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Ex-PRC member ordered to prison for evaluation

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By Associated Press

SANTA FE (AP) — Former state utility regulator Jerome Block Jr. was sent to a state prison diagnostic center Friday, and a judge sternly warned him that he potentially faces many years behind bars if he doesn’t deal with a drug addiction.
District Judge Michael Vigil postponed Block’s sentencing on felony charges until after a 60-day evaluation at the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas. Block resigned last year from the Public Regulation Commission under a plea agreement with the attorney general’s office. He pleaded guilty to felonies for misuse of taxpayer money and election law violations.
The five-member commission regulates utilities, telecommunications and insurance.
Vigil said he was sending Block, 34, for a wide-ranging evaluation at the prison because he wanted a better understanding of Block’s problems, including whether he might have a mental health condition that needed treatment along with the drug addiction.
Block faces up to 4 1/2 years in prison after failing to comply with a requirement of the plea agreement to complete a court-supervised drug treatment program. A prosecutor urged the court to sentence Block to the full time in prison.


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