, made arrangements with Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies to meet at the Santa Fe police headquarters at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday where he was arrested and later booked into jail.

The arrest comes just two days after the initiation of a “zero tolerance” policy at the Santa Fe Police Department that recommends termination on any first offense related to conviction for such a crime. The policy was enacted after members of the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families and Solace Crisis Treatment Center contacted the police chief asking for clear accountability in the police department with regard to cases involving domestic violence, sexual offenses and other specified types of misconduct.

Deputies responded to a domestic dispute call at about 6:12 p.m. Sunday in which Lopez’s wife reported that a verbal altercation had turned physical. Sheriff Robert Garcia said deputies saw that “she had marks on her arms consistent with bruising and a scratch.”

Garcia said Lopez took his wife’s cell phone before leaving the house. Lopez, according to a news release by Santa Fe police, had been an officer for three years and was assigned to the patrol division.

Lopez eventually called his house off Muscat Drive near N.M. 14 while deputies were interviewing his wife. Lopez agreed to meet with the deputies to meet at Santa Fe police headquarters. Garcia said Lopez was off duty during the incident.

Police Chief Ray Rael was notified of the arrest late Sunday night and said he did not have all of the details of the arrest Monday morning.

Rael said in an interview last week that the new policy should bolster the public’s trust in his department because prior to the zero tolerance policy, “punishment varied from written reprimands to suspensions.”

Rael said there will be two aspects to investigations into Lopez’s alleged actions — a criminal investigation and an internal department investigation.

“We will initiate out internal affairs investigation immediately and if the evidence shows that there is probable cause that he did commit this crime, the appropriate action will be taken,” Rael said.

He said the internal investigation will not rely on the criminal investigation and that action within the department can be taken before the criminal case is heard.

According to the Santa Fe County jail website, Lopez was booked at about 9:06 p.m. and was being held without bond.

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Prostitution Website Legal – Bogus Albuquerque New Mexico Criminal Charges Not Upheld By State Judge

June 25, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – A website operated by a former University of New Mexico president and a part-time Santa Fe resident that authorities say was used for prostitution is legal, a state district judge has ruled.

The decision highlights the difficulties that prosecutors face in using decades-old laws to combat a modern phenomenon.

The ruling comes as prosecutors were scheduled to present to a grand jury their case against former UNM President F. Chris Garcia, who is accused of helping oversee a prostitution website called Southwest Companions.

State District Judge Stan Whitaker ruled that the website, an online message board and Garcia’s computer account did not constitute a “house of prostitution,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Whitaker also said the website wasn’t “a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed.”

The ruling means that prosecutors will now have to decide how to proceed with a case involving Garcia, retired Fairleigh Dickinson University physics professor David C. Flory and others.

They were arrested last June on a criminal complaint charging them with promoting prostitution. Flory, a retired physics professor at the New Jersey school who has a home in Santa Fe, is accused of buying the site in 2009.

Garcia’s attorney, Robert Gorence, said Garcia was satisfied with the judge’s decision and felt vindicated. A woman who answered the phone at Flory’s Santa Fe residence said he had no comment.

Investigators said the prostitution ring had a membership of 14,000, including 200 prostitutes. Members paid anywhere from $200 for a sex act to $1,000 for a full hour. Prostitutes were paid with cash, not through the website, according to police.

But the ruling also showed the difficulty that prosecutors had in trying to prosecute owners of websites that promote or facilitate prostitution because of laws created long before the Internet age, experts say.

“Most state laws only address street walkers and brothels and are so narrowly written that it’s hard to prosecute these new cases,” said Scott Cunningham, a Baylor University economics professor who has written about technology and prostitution.

For example, Cunningham said, Craigslist withstood lawsuits and challenges by law-enforcement agencies and district attorneys’ offices to shut down its erotic services section and only closed them later for publicity reason.

To change laws, Cunningham said, some state will have to pass laws that outline step-by-step regulations on websites.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Drebing said prosecutors’ options are limited because New Mexico has laws on the books for computer fraud and use of computers and the Internet for child pornography, but none geared toward prostitution.

Drebing said no decisions have been made about how prosecutors intend to move forward with their case.

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Off Duty Bernalillo County New Mexico Deputy Sheriff Not Punished After The Dumbass Left Gun In Hospital Bathroom

June 25, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – An off-duty Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy left a gun behind at a local hospital but it was who picked it up and what he did after that sparked an investigation.

