KUNM

Remains Of Boy Found At Amalia Compound, ABQ City Council Overrides Mayor's Topgolf Veto

Aug 7, 2018

Remains Of Boy Found At New Mexico Compound- Associated Press

A New Mexico sheriff says searchers have found the remains of a boy on property where authorities raided a makeshift compound last week in search of a missing Georgia child.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said Tuesday that the remains were found after a search in Amalia. Authorities are awaiting a positive identification of the remains discovered Monday.

Authorities say the search for Abdul-ghani, of Georgia, led them Friday to the squalid compound where they found his father, Siraj Wahhaj, four other adults and 11 children living in filthy conditions.

The adults are facing child abuse charges.

The father is accused of leaving Georgia in December with his then 3-year-old son.

Father Arrested At NM Compound To Face Court; Son Missing  Associated Press

The father of a missing Georgia boy is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday, which could shed light on a bizarre tale of guns, exorcism and child abuse at a New Mexico compound.

Court records show that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is scheduled to appear in Taos Magistrate Court. Georgia officials want him extradited to face a charge of abducting his son, Abdul-ghani, from the state in December when the boy was 3 years old.

The warrant says that Wahhaj told the boy's mother he wanted to perform an exorcism on his son.

Police say the search for the missing boy led them Friday to a squalid compound where they found Wahhaj, four other adults and 11 children living in filthy conditions.

The missing boy wasn't among them.

Navajo Robotics Team Heads To International Competition- Associated Press

A team of Navajo high school students from a remote town in southern Utah is building a robot to represent North America in an international robotics competition.

The teenagers have worked all summer on the project, scheduling meetings between long drives to jobs far from the red rock and sage country of Navajo Mountain, where there is little paid work, said teacher Heather Anderson.

The team was specially invited to compete in the First Global Challenge that starts Aug. 14 in Mexico City. Teams from more than 190 countries will create robots for energy generation, especially renewable power. Teams hail from countries ranging from Congo to Ukraine, and also include separate teams representing specifically the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Appeals Court Finds No Immunity For Agent In Cross-Border Killing- Associated Press

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Border Patrol agent who fatally shot a Mexican teen on the other side of the border doesn't have immunity and can be sued by the boy's family for violating his civil rights.

The ruling on Tuesday has wide implications and came almost two years after the agent's attorney argued he was immune from a civil lawsuit because the U.S. Constitution didn't extend to 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was in Mexico when agent Lonnie Swartz shot him about 10 times through a border fence.

The Border Patrol has said Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks at Swartz, endangering his life.

The central question in the case is whether Elena Rodriguez was protected by the U.S. Constitution as a Mexican citizen on Mexican soil.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its decision that the agent "violated a clearly established constitutional right and is thus not immune from suit."

Albuquerque City Council Overrides Mayor's Topgolf Veto- Associated Press

The Albuquerque City Council voted to override Mayor Tim Keller's veto, which denied funding to Topgolf in building a $39 million entertainment complex.

Keller vetoed a $2.6 million economic development package that would help the company in constructing a restaurant/indoor golf entertainment venue.

The "project participation agreement" includes $400,000 of city general fund money unspent from the fiscal 2018 budget. The proposal also includes the city reimbursing 50 percent of incremental city gross receipts tax revenue, up to $1.8 million, to assist the site developer with costs of land, building or infrastructure.

Keller had called it a "raw deal for taxpayers," in that it would bring low-wage, low-skill jobs and send the wrong signal that Albuquerque is prioritizing out-of-state companies over similar local efforts.

Female Inmate Break Out From Clovis Detention Center- Eastern New Mexico News, Associated Press

New Mexico officials say a female inmate overpowered a health-care worker and escaped from the Curry County Adult Detention Center in Clovis.

The Eastern New Mexico News reports 25-year-old Kaitlyn Martinez-Arington escaped Monday and remained at large as of early Tuesday.

It's the third time in less than two months that an inmate has escaped.

Martinez-Arington had been at the jail since May on drug and failure-to-appear charges.

A statement from Sheriff Wesley Waller said Martinez-Arington was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, yellow pants and socks.

She is described as 5-foot-6 inches tall, weighing 137 pounds with brown hair.

Waller says she has a tattoo that reads "Fearless" on her left wrist, a heart on her left arm and a skull on her right arm.

Audit Hits Pro-Los Alamos Agency On Booze, Food- Associated Press

New Mexico state auditor says an agency of New Mexico municipalities surrounding Los Alamos National Laboratory approved improper reimbursement for alcohol and baseball tickets.

The audit released Tuesday hits former Regional Coalition of LANL Communities executive director Andrea Romero over unlawful reimbursements as she seeks to win a state house seat in northern New Mexico.

Specifically, the audit says there was a lack of adequate documentation for some reimbursements in violation of policy and state law.

For months, Romero has faced criticism for recent spending that included expensive gatherings where alcohol was purchased.

Romero did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

Neri Holguin, a campaign manager for Romero, did not immediately return an email.

Albuquerque Police Say Auto Theft Suspect Held Family In Home- Associated Press

Albuquerque police say a 29-year-old auto theft suspect held a family in their home while trying to evade police before ultimately being arrested.

Police say the man was stopped in a car with a stolen license plate Tuesday, fled, entered the family's home and fled again when police tracked him to the home.

According to police, the man then was tracked to another home where he was arrested.

A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional information and it's not known how long the family was held and whether the man was armed.

