Tuesday News Roundup: Santa Fe Plans To Expand Video Surveillance

Jul 15, 2014

Santa Fe Plans To Expand Video SurveillanceThe Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe plans to expand its video surveillance program by adding cameras at the convention center and other locations in the northern New Mexico City.

The City Council last year approved a contract with a security company to install 38 cameras at parking lots, parks and trailheads, and a planned request for proposals would add 104 more cameras.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the cameras have generated resistance based on concerns about government monitoring, but the Police Department says video evidence helps fight crime.

Department spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said video can help identify suspects and is persuasive in court.

Albuquerque Officers Fired Over Beating Sue Union - The Associated Press

Two Albuquerque police officers fired for the beating of a suspected car thief are suing their former police union for not protecting them.

A lawyer for John Doyle and Robert Woolever filed the lawsuit yesterday in Albuquerque District Court against the Albuquerque Police Officers' Association, alleging breach of contract and civil conspiracy.

Former Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz fired the two men for excessive force in the February 2011 arrest of Nicholas Blume in a car garage. A surveillance video of the arrest shows one officer on top of Blume while another kicks him repeatedly.

But Thomas Grover, the officers' attorney, says the officers were made scapegoats to try and prevent a U.S. Justice Department investigation into Albuquerque police.

40 Immigrants Deported From New Mexico - The Associated Press

Officials say around 40 or so Central American immigrants detained briefly in New Mexico have been deported.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the immigrants were placed on a plane in Roswell on Monday and flown to Honduras. The agency says the adults and children previously were housed at the temporary detention center in Artesia.

Authorities say more immigrants being held in Artesia will be sent back to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador soon, as part of an effort to quickly remove immigrants who were part of a recent surge along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Last month, the Obama administration announced plans to convert the Artesia facility into one of several temporary sites being established to deal with the influx of women and children fleeing gang violence and poverty in Central America.

Change Of Plea Hearing Set In Sensor Case - The Associated Press

A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for a Chinese national accused of trying to smuggle sensors made for the U.S. military.

Bo Cai, who previously pleaded not guilty, is set to appear before a federal magistrate judge in Albuquerque on July 23.

Court documents say 28-year-old Cai and 29-year-old Wentong Cai were arrested on charges of smuggling goods and violating the Arms Export Control Act, which makes a license necessary to ship certain items to China, Syria and Sudan.

Authorities say the suspects met with an undercover agent about buying the sensors made in New Mexico for military guidance systems.

Prosecutors declined comment on whether any agreements have been reached in the case.

Santa Fe Plaza Closures Have Begun  - The Associated Press

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales' plan to block traffic around the capital's historic plaza has taken effect this week.

Yesterday the city shut the east side of Old Santa Fe Trail and the west side of Lincoln Avenue to reduce traffic and reinvigorate the plaza during the summer tourism season. The streets will reopen after Fiesta weekend in September. Additionally, the city has ordered more tables and chairs for the plaza.

West San Francisco remains open to thru traffic and the outside lanes of both Lincoln and Old Santa Fe Trail will be open for deliveries and public safety vehicles.

Private Medical School Planned For NMSU - The Associated Press

Plans announced yesterday call for creation of a privately funded and operated medical school at New Mexico State University's main campus in Las Cruces.

The Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine would produce a projected 150 doctors annually starting in 2016, and NMSU President Garrey Carruthers says that would help address the state's shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas.

Santa Fe real estate mogul Daniel Burrell is financially backing the $85 million project and is the college's chairman.

Under its agreement with NMSU, the college has agreed to a long-term lease at NMSU's Arrowhead Park. Construction of a building to house the college is projected to begin within the next year.

Also, the college's students would have access to NMSU housing, services and activities.

Postal Worker Gets Probation In False Records Case - The Associated Press

A former U.S. Postal Service worker has been sentenced to three years of probation for falsifying records.

Federal prosecutors say 40-year-old Gabriel Arsola of Silver City was sentenced yesterday. He was also ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution to the Postal Service.

Arsola was charged in 2013 with dozens of counts of making false entries and reports on Postal Service forms to conceal a scheme to defraud the agency of revenue from the sale of postage stamps and packing material.

Arsola pleaded guilty in April to one count as part of a plea agreement.

Prosecutors say he also admitted to selling full books of stamps to customers but only scanning single stamps and recording the sale of single stamp transactions.

Albuquerque Boy Shoots Gun Found Outside Home -  The Associated Press

Albuquerque police say a 5-year-old boy found a loaded gun outside his home and fired it once before he got scared and dropped the weapon.

Nobody was injured in Monday's incident.

Police say the gun belonged to a man visiting the home of a friend and that the resident didn't know the man had brought a gun and placed it outside the home.

The man who brought the gun to the home was sought in a domestic violence incident. He was arrested on suspicion of charges that include child abuse.


Snake Handler To Reclaim Python Found In Santa Fe - The Associated Press

A professional snake handler who works in movie sets has come forward to reclaim a python that got into an engine block and stalled a car.

Santa Fe Animal Shelter officials say that the handler named Dusty was stunned to hear his Burmese python Eve had escaped from an enclosure at his home.

They say he will take possession of the snake after city animal services officers do an inspection of his home.

A woman's pickup stalled on a Santa Fe street last Thursday. Someone popped the hood and a 20-pound snake slithered across the engine block.

Authorities say the snake likely crawled into the pickup at the motorist's home several blocks away and the truck probably stalled because the python dislodged an electrical wire.


Extra "Carmen" Performance Added By Santa Fe Opera - The Associated Press

The Santa Fe Opera has added another performance of "Carmen" to the final week of its current season.

General Manager Charles MacKay said an Aug. 18 performance was scheduled because of a heavy demand for tickets at the dozen other performances of Carmen.

The opera's season will end with a performance of Carmen on Aug. 23. There's also a performance on Aug. 20.

This season the company also is performing Beethoven's "Fidelio," Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," ''Dr. Sun Yat-Sen" by Huang Ruo; and a double bill of Mozart's "The Impresario" and Stravinsky's "Le Rossignol."