Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The chief of New Mexico state police says investigators are close to concluding their inquiry into the escape of two violent inmates, with no charges pending against the guards who were transporting the men.

Chief Pete Kassetas told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it's possible others would be arrested in the March 9 escape.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A fiberglass and metal version of a spaceship reported missing from the UFO Museum in the New Mexico town of Roswell has been found in pieces west of the city.

Police say the model UFO was stolen from the museum early Saturday and surveillance video showed three people hauling the spaceship off in a pickup truck.

Albuquerque TV station KOB reported Wednesday that the saucer was located in a ditch off Highway 70 about two miles west of Roswell.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is pushing for an initial court hearing to present fraud charges against a former state senator after several judges have recused themselves from the case.

Revised charges against former Democratic Sen. Phil Griego were filed Tuesday in state First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe. Four judges have bowed out of taking the case since a nine-count criminal complaint was filed against Griego on Feb. 29.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some University of New Mexico students will have to pay more per semester now that regents have approved a 2.5 tuition hike and a 10 percent increase in student fees.

The regents voted on the increases during their budget summit Tuesday.

The university's administration had proposed a 3 percent tuition increase, but regents moved to lessen the amount after hearing from faculty and student representatives.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A former Corrales municipal judge has been indicted for allegedly embezzling workers' compensation benefits.

Prosecutors say a Bernalillo County grand jury has charged Luis Quintana with two counts of embezzlement including one of more than $20,000.

They say one felony count carries a maximum penalty of nine years in the state prison and a $10,000 fine. The other felony count is punishable by up to a three-year prison term and a $5,000 fine.

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Police say a spaceship — or at least a fiberglass and metal version of one — is missing in Roswell, the New Mexico town that still stirs debate about extraterrestrials seven decades after the 1947 crash of a flying object.

Police say the model flying saucer was stolen from the UFO Museum in Roswell early Saturday and remained missing Tuesday.

Some on social media suggested in jest that "men in black" or "aliens" were to blame. But police say surveillance video shows three thiefs hauled away the spaceship in a pickup truck.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's top water manager says he's not aware of any unauthorized diversions from the Rio Grande by one of the state's major irrigation districts.

State Engineer Tom Blaine made the comment in response to a lawsuit filed this week by WildEarth Guardians.

The environmental group claims the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District has failed to prove to the state engineer's office that the water being diverting is being put to beneficial use.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico corrections guard under investigation after two violent inmates escaped from a prison transport van also has been accused of leaving inmates unattended in a hot van.

The cases raise questions about the handling of prisoner transports in the state.

Officials disclosed in documents obtained by The Associated Press that Taracina Morgan and Michael Ortega were in charge of transporting two violent felons who escaped at a gas station on March 9. Both were later apprehended.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health says childhood obesity rates in the state may be beginning to level off after a downward trend in recent years.

The department says childhood obesity among third-graders dropped 16 percent between 2010 and 2015 while dropping 10 percent among kindergarteners, but each category increased slightly between 2014 and 2015.

According to the department, the increases noted between 2014 and 2015 are statistically insignificant.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say more than 1,600 citations were issued for dangerous driving through a coordinated effort to crack down on road rage in Albuquerque.

Gov. Susana Martinez and Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry announced the results Monday for Operation Lilly. It's named after the 4-year-old girl who was fatally shot in a road rage incident last year.

Following Lilly's death, Martinez directed the New Mexico State Police to develop a plan to help curb dangerous driving and road rage in the Albuquerque area.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — A private racehorse training facility in southern New Mexico is under quarantine.

After a single horse was confirmed to have a parasitic disease, the New Mexico Livestock Board imposed the quarantine at the Jovi Training Stables in Sunland Park.

One horse was confirmed last Friday to have equine piroplasmosis, an bloodborne disease transmitted by ticks or improperly sanitized syringes.

Humans cannot get equine piroplasmosis.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man has pleaded guilty to a bank robbery charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say 38-year-old Fabian Baros entered his plea Monday.

Baros was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with robbing the BBVA Compass Bank in Albuquerque on Sept. 10, 2015.

The complaint alleged that Baros robbed the bank by approaching the bank teller and demanding money.

Baros was arrested later that day by Albuquerque police and indicted last October.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Former New Mexico women's basketball coach Yvonne Sanchez says she will address "in the future" if race or gender played a factor in her firing.

The veteran coach said at an emotional news conference Friday she believed male coaches may have more time to turn around struggling programs while female coaches don't.