Police said Dustin Ferguson was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, kidnapping and other crimes. It's not immediately known whether he has an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Navajo Nation Launches Program To Manage Horse Population – Farmington Daily Times, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is offering $50 for each surrendered horse to encourage the removal of unbranded, free-roaming horses from tribal land.

The Daily Times reports the nation's Department of Agriculture rolled out a voluntary horse sale and equine reward program last week to mitigate the overpopulation of animals on the range.

The department will issue a promissory note for each horse surrendered at the auction yard in Naschitti. According to the department, payment will be issued within 30 days.

The department funded the program through a $250,000 grant awarded this year by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Navajo Nation has removed more than 2,000 horses this year by roundup and entrapment.

 

Grandfather Issues Plea To Find Missing BoyAssociated Press

The grandfather of a missing Georgia boy has issued a plea for help.

Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn, New York, posted a message on Facebook asking for help in finding his grandson, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.

Authorities in New Mexico arrested the boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, on Friday.

He is one of five adults taken into custody on child abuse charges after authorities found them at a dilapidated compound with 11 children who were hungry and living in filthy conditions. Abdul-Ghani was not among them.

Police say the child was reported missing from Georgia on Dec. 10. The boy's mother told police he left with his father for a trip to a park and never returned.

In a federal court filing in 2006, Wahhaj claimed he was harassed on his way to and from Morocco by customs agents at JFK Airport in New York because he is "the son of the famous Muslim Imam Siraj Wahhaj."

State Engineer Halts Water Proposal In San Agustin PlainsAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

A company that sought to pump billions of gallons of water annually from an aquifer in Catron and Socorro counties is reconsidering its plan.

The Office of the State Engineer recently dismissed the application filed by Augustin Plains Ranch LLC.

A spokeswoman for the office tells the Albuquerque Journal the company didn't identify specific quantities for beneficial use.

The proposal to pump from the San Agustin Plains has faced criticism from environmental groups, ranchers, farmers and others in the two counties.

The New Mexico Environmental Law Center represented many of them in trying to halt the project that would have transported water to the middle Rio Grande Valley.

Michael Jichlinski is the project manager. He says the decision by the state engineer's office is shortsighted.

New Mexico Tells Some Land Owners To Pay $10K To Access Land – Las Vegas Optic, Associated Press

Some landowners in a small, northern New Mexico town are being forced to pay a $10,000 permit from the state to access their property.

The Las Vegas Optic reports the New Mexico State Land Office recently posted signs outside of Ribera, New Mexico, that informing some property owners they would need to purchase an easement to drive on a road sitting on state trust land. Owners need to drive on that road to reach their property.

Property owner Henry Ortiz, whose family has used the road for decades, says there are around eight people who own land that is accessible only by the road.

Kenny Baca with the State Land Office told the Optic that anybody who uses state trust land must have some type of permit or easement.

Officials Say Carlsbad Sinkhole To Take 2 Years To FillHobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A massive sinkhole on the southern edge of Carlsbad and along a busy intersection will take officials two years to fill.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports New Mexico Department of Transportation engineer Tim Parker said last week the $43 million project will proceed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as workers fill in the sinkhole with 300,000 to 1 million cubic yards of materials.

He said 26 to 28 wells will be drilled over the sinkhole in a grid pattern, which will be used to pump materials into the sinkhole.

The sinkhole is a former brine well, which was closed in 2008 when the ground was deemed unstable. Brine wells hold saltwater for oil and gas operations and leave behind underground caverns.

Parker says around 42,000 vehicles a day pass through the junction.

Navajo Nation Launches Program To Manage Horse PopulationFarmington Daily Times, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation is offering $50 for each surrendered horse to encourage the removal of unbranded, free-roaming horses from tribal land.

The Daily Times reports the nation's Department of Agriculture rolled out a voluntary horse sale and equine reward program last week to mitigate the overpopulation of animals on the range.

The department will issue a promissory note for each horse surrendered at the auction yard in Naschitti. According to the department, payment will be issued within 30 days.

The department funded the program through a $250,000 grant awarded this year by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Navajo Nation has removed more than 2,000 horses this year by roundup and entrapment.

Republican Candidate For Governor Clarifies Inaccurate Tweet – Associated Press

The Republican candidate for governor of New Mexico is clarifying a twitter post that inaccurately said he attended a luncheon for educators in central New Mexico.

U.S. Rep. and congressional candidate Steve Pearce tweeted Monday that a representative of his congressional office attended the luncheon in Belen last week while the congressman was campaigning elsewhere in the state. Pearce described his proud support for educators in the clarification.

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Marg Elliston says that the original tweet was dishonest because Pearce was campaigning far away in Farmington and stressed the importance of accountability on education issues.

Pearce and Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham are campaigning to replace GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, who cannot run for a third consecutive term in 2018.

Feds Say Auto Dealer Deceived Consumers Near Navajo NationGallup Independent, Associated Press

Federal authorities say an Arizona-based auto dealer who operates in towns near the Navajo Nation falsified consumer information and deceived consumers through advertisements.

The Gallup Independent reports the Federal Trade Commission recently filed a complaint against Tate's Auto Group after an investigation by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

The FTC alleges that Tate's Auto falsely inflated consumers' financial information on contracts to make it appear as if consumers had higher monthly incomes than they actually had.

In a statement, Tate's Auto Group owner and Manager Richard Berry strongly denied the allegations and said the company will be vindicated.

Founded in 1977, Tate's Auto Group is based in Holbrook, Arizona, and has four other locations throughout eastern Arizona and New Mexico.

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