Brief Evacuation At Nuke Repository, Judge Orders UNM Foundation To Release Records

May 26, 2018

Misaligned Drum Prompts Brief Evacuation At Nuke Repository– Associated Press, Carlsbad Current Argus

The U.S. government's only underground nuclear waste repository was briefly evacuated after a drum of waste was found to be misaligned inside it’s packaging.

The contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico activated its emergency operations center after the discovery was made Thursday night.

The Carlsbad Current Argus reportedthat officials determined conditions were stable and no radiation was released. The emergency operations center was deactivated three hours later.

Shipments to the repository resumed in 2017 following a nearly three-year closure that stemmed from a radiation release by a container of waste that was improperly treated at Los Alamos National Laboratory before being shipped to the repository.

That previous incident highlighted safety and security concerns at both the lab and repository and resulted in a costly recovery.

Judge Orders University Foundation To Release Documents– Associated Press, Albuquerque Journal

A judge has ruled that the University of New Mexico Foundation must release records related to a naming rights agreement.

The Albuquerque Journal reportsJudge Nancy Franchini issued the ruling Thursday, stating the foundation was subject to the state's public records laws as it acts on behalf of a public entity.

Independent journalist Daniel Libit had sued the foundation over its failure to produce records related to the naming agreement for the university's basketball arena.

The foundation, which serves as the fundraising arm for the university, had claimed it was not subject to public records laws because it is a private entity.

Foundation general counsel Pat Allen says they don't agree with the decision, but they respect the court. He says the foundation will consider its options.

Suspect In New Mexico Double Homicide Dies In Colorado– Associated Press

Authorities say a suspect in a double homicide in New Mexico has died after he was shot by officers in Colorado.

Officials in Colorado announced the death of 31-year-old Dustin Brian Montano Friday.

Montano was a suspect in the deaths of two people whose bodies were found Thursday in an apartment complex in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Later Thursday, authorities say they were told Montano might be in a Walmart in Fort Morgan, a small eastern Colorado city about 500 miles north of Albuquerque. Officials said Montano was from Sterling, Colorado, about 50 miles northeast of Fort Morgan.

Authorities say Morgan County Sheriff Jim Crone and Undersheriff Dave Martin confronted Montano when he came out of the store and opened fire after he made a "threatening gesture."

5 Prison Gang Members Found Guilty Of Federal Racketeering– Associated Press

Five members of a New Mexico prison gang have been found guilty of federal racketeering charges involving violent crimes including murder.

The U.S. attorney's office in New Mexico says a Las Cruces jury on Friday acquitted two other defendants of racketeering offenses.

Prosecutors say Edward Troup, Billy Garcia, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia and brothers Andrew Gallegos and Joe Lawrence Gallegos killed four men, including three inmates in 2001, to boost their status in the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico Prison Gang.  The fourth victim was slain in 2012.

They all face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

They will remain in custody until their sentencing hearings, which have not been scheduled.

The racketeering involved 23 other co-defendants. Seventeen have since pleaded guilty. Three have been convicted and a fourth was acquitted.