While patients shuffled in and out of Presbyterian Hospital Saturday, the search for the missing gun had hospital security and Albuquerque Police on high alert. “Anytime a weapon is involved, we’re very concerned, but we have highly trained security staff on site that make routine patrols,” explained Paul Sandoval, Director of Security for Presbyterian.

The Sheriff’s Department confirmed an off-duty deputy carrying his personal weapon left it in a restroom by accident. Worried who might find it and pick it up, APD sent officers to the security room of the hospital where detectives reviewed surveillance video.

Roughly 160 cameras are scanning the hospital everyday and one camera shows the hallway leading in and out of the bathroom where the gun was left. “It took a little while to determine who the person was and to make sure that we knew who exactly it was,” Sandoval explained.

Video showed just one person entering the restroom after the deputy from the time the gun was reported missing – Dr. Robert Gordon, a non-Presbyterian physician with privileges to practice there.

Hours after the gun went missing, APD found and questioned Gordon. Sources said at first he hesitated to give the gun back but finally handed over the weapon.

As for the deputy who clearly fouled up by leaving a gun behind, the Sheriff’s Department said he won’t be disciplined. “We definitely wouldn’t want handguns to be left where the public can have access to them, so that’s definitely a concern,” said Sgt. Sam White, of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.

While the hospital has a strict no guns policy, that excludes on and off-duty commissioned officers. “When they’re off duty, they actually have a duty to take law enforcement action if something occurs around them or in front of them that warrants their action,” explained Smith. “Therefore we encourage, we don’t require but we highly encourage deputies to carry their weapons off duty.”

KRQE News 13 was told a search warrant was in the works to get the gun back from the doctor but it’s unclear if the warrant was ever executed. The hospital is sending the police report to the medical staff to review Gordon’s privilege to practice there.

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Albuquerque New Mexico Police Barricade Residents Cars Parked On Street Around Shooting – Only To Ticket Them The Moment The “Crime Scene” Tape Was removed

June 11, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Albuquerque police still haven’t found the gunman who killed a man outside a rap concert downtown Thursday night.

But, people who parked in what would become a murder scene did find parking tickets on their cars after the crime scene tape finally came down.

The shooting happened in a downtown parking lot as a concert at the Sunshine Theater let out around midnight.

The whole area on the south side of Central Avenue from Second to Third Streets was blocked off for more than 10 hours so investigators could work. One of the cars parked on the street in the crime scene was Robert Espinoza’s

‘I was told to leave my vehicle here,” said Espinoza.

The downtown bouncer had no problem with that, but because he works two jobs, he knew it wouldn’t be until the afternoon before he could get back to his car.

“I called Parking Enforcement, and they told me I wasn’t going to receive any citations, and I received a citation,” said Espinoza. “I spoke to the person that issued the citation. She said I should have gotten my car as soon as the barricades were open. I was at work at that time.”

Even the city concedes that’s not citizen relations.

“Well, certainly we want to have better customer service,” Mark Motsko with the city’s Department of Municipal Development, which oversees parking lots.

A parking officer went to the area just 10 minutes after the crime-scene tape came down and started slapping tickets on windshields.

“Our parking enforcement officer made a mistake and went back in and cited about 10 vehicles,” said Motsko. The city is throwing all those tickets out and will be making sure it doesn’t happen again, he added.

“(We will be) more than accommodating as far as letting them get back into the area and get their vehicles,” said Motsko.

Espinoza is glad to have the ticket tossed but added, “It’s not the point of the cost it’s just the point that I had talked to people and they said I was going to receive nothing.”

Parking Enforcement says they will work closer with the Albuquerque Police Department so they know when a scene is going to be opened back up to give drivers a few hours to pick up their cars.

Meanwhile cops are still trying to solve the murder. Police say the killer targeted 20-year-old John Pressley after a fight spilled out of the theater.

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Veteran Albuquerque New Mexico Police Officer Jonathan Romero Arrested For Domestic Violence After Attack On His Wife

May 8, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – An Albuquerque police officer has been arrested on a domestic violence charge.

Jonathan Romero, 41, was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor charge of battery on a household member.

According to a criminal complaint, Romero was in an argument with his wife about their divorce at their Tijeras home. She later went to bed.

