Albuquerque police say three teenagers ganged up on two homeless men, fatally beating them and leaving their bodies nearly unrecognizable. Police spokesman Simon Drobik said Sunday that 18-year-old Alex Rios, a 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy are being held in Bernalillo County detention facilities. According to a criminal complaint, Rios has been charged with multiple counts including two for murder. Drobik says the younger boys will likely be charged with murder as adults. Police say officers responded to a 911 call Saturday around 8 a.m. reporting two bodies in a field. Investigators say all three suspects were located at a nearby house. The complaint says the teens admitted to investigators that they beat the victims using their hands, feet, bricks, sticks and a metal pole.
An Arizona company contracted to handle Medicaid-funded behavioral health care in southern New Mexico has cut nearly a quarter of its staff. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported that La Frontera lost 87 of the 400 employees it inherited after being brought in by the state to replace six nonprofit mental health providers under investigation. The Tucson, Arizona-based firm has reduced staffing and also had several workers quit. CEO Dan Ranieri says La Frontera was losing money and needed to keep spending in line with revenues. Employees say the staff shortage and computer system changes are affecting services for clients. La Frontera was hired by the state in summer 2013 while the state Attorney General's Office investigated several nonprofits for alleged overbilling and fraud.
Santa Fe officials say the city is seeing a rise in revenue despite issuing fewer parking tickets. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the city collected more than 436-thousand dollars in parking citations last year. That figure is far above the 13-thousand gathered in 2009. But officials say the number of parking tickets issued in 2013 is half of that in 2009. The city says the improvement is partly due to hundreds of smart meters that have been installed, making it easier for motorists to pay for parking. Officials say increased efforts to track down those who haven't paid for tickets have led to more revenue. Parking citations are 16-dollars. Illegally parking in a handicap spot is a 500-dollar penalty. Both double if unpaid within 15 days.
The contractor that operates the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico received a one-point-nine million dollar bonus just five days after an underground truck fire closed the facility. The Albuquerque Journal reported yesterday that the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Nuclear Waste Partnership the funds based on an "excellent" job performance in maintaining the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. WIPP has been closed since February.
Santa Fe Weather: Partly sunny today and tomorrow with highs in the upper 80s and a 30-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms both days. Tonight: Partly cloudy with a low down to 61 and a 20-percent chance for showers and thunderstorms.