LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A federal jury in Las Cruces has convicted a Chinese national of running a ring that helped immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally get New Mexico driver's licenses.
After about three hours of deliberations, the jury found Hai Gan of The Colony, Texas, guilty of all 64 counts of fraud and other charges stemming from allegations he helped the immigrants fraudulently obtain the licenses.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe restaurant owner is urging New Mexico lawmakers to increase the state's minimum wage.
Restaurateur Julia Castro said yesterday at a Capitol news conference that the employees at her Santa Fe cafe are paid above the city's minimum wage, which is higher than the state's $7.50 hourly wage rate.
Castro said well-paid employees are critical to providing quality service to her customers.
University of New Mexico student Israel Chavez joined Castro in supporting a minimum wage increase. He works as a restaurant server in Albuquerque.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal to let New Mexico voters decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana has stalled in committee and is likely dead for the year.
The state Senate Rules Committee voted 5-5 yesterday against sending the constitutional amendment to another committee for consideration. The proposal would have made it legal for adults 21 and over to possess and use marijuana.
PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — Court filings show a California manufacturer is seeking to buy assets of a defunct New Mexico peanut giant for $18.5 million.
The Portales News-Tribune reports that Trustee Clarke Coll asked a federal bankruptcy judge in Albuquerque last month to approve the sale of the Portales-based Sunland Inc. to Ready Roast Nut Co. in Hughson, Calif. In his Jan. 31 court filing, Coll's attorneys said Ready Roast's was the best proposal received for Sunland's assets.
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Farmington police say an infant is in state custody and his parents are facing abuse charges.
Police spokeswoman Georgette Allen says officers arrived at a Farmington motel Thursday after getting a call about an unresponsive child. The caller told police a couple was in the lobby arguing and the 7-month-old child would not wake up.
The child was taken to a local hospital and placed into the custody of the Children, Youth and Families Department. Allen said yesterday the boy is doing well.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former and current State Fair commissioners are criticizing Gov. Susana Martinez's administration for rushing through a 25-year lease in 2011 for a company to build a larger casino at the fairgrounds.
Former Commissioner Charlotte Rode testified yesterday before the Senate Rules Committee on objections she's previously voiced about the handling of the lease that allowed the Downs at Albuquerque to build a larger casino.
Commissioner Kenneth "Twister" Smith said he felt pressured to have the commission quickly approve the deal.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic Rep. Sandra Jeff of Crownpoint says she's been unfairly criticized for her vote against a $6 billion budget bill, which stalled last week on a tie vote in the House.
Jeff said in a House floor speech yesterday that there have been automated phone calls in her district suggesting that she doesn't support public education. She said she expected opposition in her re-election bid this year.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's embattled child welfare agency is the target of a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.
The complaint spells out the details of a custody battle that attorney Colin Hunter says resulted in a young girl being emotionally and physically abused at the hands of strangers.
The suit says an investigator with the Children, Youth and Families Department removed the child from her father's custody with help from Belen police officers and placed her with her mother despite a court order.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — African-American community and civil-rights groups are calling for action in the wake of reports that authorities didn't adequately respond to previous signs of trouble involving the family of a 9-year-old boy who died in December.
The groups say those police officers and state employees who had chances to save Omaree Varela but instead failed him and should lose their jobs.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Senate committee plans to take a look at operations of the State Fair and the award of a 25-year lease by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration to a racetrack company to build a larger casino at the fairgrounds.
The Senate Rules Committee is scheduled Monday to hear from former State Fair Commissioner Charlotte Rode, who has spoken out against the handling of the 2011 lease that allowed the construction of the larger casino by the Downs at Albuquerque.
This is Dick Estell. I would like to apologize for the problems our daily book-reading program has recently suffered. I have been assured that the problem has been identified and been corrected. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Supreme has upheld a tribal cultural designation that protects hundreds of thousands of acres on Mount Taylor.
In a ruling yesterday, the justices said the New Mexico Cultural Properties Review Committee acted lawfully when it granted the special designation for some 400,000 acres of public land on the mountain in 2009. The court did, however, reverse the panel's inclusion of 19,000 acres of land grant property, saying it was not state land as defined in the Cultural Properties Act.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In a development related to a 9-year-old boy's death months later, Albuquerque police say two officers left the boy's home long before reporting that they'd finished responding to a 911 call from the home.
The officers went to the home last June in response to the 911 call in which a dispatcher overheard profane and abusive comments. Months later, the mother of Omaree Varela was arrested in the boy's death at the home.