That’s when the report states that Romero went into the bedroom and tried to forcefully take her wedding ring off her finger.

Romero has been released from jail.

Police say Romero is a 14-year veteran on the force.

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Las Cruces New Mexico To Shut Off Water, Gas, And Sewer Services To Vehicle Owners Who Won’t Pay Red Light Camera Tickets – Residents Voted To Remove The Red Light Cameras Last Year

April 24, 2012

LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO – With more and more vehicle owners simply deciding refuse to pay red light camera and speed camera tickets, private, for-profit companies and municipalities are growing increasingly desperate. America’s second-largest city shut down its photo ticketing program last year largely because residents who could not afford the $500 citations did not pay them. On Monday, Las Cruces, New Mexico announced it would shut off the utilities of city residents who refused to pay Redflex Traffic Systems, the Australian company that owns and operates the cameras.

“The city is notifying offenders by mail that they have until the due date stated in the letter to pay the fines or make satisfactory payment arrangements,” a Las Cruces press release warned. “Failure to comply will result in termination of utilities services.”

Las Cruces claims vehicle owners owe $2 million. To encourage payment of the $100 photo fines, the city says it will employ an ordinance the council adopted in 1988 giving itself the right to shut off utility service to residents declared delinquent for any reason.

“The city may decline, fail or cease to furnish utility service to any person who may be in debt to the city for any reason, except ad valorem taxes and special assessments,” city code Section 28-10 states.

The city provides gas, water, sewer and trash services. Ordinarily, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission prevents shutting off the utilities of low-income residents from November 15 to March 15. This is primarily a safety issue as lack of heating during a cold snap — Las Cruces recorded a -10 degree temperature in 1962 — could endanger the elderly. The commission also protects the seriously ill and customers on Medicaid or on assistance from a charitable organization. A spokesman for the commission, however, told TheNewspaper that no such protections apply to utilities run by a municipality. To have service restored, Las Cruces and its private vendor will charge a $48 re-connection fee on top of $125 per ticket.

Las Cruces gave Redflex approval to issue speeding and red light tickets three years ago. In January, a local university was unable to prove the program delivered a substantial safety benefit. Last year, a majority of voters in Albuquerque voted for the removal of red light cameras.

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Dashcam Video Camera’s Audio Caught On Duty Santa Fe New Mexico Police Officer Sgt. Mike Eiskant Masturbating In Patrol Car – Plead Guilty For Slap On The Wrist For Laundry List Of Charges Including Stalking, Harassment, And Drugs

April 12, 2012

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – A police sergeant in Santa Fe, New Mexico is in a bad situation after a video caught him masturbating while he was on duty. The video has recently been released and it was filmed by the dashboard camera of the officer’s cruiser. The video released to the media does not show the inside of the cruiser but has audio that is quite steamy. The officer in question is Sgt. Mike Eiskant.

One former officer, Shannon Brady, was not surprised at the news of the video as Brady said that Eiskant had a bad reputation as a stalker of women and a ‘creeper.’ Brady attempted to file a harassment complaint against Eiskant years ago with the Santa Fe Police Department’s human resource division. The complaint was filed with compliance officer Raymond Rael, who is not the police chief for the department.

You can hear on the video his audio-erotic situation and the sound of a zipper can be heard clearly. The officer seems to be masturbating while looking at a nude picture of a woman on his cellphone. The video is a total of 10 minutes and at one time in the video the officer can be heard saying, “Oh, show me those big beautiful breasts, baby.”

They had plenty of opportunities over the course of many years to do something about it and they refused to,” Brady said.

When Brady tried to file the claim, Rael asked if she was “doing this only because of all the rumors against Mike Eiskant stalking women.” Rael instead offered mediation between the two parties but Brady declined. Rael has said that he is unaware of any other complaints against Eiskant, who has never been placed on administrative leave. Eiskant is scheduled to retire in November.

“I did not have prior knowledge, and if I did, I would have acted,” Rael said.

When Eiskant was promoted to the rank of sergeant he was issued the badge number 69. Rael explained that he did not know the reason why this happened.

“Is it possible that it is coincidental?” Rael said. “I suppose, but I can’t speak to that issue one way or another.”

