Five Santa Feans have been arrested on a 16-count federal indictment charging them with oxycodone trafficking offenses. The charges against the defendants are the result of “Operation High Desert Bash,” an investigation initiated in January 2013 by the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad in Albuquerque and the Santa Fe Police Department. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a one-million dollar fine on each of the oxycodone charges. All five are scheduled to make their initial appearances in Albuquerque federal court this morning.
A New Mexico Legislative audit blames inadequate enforcement for the state not collecting up to 56 million-dollars annually from the trucking industry. The Legislative Finance Committee report suggests the state Motor Transportation Division hire more staff to ensure truckers pay a weight-distance tax that helps finance highway construction and maintenance. The MTD issues citations to truckers who don't comply and also inspects trucks for safety violations and contraband, such as illegal drugs.
A small-scale test takes place today of a system for pumping contaminated groundwater out from under Kirtland Air Force Base's massive underground jet fuel spill. The Albuquerque Journal says the month long test will help determine if the approach will work as a long-term remediation strategy. It's the first time since the 1999 discovery of the contamination that the fuel-tainted water will be pumped and treated. The slowly migrating plume, created by fuel spills from decades ago, has been seen as a threat to Albuquerque water supplies.
Senator Tom Udall has continued to voice concern about a possible federal government shutdown's effect on New Mexico. Udall is especially worried about the threat to work at the state's two national laboratories.*****Clip*** Senator Tom Udall on the possible government shutdown.
The Santa Fe National Forest plans to continue its prescribed burn in the Borrego Mesa area just east of Cordova. In all, some 260 acres will be burned to both improve woodland health and reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. The effort will last several weeks, weather permitting, with smoke likely visible here in Santa Fe and surrounding communities. The New Mexico Air Quality Bureau will monitor operations.
Taos Pueblo is celebrating its annual feast days early next week in honor of the Pueblo’s patron saint, San Geronimo. The two-day culturally rich celebration begins at 5 p.m. Sunday and continues through Monday. Pueblo artisans as well as Native American artists from the Southwest will sell their handmade works at the event. Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The Pueblo's multi-storied adobe buildings have been continuously inhabited for over one-thousand years.
Weather for Santa Fe – partly sunny today with a slight chance for isolated showers during the morning hours. Highs in the upper 60s. A passing cold front will drop temperatures down to near freezing tonight though perhaps not in the Santa Fe metro area itself says meteorologist Jennifer Paluki with the Weather Service office in Albuquerque….*** Sunny and cool tomorrow with highs in the mid 60s, rising to 70 degrees by Sunday.