Lawsuit Calls Medical Marijuana System Biased, Lawsuit: FBI Raided NM Home With Sleeping Children

Nov 10, 2015

Rural Marijuana Patients File Lawsuit Calling System Biased Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Medical marijuana patients in rural New Mexico have filed a lawsuit claiming the state's system is biased toward patients who live in big cities.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that attorney Jason Flores-Williams filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of two unidentified patients.

The suit filed against the New Mexico Department of Health claims the lack of resources outside of Albuquerque and Santa Fe is forcing patients to meet with delivery drivers in business parking lots, violating federal drug laws, violating their privacy and putting them in danger.

The lawsuit claims the department's licensing process for producers has concentrated dispensaries in Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties, denying rural residents equal access to their medication.

The Department of Health responded in a written statement Monday that producers make arrangements with their patients for delivery.

Lawsuit: FBI Raided New Mexico Home With Sleeping Children – The Associated Press

A new federal lawsuit says FBI agents used military-grade stun grenades against three sleeping children during a 2013 pre-dawn raid of a New Mexico home.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque this week alleges that agents blindly detonated multiple explosive devices during the raid, inflicting shrapnel wounds and severe emotional trauma against the children.

The lawsuit says the children were ages 9, 10, and 12 at the time.

According to court documents, FBI agents were investigating the children's father, Abel Romero Sr., who federal authorities suspected of being a drug dealer in Anthony, New Mexico.

Attorney Richard Rosenstock says the raid was cruel and recklessly.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher says he is looking into the lawsuit but the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.

Wary Coloradans Weigh Superfund Cleanup After Mine SpillThe Associated Press

Southwestern Colorado officials are touring toxic cleanup sites this week to see if the federal Superfund program is the best way to fix the Gold King Mine and other sites spilling wastewater into rivers.

Three million gallons of wastewater gushed out of the Gold King in August, polluting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The spill intensified a years-long debate over how to clean up the Gold King and hundreds of other inactive mines north of Silverton that leak millions of gallons of wastewater annually.

Some residents are concerned that a Superfund designation could mean a long wait for a cleanup to begin and that banks might balk at lending money to homebuyers and businesses.

The three-day Superfund tour starts Wednesday and includes Creede, Leadville, Minturn and Idaho Springs.

Navajo Nation Estimates $700K In Damage From Mine Spill Daily-Times, Associated Press

The Navajo Nation estimates that ranchers and farmers in two reservation chapters will suffer approximately $700,000 in damages from an August mine spill in Colorado.

The Daily-Times reports that the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture on Monday released a preliminary survey on damages from the Gold King Mine Spill.

The department estimates that the millions of gallons of wastewater released into the Animas and San Juan rivers will cause $569,700 in damages for farmers from the Shiprock and Tse Daa Kaan chapters over the next five years.

It says Shiprock and Tse Daa k'aan ranchers will lose $103,200 during the same period.

Charmaine Hosteen of the agriculture department says the estimates are based on staff visits to the chapters. She says damages will be assessed for other chapters in the future.

New National Park In NM Marks Development Of Nuclear BombThe Associated Press

More than 70 years ago scientists working in secret created the atomic bomb that ended World War II and ushered the world into the nuclear age.

On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz formally established the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, as they sat in a federal building near the White House where plans for the bomb were developed.

The park preserves three sites where work on the bomb was completed: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Jewell and Moniz say the park will not glorify war or nuclear weapons. It will tell the story of the three important historical sites and bring greater awareness of the development of nuclear energy and weapons to a worldwide audience.

Contractors Fear Impact Of Real ID – Albuquerque Journal

Contractors who rely on access to federal facilities are worried about the impact on their business operations of a government decision to enforce tougher requirements on driver’s licenses.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that companies who must enter places such as Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories are warning of serious disruptions. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently denied New Mexico an extension from tougher federal requirements on state driver's licenses.