A statement from the Attorney General Gary King’s office said that Eiskant promised he “will never again become a law enforcement officer anywhere in the United States,” as part of his plea deal. The agreement also states that “probation length, at initial sentencing, shall not exceed one year, and may be converted to unsupervised probation, in the discretion of the court, after any mandatory counseling has been completed.”

Eiskant entered a no contest plea in Bernalillo County District Court in front of Judge Reed Sheppard for other issues. The no contest pleas were for two counts of attempt to commit a felony for false imprisonment, one count of stalking, two counts of harassment and charges for larceny and possession of marijuana. The criminal complaint details that seven of the charges happened in 2011 and plenty of them involved women in traffic stops.

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Man Awarded 22 Million After Being Held 2 Years In Solitary Confinement Without Seeing A Judge Or Doctor By Dona Ana County New Mexico Authorities – For DWI…

January 26, 2012

DONA ANA COUNTY, NEW MEXICO – A man who spent two years in solitary confinement after getting arrested for DWI was awarded $22 million for suffering inhumane treatment in New Mexico’s Dona Ana County Jail.

Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, according to NBC station KOB.com. He said he never got a trial and spent the entire time languishing in solitary, even pulling his own tooth when he was denied dental care.

“‘[Prison officials were] walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate,” he said. “Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”

Slevin said he made countless requests to see a doctor to get medication for his depression, but wasn’t allowed to see one until only a few weeks before his release. He also never got to see a judge.

The $22 million settlement, awarded by a federal jury on Tuesday, is one of the largest prisoner civil rights settlements in U.S. history, according to KOB.com.

“I wanted people to know that there are people at The Dona Ana County Jail that are doing things like this to people and getting away with it,” Slevin, who now suffers from PTSD and believes he will have to take medication for life as a result, said. “Why they did what they did, I have no idea.”

Neither the county nor Slevin’s attorney returned phone calls from msnbc.com, but Slevin’s attorney, Matt Coyte, told KOB.com, “I have never been with or seen a braver man who stood up to these guys for what they did to him … [This case] It affects everybody and it’s not good for this country. It’s not good for Mr. Slevin for sure and it’s not good for this country. It has to stop.”

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New Mexico State Police Officer Bert Lopez Fired After Sex On Hood Of Car Was Caught On Camera

September 3, 2011

NEW MEXICO – The New Mexico State Police officer who was photographed having sex on the hood of a Honda is no longer a cop.

Bert Lopez was informed late this week that the Department of Public Safety has fired him, The New Mexican has learned.

It is unclear when that decision was made as agency spokesman Sgt. Tim Johnson has declined to comment until all appeals have been exhausted.

“It is an embarrassing situation for the department, but we have to remember the rights of the employee afford him due process we must follow so we won’t be commenting further,” Johnson said.

But when asked Friday evening if Lopez was still employed with the New Mexico State Police, Johnson said, “No.”

As of Wednesday when the security surveillance photos of Lopez had gone viral, state police said Lopez was still with the department and had been on paid administrative pending an investigation.

Lopez, who could not be reached for comment, has 30 days to appeal the firing. That appeal goes to a special commission within the New Mexico State Police Department and then state District Court.

Johnson would also not comment on whether the change in Lopez’s employment status was an indication whether the officer was in fact on duty at the time of the incident in question. Police have said they are assured the sexual encounter was not in exchange for anything related to Lopez’s position as a law enforcement officer and was not criminal.

Lopez was named the 2009 District 1 Officer of the Year for state police and was awarded a “Challenge Coin” in July, an honor given to officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Earlier this month, an employee with Santa Fe County came across surveillance photos taken from a motion-triggered security camera positioned at the front gate of the county-owned La Bajada Ranch south of Santa Fe. Two of those photos showing a uniformed officer having sex on the hood of a Honda were forwarded to Santa Fe Sheriff Robert Garcia, who identified the officer as being with New Mexico State Police. He forwarded the images to Robert Shilling, state police chief.

An internal affairs investigation was launched immediately, police have said, and Lopez was on paid leave for about three weeks. It is unclear when the photos were taken, but Garcia said he believed it was either late July or early August.

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Surveillance Photos Catch New Mexico State Police Officer Having Sex On Hood Of Car In Uniform And In Broad Daylight

August 30, 2011

NEW MEXICO – KOB Eyewitness News 4 has obtained surveillance pictures of a State Police officer having sex with a woman on the hood of a car in broad daylight.

