Public Safety

  • Government proposes prescribed burn in SF area

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a prescribed burn in the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe to reduce the possibility that a wildfire could severely damage the city's watershed.

    The Espanola Ranger District of the Santa Fe National Forest has scheduled a meeting Sept. 20 to gather public comments and provide more information about the proposal to burn 2,900 acres in the wilderness area upstream from McClure Reservoir, which is east of Santa Fe and stores water for the city.

    The meeting will be held at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, starting at 5:30 p.m.

    The federal agency says prescribed burns typically are done in early spring, late summer or fall.

  • Urgent Care founder indicted on drug, prostitution charges -- updated

    A Santa Fe physician, also the founder and medical director of New Mexico MedWorks, Urgent Care Santa Fe, Los Alamos Urgent Care and Valley First Care in Española, is facing additional charges as the result of his arrest last May.

    Richard Lieberman, 63, was indicted last month with a second-degree felony drug-trafficking count as well as the misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute, according to his attorney Peter Schoenburg.

    The attorney said the added charge had been a possibility since the beginning.

    When asked about the trafficking charge, Schoenburg said all that is required in the statute is that there is a transfer of the drug between two people.

    “If you smoke something and hand it to somebody else, it’s considered trafficking,” Schoenberg said. “It’s the broadest interpretation of the law.

    Schoenburg said Tuesday that Lieberman will enter a not guilty plea. He said Lieberman enrolled in an out-of-state residential treatment facility weeks after his arrest in May and has another two months left as part of the rehabilitation program.

  • Police Beat 9-4-12

    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 23

    10:34 a.m. –– A 54-year-old Los Alamos man recently filed a complaint with police that someone fraudulently used his credit card. Police are still investigating.

    9:04 p.m. ­­­­–– A 46-year-old Los Alamos man was arrested on a magistrate court warrant on N.M. 4.

    August 24

    2:40 p.m. –– A 48-year-old Los Alamos woman reported to police she was the victim of fraud. The amount taken was between $250 and below $20,000. Police are still investigating.

    August 25

    10:25 p.m. –– Jason Willis, 32, of Los Alamos was arrested for burglarizing a house, larceny, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and aggravated driving while intoxicated in the 100 block of Rover Boulevard.

    August 26

  • Black bear captured blocks from Santa Fe Plaza

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Conservation officers with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have captured a black bear that wandered into the center of Santa Fe.

    Albuquerque television station KOB-TV reports the bear was first spotted at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

    A few hours later, the bear was found along the Santa Fe River, two blocks from the city's historic plaza.

    Officers tranquilized the bear. They believe it may have been injured because it remained in the same place for so long.

    The crowd that gathered to watch the bear included actor and Santa Fe area resident Val Kilmer.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.