Drug Treatment Outshines Arrests In New Mexico Pilot Effort – Associated Press
Promising results are emerging from a pioneering drug treatment program in New Mexico in which police refer nonviolent drug users prior to arrest into comprehensive counseling and services.
An evaluation of a pilot program in Santa Fe was published Thursday that shows an initial decrease in the number of arrests among drug users diverted into the treatment program.
In 2014, New Mexico's state capital became the second city after Seattle to implement a trademark police-assisted diversion program for drug users that has spread to 18 jurisdictions.
The study by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission finds a decrease in criminal recidivism during the first six months, though those benefits do not persist over time. It compares 76 treatment referral cases with similarly situated people entering the criminal justice system.
State Authorities Raid Ex-Pageant Director's Home– KOB-TV, Associated Press
Court documents show the New Mexico Attorney General's Office has raided the home of the New Mexico beauty pageant's former executive director.
KOB-TV reports that investigators this month searched Greg Smith's home in Elida where authorities say they seized pageant documents, two computers, a digital camera and cellphone.
Smith is accused of leaving the organization owing roughly $54,000 in unpaid scholarships to contestants.
Authorities accuse him of making questionable transactions as head of the organization.
Smith did not respond to a request from KOB for comment.
The organization's current executive director says the organization awarded $11,000 in scholarships this past year, and hopes to increase that amount as she and others work on "re-building Miss New Mexico from the ground up."
Long-Serving New Mexico Lawmaker Larry Larranaga Has Died – Associated Press
Recently retired New Mexico state Rep. Larry Larranaga, who guided the budget process and once led the state's transportation agency, has died.
Daughter Pamela Thies on Wednesday confirmed the former lawmaker's death in Albuquerque at age 80 from a degenerative brain disorder.
Born and raised on a ranch in central New Mexico, Larranaga earned a civil engineering degree at the University of New Mexico, served in the U.S. Army and worked for the state highway department before overseeing the agency as a Cabinet secretary.
A Republican, Larranaga served in the House of Representatives for 24 years and recently led the creation of a rainy-day fund to protect state finances from recession and downturns in the oil sector.
He is survived by his daughter, wife Charletta, son Alan and five grandchildren.
New Mexico Governor Campaigns For Nevada Candidate– Associated Press
Republican New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is rallying for Nevada's GOP candidate for governor.
Martinez spokesman Ben Cloutier said Wednesday the New Mexico governor will attend campaign events in Nevada for gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt.
Martinez is preparing to leave office at the end of the year after two terms. She has kept a wide berth from the political race to replace her in office between Republican Congressman Steve Pearce and Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.
While in Nevada, Martinez is speaking at a conference run by an advocacy group for bail bondsmen. She is a critic of recent judicial reforms in New Mexico that reduce the role of money bail.
Her travel is being paid for by the American Bail Coalition. She returns Friday.
New Mexico Tribal Casino To Launch Sports Betting – Associated Press
A tribal casino in New Mexico says it will be the first in the state to offer sports betting following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year that cleared the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting.
The sportsbook at Santa Ana Star Casino is scheduled to open Tuesday. The program will be managed by Nevada-based operator USBookmaking.
Casino CEO John Cirrincione said Wednesday the interest in sports betting has increased exponentially in recent years.
He expects the net profit margin to be slim since the house has a very small advantage and the operation is labor intensive. He says the intent is to add another amenity for patrons.
Existing tribal gaming compacts don't specifically address sports betting. Such wagering falls under another category, meaning casinos can move ahead without regulatory changes.
450 Drones Detected Flying Illegally Near Balloon Fiesta – KRQE-TV, Associated Press
Hundreds of Balloon Fiesta attendees have been caught flying their drones in restricted areas at Albuquerque's hot air balloon festival.
KRQE-TV reported Tuesday that about 450 drones have operated in no-fly areas in the past few days.
Balloon Fiesta hired Phoenix-based Aerial Armor this year to monitor the sky for drones.
The Federal Aviation Administration says illegal to fly a drone within 4 miles (6 kilometers) of Fiesta Park.
Aerial Armor's operation manager Brandon Lugo says their DJI Aeroscope System is able to detect drones within 11 miles (18 kilometers).
Police and the FBI have not said if any drone pilots have gotten into trouble for flying too close to Fiesta.
Flying a drone illegally can carry fines and up to five years behind bars.