State Police aren’t saying anything about the photos, but KOB Eyewitness News 4 is pressing for answers.

Two weeks ago KOB reported a story about an officer caught on camera having sex while in full uniform, an act shown on security camera at the Santa Fe Canyon Ranch.

KOB has blurred out the woman’s image, but you can see it’s during daylight hours and the officer is still wearing his utility belt.

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s office released the pictures to KOB after we filed a public records request. They say they also gave them to State Police over a week ago.

We got reaction from people who saw the photos.

“It’s an inappropriate use of time,” said Cate Campbell of Albuquerque.

“Inappropriate use of our tax money, I mean we pay these guys,” added Jacob Powers.

Albert Loma said if charged and found guilty, the officer should be fired.

“With that kind of judgment you don’t want him carrying a weapon,” said Loma. “I think it’s an embarrassment to the state patrol, they should be ashamed.”

Others say it hurts the reputation built by good officers.

“I expect them to be the mark. State Police should be the standard to which other police departments hold themselves to,” said a man identifying himself as Jeremy.

KOB knows the name of the officer – however, since he has not been charged with any crime, we have chosen not to release his name.

State Police will not comment about the pictures or any internal investigation against the officer, saying it is an ongoing personnel matter.

On Monday, they turned down an on camera interview, saying they need more time to gather the information we’re asking for.

So far no officer faces any charges.

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Veteran San Juan County New Mexico Deputy Sheriff Dale Frazier Fired After Being Caught On Video Beating An American Indian With A Flashlight

April 26, 2011

AZTEC, NEW MEXICO – The Sheriff’s deputy who was caught on camera beating a man in the head with a Maglight flashlight was fired for violating the agency’s use of force policy.

Dale Frazier, a nearly five-year veteran of the department, was captured on video striking Donovan Tanner, 22, in the head and neck with his department-issued flashlight during a St. Patrick’s Day incident.

The announcement came Monday from Sheriff Ken Christesen following an internal investigation that lasted more than three weeks.

The incident sparked an internal investigation March 30 — the same day it came to the attention of administration — and Frazier was placed on paid administrative leave April 6, Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Black previously said.

Christesen declined to comment on the termination because it is considered a personnel issue, he said.

He also declined to comment on the flashlight incident because of pending litigation.

“I think it is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Arlon Stoker, Tanner’s attorney. “I appreciate the Sheriff wanting to do a thorough investigation, but in this case I don’t think there is any other conclusion you can come to.”

Stoker, on Thursday, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the county, Frazier, Sheriff’s deputy Terry McCoy, Farmington Police Officer Misty Taylor and the Farmington Police Department.

Asserting numerous civil rights violations motivated largely by race, Tanner contends his rights were violated when he was unlawfully detained and arrested by Frazier.

Christesen adamantly denies there were past excessive use of force accusations against Frazier or allegations that Frazier demonstrated a racist attitude.

Moreover, Christesen denies there exists any issues of racism among deputies at the Sheriff’s Office.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

Leonard Gorman, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, condemned the beating, calling it an example of the type of discrimination faced by American Indians in Farmington.

Frazier, whose official last day was Friday, has 10 days to file a grievance for the termination per county policy, County Attorney Jim Durrett said.

“It gives the person an opportunity to be heard and have an independent third party make a decision on the validity of the action taken by the sheriff or department head,” Durrett said.

Should Frazier file an appeal, both parties would present evidence to an impartial third party — an appointed local attorney who is not a county employee — who will decide the outcome of the hearing.

The hearing officer “can do just about anything he wants to,” Durrett said, including upholding the termination or imposing lesser disciplinary action.

If Frazier opts not to file a grievance within the 10 days, the sheriff’s decision would be final.

Despite Frazier’s termination, the county will continue to represent him in the civil suit because he was employed at the time the incident occurred, Durrett said.

It remains unclear if Frazier will face criminal charges for the flashlight beating.

District Attorney Rick Tedrow asked the Department of Public Safety to review the incident, specifically to determine whether the force Frazier used was excessive.

Following the review from the Department of Public Safety, “the next determination would be whether there was criminal liability based on what occurred,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien said.

