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Public Safety

  • Accused child pornographer walks on legal technicality

    Accused child pornographer Jesse Arteaga is apparently a free man, thanks to a legal technicality that allowed him to walk out of the Los Alamos Detention Center July 6.

    According to officials at the Los Alamos Police Department, the orders came from the New Mexico Attorney General’s office and they released Arteaga.

    Arteaga was arrested June 13, 2011 on 55 counts of possession of videos and photographs depicting the sexual exploitation of children and one count of manufacturing.

    Shortly after his arrest, he pleaded incompetence due to mental illness and was sent to the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute to be evaluated.

    “That put the case against him in a holding pattern, because under the rules of competency, we can’t proceed on the case until that issue was resolved,” said Phil Cisneros, director of communications for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.

    After spending several months at NMBHI, he was then returned the detention center in Los Alamos.

    “At that point we had to file a motion to dismiss the matter as a formality, mainly because we could not indict him within the mandatory 10-day period,” Cisneros said.

    “Where that leaves it now is that the cases is still pending.”

  • Health Department logs West Nile cases

    While no cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Los Alamos County yet, there have been three cases in the state, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.

    The most serious case had to do with a 54-year-old man from Doña Ana County, who had to be put into a rehabilitation facility. In Bernalillo County, a 58-year-old woman was hospitalized with meningitis and 32-year-old man from Curry County came down with West Nile Fever.

    The Doña Ana County man was hospitalized with meningitis, encephalitis and flaccid paralysis. The other victims have recovered and gone home.

    However, given there is a presence in the state, health officials are advising residents that have animals — especially cats, dogs or horses — to make sure they are up-to-date with their shots. West Nile can be spread through these animals.

    “People should be getting horses a booster dose of the West Nile vaccine,” said state veterinarian Paul Ettestad. Though Ettestad thought early summer would have been a good time to vaccinate, he said there would be no harm in owners giving their horses the vaccine now. “We are going to have mosquitoes here at least until we experience our first hard frost,” he said.

  • Super Blitz continues

    The Los Alamos Police Department conducted a DWI checkpoint on Canyon Road near the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church Tuesday night. The checkpoint was part of a statewide sweep for DWI as the Labor Day weekend approaches.

  • Police Beat 08-28-12

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested; served a court summons, or issued a citation.
    Aug.17

    2:54 p.m. ­­­–– A business in the 500 block of Central Avenue reported a shoplifting theft. Value of the item(s) taken was between $500 and $2,500. Police have no suspects at this time.

    1:56 p.m. –– A 54-year-old Los Alamos man reported to police that he was the victim of a scheme that defrauded him of $12,800. Police are still investigating.

    Aug. 18

    10:47 a.m. ­­–– A 68-year-old female reported to police that her house in the 300 block of Cheryl Avenue was burglarized. Police are investigating.
    5:55 p.m. –– Blake Molz, 29, of Los Alamos, was charged with battery against a household member and criminal damage to property in the 500 block of Oppenheimer Drive.
    Aug. 20

    1 p.m. –– Police arrested a 16-year-old male in connection with a graffiti incident that happened Aug. 16 in the 1300 block of Diamond Drive.
    Aug.21

  • LANL workers exposed to radiation leak

    According to lab officials, about 12 employees were accidentally exposed to Technetium-99, a  type of low level radiation that travels fast, but is stopped by the clothing and skin. As of press time, LANL is determining when and how the exposure occurred.

    "They are investigating what exactly happened and how to accurately characterize it at  this point," said LANL Public Information Officer Nancy Ambrosiano.

    The dosage they received is approximately 10 times lower than the allowable amount of millirems by law, and does not pose a public health threat, according to LANL officials. 

    LANL officials are also saying that some of the employees apparently took the radiation home with them and a clean up operation is now underway.  As of late Monday afternoon LANL officials cannot say where the employees went after they left the lab.

    One place that was checked though was Chamisa Elementary School.  It was checked Sunday. According to a statement on the school’s site, Chamisa was given the all clear sign, with no signs of contamination found. The statement also said that was the only school checked.

    “We appreciate the thoroughness of the lab in assuring the safety of our students and staff,” said a statement on the site.

  • Search on for victims of NM man in porn ring case

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say they are looking for possible victims of a New Mexico man who authorities say talked about raping and cooking children and is charged in a massive child porn investigation.

    Richard Dates is scheduled Monday to appear for a preliminary hearing in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque. The 67-year-old was charged last week with possessing child pornography in a case that began in Massachusetts with the arrest of a Sheraton hotel manager.

    Dates, who worked as a Cibola Beacon reporter at the time of his arrest, also worked as a science teacher at Gallup McKinley County Schools from 2006 to 2011. In addition, Dates worked as a tutor in the Chicago area in the 1980s.

    The child porn ring investigation has led to 46 arrests in seven countries.

  • Flash Flood Watch remains in effect

    FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING...

    THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR

    * A PORTION OF NORTH AND CENTRAL NEW MEXICO... INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS... CHUSKA MOUNTAINS... FAR NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS... JEMEZ MOUNTAINS... NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS... NORTHWEST PLATEAU... SAN FRANCISCO RIVER VALLEY... SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS... SOUTH CENTRAL MOUNTAINS... SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS... WEST CENTRAL HIGHLANDS... WEST CENTRAL MOUNTAINS AND WEST CENTRAL PLATEAU.

    * THROUGH THIS EVENING

    * SUBSTANTIAL ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE CONTINUES PLACE OVER WESTERN NEW MEXICO TODAY... AS WELL AS A GOOD PORTION OF CENTRAL NEW MEXICO. AN UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE TROUGH ALOFT STILL LIES WEST OF THE STATE AND WILL MOVE EAST INTO THE STATE TONIGHT. THIS SHOULD AID IN ADDITIONAL SCATTERED AND POSSIBLY NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS TO ERUPT WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR LOCALIZED AREAS OF HEAVY RAINFALL. THE DEGREE OF HEAVY RAIN POTENTIAL HOWEVER HAS DIMINISHED A LITTLE IN AREAS NEAR AND WEST OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE... BUT WITH EARLIER MORNING RAINFALL AND ADDITIONAL AFTERNOON DEVELOPMENT THERE IS STILL SUFFICIENT HEAVY RAIN RISK TO WARRANT THE CONTINUATION OF THE WATCH. STORMS SHOULD DRIFT TO THE EAST AND NORTHEAST THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING... AND WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING RAINFALL RATES BETWEEN AN INCH AND TWO AND A HALF INCHES PER HOUR.

  • Flash Flood Watch remains in effect through this evening

    FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING...

    THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH CONTINUES FOR

    * A PORTION OF NORTH AND CENTRAL NEW MEXICO... INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING AREAS... CHUSKA MOUNTAINS... FAR NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS... JEMEZ MOUNTAINS... NORTHWEST HIGHLANDS... NORTHWEST PLATEAU... SAN FRANCISCO RIVER VALLEY... SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS... SOUTH CENTRAL MOUNTAINS... SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS... WEST CENTRAL HIGHLANDS... WEST CENTRAL MOUNTAINS AND WEST CENTRAL PLATEAU.

    * THROUGH THIS EVENING

    * DEEP AND RICH AMOUNTS OF ATMOSPHERIC MOISTURE WILL BE OVER MUCH OF WESTERN... AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL... NEW MEXICO THROUGH AT LEAST TONIGHT. WITH INCREASING ATMOSPHERIC INSTABILITY THIS AFTERNOON SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY ERUPT WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR LOCALIZED AREAS OF HEAVY RAINFALL. STORMS WILL DRIFT TO THE EAST AND NORTHEAST AT 10 TO 15 MPH THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING AND WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING RAINFALL RATES BETWEEN AND INCH AND A HALF AND 3 INCHES PER HOUR.

    * LOCALIZED FLASH FLOODING OF STREAMS... ARROYOS... DRY CREEK BEDS AND LOW WATER CROSSINGS WILL BE POSSIBLE FROM HEAVY RAINFALL. THE LAS CONCHAS... WHITEWATER BALDY... LITTLE BEAR... AND WHITE BURN SCARS WILL BE ESPECIALLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO FLASH FLOODING THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

  • Police Beat 08-21-12

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested; served a court summons, or issued a citation.

    August 9

    9:43 a.m. ­–– Robert Montoya, 29, of Carlsbad, was arrested for driving with a suspended license, no proof of insurance and no registration in the 1200 block of Trinity Drive.

    August 11

    2:59 a.m. ­­–– A 38-year-old Los Alamos woman was the victim of a vehicle burglary in the 3000 block of Orange Street.

    3:56 a.m. –– Kyle Medrick, 20, of Los Alamos was arrested for burglary from a vehicle in the 1400 block of 35th Street.

    11:11 a.m. –– Robert Chavez, 19, of San Juan Pueblo was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of drug paraphernalia possession.

    August 12

  • Probe continues into battalion chief's DUI charge

    The Los Alamos Fire Department recently received a key piece of information regarding an investigation into one of its own.

    According to Chief Troy Hughes, the department has received the official arrest report of Battalion Chief Kelly Sterna.

    Now that the department has the report, it can set the wheels of its investigation into motion.

    Sterna was arrested at a sobriety checkpoint in Albuquerque Aug. 4,  just after midnight on Eubank Boulevard. According to police, he failed a sobriety test and had a blood alcohol level of .08. Since the arrest, Sterna has been on administrative leave pending the outcome of an LAFD internal investigation.

    Hughes said he is not sure when the investigation will wrap up, since Sterna’s guilt or innocence has yet to be determined by the courts. “We operate on the premise of innocent until proven guilty,” said Hughes.

    Hughes also said the investigation may be a while because of the department’s relationship with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Because there is a security clearance involved, there will be a more extensive investigation, than what you might find in other counties,” Hughes said.