New Mexico Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs fired Sanchez on Friday, saying he didn't see a trend toward a championship for the team after five seasons.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico health officials say they have confirmed the state's first case of the Zika virus.

They announced Friday that a 46-year-old Bernalillo County man has tested positive for the infection.

The unidentified man acquired the virus while travelling to Central America.

Deputy Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, state epidemiologist Michael Landen and other officials announced the test results at a news conference Friday evening in Santa Fe.

The rare tropical disease has become an epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A woman accused of helping two New Mexico convicts who sparked a manhunt after escaping from a prison transport van made her first court appearance. 45-year-old Celeste Salcido went before a judge Saturday. Salcido, of Albuquerque, has been charged with harboring or aiding a felon and assisting escape. Authorities say she is the partner of Olivia Cruz, the sister of convicted murderer Joseph Cruz. He and fellow convict Lionel Clah escaped March 9. The judge ordered Salcido held on $10,000 bond. It was not known if she had an attorney.

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A facility that will help people with alcohol addiction is set to open in San Juan County this week. The Sobering Center is scheduled to open today. County officials say the sobering center will fill a gap left by the Four Winds Recovery Center. Four Winds Recovery has long been the only detox center in the county. San Juan Regional Medical Center, the city of Farmington and Presbyterian Medical Services all worked with the county to open the Sobering Center. It has private rooms for transgender people or those having a mental health crisis.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Albuquerque's zoo went into a brief lockdown after an ape went missing from its enclosure. The zoo had visitors stay inside for about an hour Saturday morning after Tika, a 2-year-old siamang, got through a hole in some mesh. Zoo officials say Tika did not go far. Zoo keepers made a larger hole for the ape to get back into the exhibit and be with its mother. Dana Feldman, of the City of Albuquerque, says a tree branch may have caused the initial tear that led to the hole. The mesh was already scheduled to be replaced within the next two months.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is acknowledging the concerns of officials in New Mexico and elsewhere that spring runoff could stir up contaminants left behind by the Gold King Mine spill in southern Colorado.

EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry wrote in a letter to the state's congressional delegation that the federal agency is providing $2 million for long-term monitoring and planning. States and tribes can apply their share to monitoring this spring.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An environmental group is accusing a New Mexico utility regulator of misconduct for asking the state's largest electric provider to make a political donation to a Democrat running for the state treasurer's office.

New Energy Economy filed the complaint against Public Regulation Commissioner Karen Montoya with the Secretary of State's Office on Thursday.

The Santa Fe-based group had called out Montoya last year and questioned her relationship with Public Service Co. of New Mexico.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election regulators have disqualified at least eight aspiring legislative candidates after reviewing applications and signature petitions, leaving several certified candidates unopposed in primary or general elections or both.

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office confirmed the disqualifications Thursday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A government watchdog report says federal officials have failed to ensure dozens of Native American schools undergo standard safety building checks each year.

The Government Accountability Office says its review of federally run schools for Native American children found safety hazards ranging from exposed electrical wires to aging dormitory boilers that were blamed for high carbon monoxide levels. The findings were included in a report presented to a congressional subcommittee Wednesday.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico telecommunications company is getting a $13.8 million loan from the federal government to improve internet service.

Members of the state's congressional delegation announced the loan for Sacred Wind Communications on Thursday.

The low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service is being awarded under a program that aims to improve infrastructure in underserved tribal communities.

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Army will be stationing an air defense testing unit at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich confirmed the announcement Wednesday. The New Mexico Democrat say the range is a national treasure for the U.S. military due to its terrain, airspace and expertise.

The Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment will be made up of 143 soldiers. They'll be supporting Army missile defense programs that work to put the best equipment in the hands of soldiers deployed around the world.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Two women have been arrested by New Mexico State Police for allegedly aiding and harboring two escaped convicts last week.

Police on Wednesday announced the arrests of 40-year-old Michelle Abeyta of Albuquerque and 51-year-old Patricia Petrushkin of Humble, Texas.

Abeyta allegedly turned in one of the fugitives after a three-day manhunt launched after Joseph Cruz and Lionel Clah escaped from a prisoner transport van in southeastern New Mexico.

Both were taken back into custody last weekend in Albuquerque.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is not ready to endorse another Republican candidate for president after campaigning for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio only to watch him drop out of the race.

A spokesman for the nation's only Latina governor on Wednesday said only that Martinez is proud to have stood by Rubio and will continue to watch the GOP primary race as it unfolds.

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