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Albuquerque New Mexico Police Officer Sgt. Joshua McDonald Reassigned After Catching Bernalillo Police Officer Det. Berto Chavez At DWI Checkpoint And Issuing Summons Instead Of Taking Him To Jail – Failed Field Sobriety Tests And Wanted Cops To “Help” Him Out

April 22, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — An Albuquerque police sergeant has been temporarily reassigned after issuing a Bernalillo police officer a criminal summons early Saturday for aggravated DWI and not booking him into jail.

Instead, Bernalillo police detective Berto Chavez was allowed to call for a ride after his motorcycle was stopped at an Albuquerque police DWI checkpoint on N.M. 528, just outside Rio Rancho, according to a police report. Chavez was off-duty at the time.

APD Sgt. Joshua McDonald spoke with Chavez’s supervisor and found that Chavez books prisoners into the Metropolitan Detention Center on a regular basis. For that reason, it was decided that it would be unsafe for Chavez to be booked and processed into MDC, according to a DWI offense report.

McDonald has been temporarily reassigned until an investigation on whether standard operating procedures were violated, APD spokesman Rob Gibbs said Thursday.

“Everyone arrested for DWI/(Domestic Violence), pending a medical exemption is to be booked,” APD Chief Ray Schultz said in an email Thursday. “The Sergeant did not follow policy.”

An exception would be a medical condition, and in those cases, a summons is to be issued, he said.

McDonald has been reassigned to the Northeast command and an internal affairs investigation has been started, Schultz said.

Chavez, meanwhile, has been suspended from the Bernalillo Police Department.

According to the police report, Chavez said he was driving home from a West Side Albuquerque bar. He showed signs of impairment and changed his story from having one beer to three beers prior to driving.

Chavez performed poorly on field sobriety tests and refused to continue the tests, according to the police report. He later identified himself as a Bernalillo police officer and asked police at the checkpoint several times to “help” him out, the report states.

Chavez also refused to submit to an alcohol breath test.

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Roswell New Mexico Police Officer Justin Coon Arrested, Fired, Charged With Stealing Drugs From Homes – Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon’s Son

April 14, 2011

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO – A Roswell police officer has been arrested on drug and identity theft charges.

Police say in a statement that Justin Coon was arrested Wednesday after a lengthy investigation.

He is charged with fraudulently obtaining the controlled substances ephedrine, possession of the controlled substance Oxycondone, and identity theft. Bond was set at $5,000.

KRQE reports that Coon is Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon’s son, and says he has been fired from his job.

The report says police found several bottles of painkillers prescribed to other people during a search of Coon’s home.

The station says police allege that Coon stole the drugs from homes while responding to service calls.

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Columbus New Mexico Gun Bust Includes Arrest Of Police Chief Angelo Vega, Mayor, And Village Trustee

March 10, 2011

COLUMBUS, NEW MEXICO – The mayor, police chief and a village trustee in the New Mexico border town of Columbus have been charged along with eight other defendants with buying firearms for illegal export to Mexico, federal authorities said Thursday.

An 84-count indictment accuses the 11 of being what authorities describe as a gun-trafficking ring. The ring bought guns “favored by the Mexican cartels,” such as American tactical 9 mm pistols and the so-called “AK-47 pistols,” which are weapons resembling AK-47 rifles but with shorter barrels and without rear stocks, U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales of New Mexico said.

In a phone interview, Gonzales said authorities seized 200 such firearms, allegedly purchased illegally using “straw” buyers, and intended for sale in Mexico. He added that 1,500 rounds of ammunition were also seized.

Authorities say much of the Mexican drug cartel violence is carried out with weapons originating from the United States. The indictment alleges that 12 firearms previously purchased by the defendants were found in Mexico and were traced back to them, authorities said.

“I couldn’t tell you for sure that the firearms would ultimately be put in the hands of people who were going to hurt other people, but because we believe the firearms were destined for Mexico, we feel we made a big difference today,” Gonzales told CNN.

Arrested Thursday were Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, 40; Mayor Eddie Espinoza, 51; and village trustee Blas Gutierrez, 30, said Gonzales, who added the town’s population was about 2,000 people.

It could not be determined by CNN Thursday whether any of the defendants had retained attorneys.

They and seven other defendants were arrested by federal and local authorities Thursday, and all but one of them were arrested in Columbus, Gonzales said. The 11th defendant, Ignacio Vallalobos, 24, of Columbus, remained a fugitive and is facing two counts of firearms smuggling and a conspiracy charge, authorities said.

