Judge Orders Militia Leader Held In Jail, Investors See Future In State's Hemp Industry

Apr 29, 2019

Federal Judge Orders Militia Leader Held In JailAssociated Press

A federal magistrate judge has ordered the leader of an armed group that detained asylum-seeking families near the U.S.-Mexico border to remain jailed as he awaits trial on a federal firearms charge.

Larry Mitchell Hopkins pleaded not guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms during a detention hearing Monday in Albuquerque.

A federal prosecutor argued Hopkins posed a flight risk and danger to the public if released, citing his history of felony convictions, and use of aliases.

The charge against Hopkins stems from a 2017 visit by an FBI agent to his home in New Mexico.

Hopkins' attorney questioned prosecutors' argument that the 69-year-old posed a threat, given two years had passed between the 2017 encounter and his arrest April 20 in Sunland Park, New Mexico.

The federal hearing reconvened after the courtroom was cleared without explanation by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Memorial Service Set For Slain Albuquerque Mail CarrierKOB-TV, Associated Press

An Albuquerque mail carrier fatally shot when he tried to intervene in an argument between a woman and her teenage son is being remembered.

KOB-TV reports that family and friends of 47-year-old Jose "Pepe" Hernandez will gather Monday morning at a church in Rio Rancho for the public memorial.

Hernandez was outside a home April 22 where 17-year-old Xavier Zamora was fighting with his mother. According to the mother, Hernandez tried to diffuse the situation and used pepper spray on the teen.

According to a criminal complaint, Zamora took a gun from the house and shot Hernandez in the stomach.

He escaped but was taken into custody two days later.

The teen has been charged with murder.

Hernandez, an Army veteran, worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years.

Governor, Sheriffs Discuss Handling Of Gun Control IssuesAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and many New Mexico county sheriffs were at odds over a gun-control bill she signed into law. But a recent meeting between them reportedly had a conciliatory tone.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that Lujan Grisham met with at least five sheriff and several New Mexico Association of Counties officials, with Lujan Grisham spokesman Tripp Stelnicke later saying "there was much more agreement than disagreement."

Numerous sheriffs had said they didn't plan to enforce a new law on background checks for gun sales. That stance drew criticism from the governor.

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace said there was agreement during the meeting on a need for better communication and that he's optimistic that sheriffs will be more involved in negotiations over firearm legislation in the coming year.

2 Diagnosed With HIV After Getting Facials At New Mexico Spa Associated Press

New Mexico health officials say two people who received facial injections from the same spa are infected with HIV.

The New Mexico Department of Health said in a news release Monday that two clients of VIP Spa in Albuquerque who received "vampire facials" last year were recently infected with the same HIV strain.

Officials say the two people patronized the spa between May and September of 2018.

The spa typically provided vampire facials where the client's own blood is injected into the face to replenish the skin.

The agency says more than 100 people have already been tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C. Testing is free and confidential.

VIP Spa shuttered in September after state agencies found issues with how needles were handled and disposed.

Lawsuit Accuses Doña Ana County Attorney's Office Of SexismAssociated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the district attorney's office in Doña Ana County for gender discrimination and infringing on the free speech rights of three female attorneys.

The ACLU of New Mexico said Monday that the three assistant district attorneys were suspended last year after they refused to take down "No Mansplaining" signs from their doors.

Two were later fired and the third resigned.

The suit is seeking monetary damages.

Roxanne Garcia-McElmell, a spokeswoman for the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office, says the office has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

The women say they were paid less and promoted less than male staff despite juggling a similar caseload. They claim they were told to smile more and assigned to a case because of their looks.

New Mexico Investors See Future In State's Hemp Industry - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The move to legalize the production of hemp has investors in New Mexico racing to get a piece of what could be a multibillion-dollar industry.

The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexican business leaders are hurrying to capture part of what cannabis market research firm New Frontier Data estimated will become a $2.6 billion industry nationwide by 2022.

Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, belongs to the cannabis species of plants like marijuana. The plants can appear nearly identical, but hemp varieties contain only trace amounts of psychoactive components and do not cause a high.

Hemp was legalized nationally in December with Congress' passage of the Farm Bill.

New Mexico House Bill 581, passed during the recent legislative session, authorizes several agencies to regulate the industry here.

New Mexico Democrats Re-Elect Marg Elliston As Chairwoman Associated Press

New Mexico Democrats have re-elected its chairwoman who ushered in a Democratic sweep of statewide offices and strengthened its House majority last year.

The party said Marg Elliston of Corrales was re-elected with 85% of the vote Sunday during the semi-annual Democratic Party of New Mexico State Central Committee meeting. She will serve a 2-year term.

The body also elected Marcus Porter of Albuquerque to serve as Democratic Party of New Mexico vice chair at large.

Elliston first became party chair in April 2018 to fill out the term left vacant by Richard Ellenberg's resignation. Ellenberg stepped down after defending a prominent figure in the state's film industry who had been facing sexual misconduct allegations.

Elliston is the wife of former Democratic U.S. Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma.

Officials Say Monitors To Give 'Warning' On Carlsbad Well - Carlsbad Current-Argus, Associated Press

New Mexico officials say updated monitoring devices will be able to provide advanced warning if a defunct brine well on the edge of Carlsbad begins to collapse.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports equipment was included in initial spending that was earmarked for remediation of the potentially hazardous site.

Jim Griswold, environmental bureau chief with the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, says 10 percent of $45 million went to the final design of the project and upgrades to monitoring equipment at the site.

Griswold says officials hope the monitoring devices will help give early warnings and save lives in the event of a collapse.

Formerly owned by now-defunct company I&W, the brine well was decommissioned in 2008 when the land was deemed unstable.

Utility To Request Reconsideration Of Line For Facebook Site - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press

A New Mexico electric utility wants state regulators to reconsider their rejection of the utility's proposal to have ratepayers pay half of the cost for installing a new transmission line to serve a Facebook data center and to instead have Facebook pay $39 million.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Public Service Co. of New Mexico on Monday will refile its request with the Public Regulation Commission.

The 45-mile line between a switching station at Clines Corners and a new station in Sandoval County would supply electricity from renewable sources to the Facebook facility being built near Los Lunas.

An executive with a Facebook subsidiary has said the commission's decision raised serious concerns that could affect Facebook's commitments for the project.

New Mexico School To Parents Say No Student Hoodies Allowed - KVIA-TV, Associated Press

Officials at a southern New Mexico elementary school are facing criticism after sending a letter to parents about a ban on students wearing hoodies.

KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports parents last week received a letter from Sunrise Elementary in Chaparral, New Mexico, with a warning not to send students to school in "hoodies coats or other non-weather appropriate clothing."

The letter says students will have hoodies taken away if they bring them to school.

Parents say they are confused about the letter and want school officials to clarify if hoodie sweaters are allowed.

The Gadsden Independent School District said in a statement that the new policy does allow students to wear that clothing in the morning hours, which normally has chilly temperatures.

PBS Film 'KOREA' Eyes Social, Political Tolls Of Korean War - Associated Press

The PBS documentary "KOREA: The Never-Ending War" examines the lasting social and political costs of the Korean War — a conflict largely forgotten in the U.S.

The film scheduled to air on most PBS stations Monday tells the story of a war that redefined the region from the perspective of families, U.S. veterans and journalists. It also explains why tensions between North and South Korea remain nearly 70 years after a series of diplomatic blunders and violent massacres.

Filmmaker John Maggio says he wanted to create something that wasn't focused solely on views of ambassadors and historians but real people affected by the war.

Among those included are Mexican American U.S. Army veteran Homer Garza and former CIA analyst Sue Mi Terry.

Garza discusses the atrocities he saw and Terry talks about how the war split up her family.