Several CEOs told the Journal they have hundreds of employees who must access Kirtland daily. The legislature will likely take up the issue when it convenes in January, but a fix could take months.

In addition to contractors, other people such as employees at Kirtland Elementary School and delivery people or service technicians also access the facilities, said Sherman McCorkle with the Kirtland Partnership Committee. They will need to obtain passports in order maintain that access after January 10th.

Town Hall Set On Cesar Chavez Street In RoswellRoswell Daily Record, Associated Press 

A Latino civil rights group is set to hold a public meeting on a proposal to rename a Roswell street after the late California farmworker union leader Cesar Chavez.

The Roswell Daily Record reports the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens is scheduled Tuesday to host the public forum as business owners say the renaming would cost them money.

Dickie Davis, owner of Quality Liquor Store, said the issue of renaming Main Street isn't racial but about economics. He said the city should rename another street after Chavez.

Competitive Car Care owner Larry Jump says the city has more pressing priorities than changing street signs.

City councilors flung accusations of racial and ethnic bias while discussing the proposal during a meeting last month.

Martinez 'Confident' Adviser Did Nothing WrongAssociated Press

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says she's confident a close political adviser did nothing wrong and called allegations of fundraising violations "cheap shots."

The Republican governor told The Associated Press in a statement that she's aware of complaints being raised and said they came from political opponents who have tried to attack her previously.

Her comments come after the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the FBI has interviewed some state Republicans about Martinez's fundraising activities and the governor's political consultant, Jay McCleskey.

Democratic Party of New Mexico executive director Joe Kabourek has said Martinez keeps McCleskey as her top adviser "because he gets his hands dirty for her."

Martinez said she trusts the justice system will investigate the allegations and reject "these types of political cheap shots."

Indictment Accuses Livestock Auction Managers Of Fraud Associated Press

Prosecutors say managers of a southeastern New Mexico livestock auction are facing charges in an alleged fraud scheme.

The 9th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Portales says the 139-count indictment alleges Calvin Pareo and Darcie Pareo purchased cattle at the High Plains Livestock Auction at certain prices and then changed the prices after the auction.

According to the DA's Office, livestock inspectors estimate some 13,000 sales tickets were altered — fraudulently depriving dairy owners and buyers of more than $2 million.

Pete Domenici Jr., an attorney representing the Pareos, says they're innocent of any wrongdoing and looking forward to vigorously pursuing their rights through the court system.

The civil case involves a federal government lawsuit alleging fraud. A defense filing in that case contends its allegations are inaccurate and unsupported.

New Mexico GOP Majority Leader Eyes Criminal Justice ReformsAssociated Press

House Majority Leader Nate Gentry wants state lawmakers to take up new criminal justice reform measures amid a string of high-profile crimes involving repeat offenders.

The Albuquerque Republican unveiled proposals on Monday aimed at requiring harsher penalties for intentional child abuse and developing a criminal database to help judges. Gentry also wants a bill to allow cities to pass curfews laws targeting minors.

The upcoming Legislative session in January is expected to see a number of proposals, from strengthening the state's "three strikes" law to allowing the state to impose forced treatment for some suffering from mental illness.

Two repeat offenders this year are suspected of fatally shooting a Rio Rancho and Albuquerque police officer prompting calls for reform.

Court Denies Petition In New Mexico Power Plant CaseAssociated Press

The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a petition that sought to disqualify members of one of the state's most powerful regulatory panels from deciding the future of a coal-fired power plant.

The unanimous decision came about an hour after lawyers made their arguments during a packed hearing Monday afternoon.

The justices did say the case would warrant a higher level of scrutiny upon appeal.

The environmental group New Energy Economy had argued four Public Regulation Commission members have created at least an appearance of being biased through public statements about a plan to shutter part of the San Juan Generating Station.

An attorney for the group told the justices the decision making process has become political.

Attorneys for Commission Chairwoman Karen Montoya and Commissioners Patrick Lyons, Lynda Lovejoy and Sandy Jones rejected the accusations.