“Presumably these folks are engaging in this activity because there is money to be made,” Gonzales said. “We’re very disappointed that we have among these 11 people three people in government positions — a police chief sworn to protect the public and a mayor sworn to lead and provide for the public safety and a village trustee that has that duty as well.”

Authorities also conducted searches at eight residences, a business and even the Columbus Police Department, authorities said.

“That was part of the tragedy here — we’re actually having to search a police department,” Gonzales said. He didn’t know what was seized from there Thursday.

Because the small town of Columbus has only a four-member police force, including the chief, Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos told CNN Thursday that his deputies were now providing police patrols.

But the sheriff has told Columbus officials that their police department could no longer use the same radio frequency as the county, to ensure the integrity of local law enforcement.

Sheriff Cobos said the remaining three members of the village board were now running the town, and he was in negotiations with them to take over police protection.

“It’s right across the border from Puerto Palomas (Mexico) and they have a history of street violence down there that include daylight assassinations, kidnappings, shootings and one of the last incidents down there was finding three heads in a gazebo in the town plaza,” Cobos said.

When asked about how the federal raid left the small town without several top officials, the sheriff said: “I haven’t seen anything like this before. Whatever comes up, we take care of it the best way we can. We’re meeting with other state officials to see what we can come up with” regarding public safety in Columbus.

Between January 2010 and March 2011, the defendants allegedly bought about 200 firearms from Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, New Mexico, which is owned and operated by Ian Garland, 50, who was also arrested and is facing several charges, authorities said.

The defendants allegedly claimed they were the actual purchasers of the firearms, when in fact they were acting as “straw purchasers” who were buying the firearms on behalf of others, authorities said.

The indictment came after a yearlong federal investigation and was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a program targeting the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply, authorities said.

During the investigation, law officers also seized 40 AK-47-type pistols, 1,580 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, and 30 high-capacity magazines from the defendants before they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said.

No weapons were knowingly permitted to cross the border, authorities said.

“Identifying and arresting individuals involved in criminal activities, especially weapons and drug trafficking, in our homeland is a national security priority for ICE,” Manuel Oyola-Torres, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Texas, said in a statement.

All 11 defendants are charged with one count each of conspiracy to smuggle firearms from the United States to Mexico. If convicted of this charge, each defendant could receive a sentence of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

Some of the defendants also are charged with making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms. Conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

Some of them are charged with unlawfully concealing and facilitating the transportation of firearms knowing that the firearms were intended for exportation from the United States, authorities said. The maximum penalty for that offense is 10 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, authorities said.

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New Mexico State Police Officer Tickets Careful Driver For 34 In 40 MPH Zone

August 22, 2010

BELEN, NEW MEXICO – A Valencia County woman who was pulled over for driving too slow said state police went too far.

Jeanette Sedillo said was driving on Reinken Road in Belen, N.M., after 10 p.m. Wednesday when a state police officer pulled beside her and told her to get off the road.

Sedillo pulled into a parking lot, questioning what she did wrong.

Apparently, going too fast was not the problem: the officer wrote her a ticket for driving 6 mph under the speed limit.

“He said, ‘You were going 34 in a 40,'” said Sedillo.

The citation said she violated the statute for minimum speed. Now, she has to pay a $70 fine for what she thought was careful driving.

Sedillo said there was little traffic in the area at the time and that she wasn’t putting drivers in danger. She said state police went too far with the citation and that officers should be going after more serious offenders.

“They’re just out to get anybody,” said Sedillo.

Sedillo is planning to fight the citation in court.

State police wouldn’t give specific information pertaining to the incident, but a spokesperson said every agency can ticket drivers for going under the speed limit, which is impeding traffic.

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New Mexico State Supreme Court Overturns Bogus Albuquerque Police Drunk Driving Charge And Conviction – Police Finally Must Now Prove An Individuals “Intent To Drive While Intoxicated”

June 9, 2010

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – The state Supreme Court has overturned the drunken driving conviction of a motorist found passed out in his vehicle with the keys on the passenger seat.

The court on Tuesday said prosecutors had failed to prove that Mark Sims was in “actual physical control” of the vehicle when he was arrested by Albuquerque police in 2004. His vehicle was in a commercial parking lot.

The court used the case to outline a new standard of evidence that police and prosecutors need to show that a motorist intended to drive while intoxicated and posed a danger to themselves or the public.

The justices said courts can’t speculate that a passed out motorist might awake and then drive.

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Bernalillo County New Mexico Jail Guard Reyna Lujan To Be Charged With Felony Rape Of An Inmate Is Pregnant With His Baby

May 28, 2009

BERNALILLO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO – A former jail guard could be charged with rape after deputies say she became pregnant by an inmate while she was working at MDC.

Bernalillo County investigators think the inmate impregnated the guard, Reyna Lujan, in his own cell while the guard was on duty.

Lujan, who denies the charges, quit the jail after her bosses started investigating her.

A tip from inmates spurred the investigation. Now investigators have hundreds of phone calls between the two.

“The sheriff’s office is recommending that she be charged with criminal sexual penetration in this case,” said DA spokesman Pat Davis. “It’s a second degree felony because it involves a person of authority — in this case, a correctional officer.”

Lujan could be hit with a rape charge for each time she had sex with the inmate, Eric Brayman, even if she didn’t force the inmate.

“Although we can’t speculate whether it was consensual or not, the law doesn’t make an exception for that,” Davis said.

The report on Lujan contains transcripts of some of the 300 calls between her and the inmate. In one she tells Brayman she is pregnant with his child. In another, the pair laugh about an incident where they were in the middle of a sex act inside Brayman’s cell when Lujan’s radio goes off and she is called away.

Davis says they are handling the accusations seriously.

“We want to move this as quickly as possible because we want to maintain the integrity of the MDC,” Davis said.

There is no word on whether Lujan is pregnant with the baby. Based on timelines in the police report, she could be in her third trimester.

When Brayman was released from the MDC, he moved in with Lujan.

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Albuquerque New Mexico Police, Bernalillo County Deputies, Firefighters,State Police, And National Guard Freak Out Over "White Powder" At School

February 3, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Ten people are being medically tested after a letter was opened containing a mysterious white substance at Taft Middle School.

State police spokesman Peter Olson said a school employee in Taft’s administrative building opened a letter that was addressed to Taft Middle School just before dismissal Monday which contained a mysterious white powder. Police said four other people were in the room with that employee.

One of the people in the room called 911 and firefighters responded. Four initial firefighters called in backup from state police and the National Guard.
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The National Guard is analyzing the white powder to see whether it is dangerous. National Guard officials said the five employees, the four fighters firefighters and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy stayed in quarantine and were later transported to University of New Mexico Hospital for further testing.

Officials said no students were exposed and the school was not locked down. Employees managed to do an orderly school dismissal.

The powder is now being taken to the state crime lab in Albuquerque for official tests.

The commander for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit with the National Guard said every threat is taken with care and caution.

“You know, if you look at the situation, if it got out of hand or had explosives connected to it, or was weaponized, it would be a threat to the state and to all these kids here at the scene,” said Lt. Col Bill Shuert. “We go in and do our operations like it’s the real thing.”

State police will take over the criminal investigation and work with the postal service to find the person responsible.

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Albuquerque New Mexico Police, Bernalillo County Deputies, Firefighters,State Police, And National Guard Freak Out Over "White Powder" At School

February 3, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Ten people are being medically tested after a letter was opened containing a mysterious white substance at Taft Middle School.

State police spokesman Peter Olson said a school employee in Taft’s administrative building opened a letter that was addressed to Taft Middle School just before dismissal Monday which contained a mysterious white powder. Police said four other people were in the room with that employee.

One of the people in the room called 911 and firefighters responded. Four initial firefighters called in backup from state police and the National Guard.
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The National Guard is analyzing the white powder to see whether it is dangerous. National Guard officials said the five employees, the four fighters firefighters and a Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputy stayed in quarantine and were later transported to University of New Mexico Hospital for further testing.

Officials said no students were exposed and the school was not locked down. Employees managed to do an orderly school dismissal.

The powder is now being taken to the state crime lab in Albuquerque for official tests.

The commander for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Unit with the National Guard said every threat is taken with care and caution.

“You know, if you look at the situation, if it got out of hand or had explosives connected to it, or was weaponized, it would be a threat to the state and to all these kids here at the scene,” said Lt. Col Bill Shuert. “We go in and do our operations like it’s the real thing.”

State police will take over the criminal investigation and work with the postal service to find the person responsible.

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