Two Former Law Officers Facing Federal Weapons Charges
Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales and former Pueblo of Laguna Police Chief Rudy Mora were among several named in a recently unsealed federal indictment for a weapons-transfer scheme.
The indictment also included Albuquerque gun store owner James Tafoya, as well as law enforcement officers from North Carolina and North Dakota.
Gonzales, who unsuccessfully ran for Albuquerque mayor in 2021, and Mora. who was Bernalillo County undersheriff before taking the job at Laguna, were involved in the scheme in which government officials submitted documents to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to allow weapons dealers to receive special permission to buy restricted weapons. Among those were machine guns.
State Tourism Department Doles out $2 Million
A new grant program earmarked $2 million for 10 municipalities, counties and organizations across the state under the New Mexico Tourism Department to aid and upgrade local tourism.
Billed as “Destination Forward,” money went to the following communities: Fort Sumner, Roswell, Bayard, Clovis, Grants and Roswell, as well as Sandoval County, Curry County, McKinley County and the Northwest Council of Governments.
“Demand for travel to New Mexico has never been higher,” said Cody Johnson, department spokesperson. “So we want to make sure that communities can adequately manage that demand. And that comes in the form of making sure our infrastructure is maintained.”
The idea is to particularly target some of the state’s more rural attractions, he said.
“It’s a new program but it’s also an extension of kind of a previous program that really did support and emphasize tourism development and infrastructure projects in rural New Mexico,” Johnson said.
Mining Targeted Within Pecos Watershed
New Mexico’s Congressional delegation is looking to safeguard the Pecos River and its watershed in discussions before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“The Pecos Valley is home to a diverse community of farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers, and business owners who are united by their reliance on the Pecos River and the expansive watersheds that feed that river,” U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) told the committee.
Continued mining, particularly in northern New Mexico, threatens that critical waterway.
“In 1991, a spill of toxic waste from an abandoned mine killed tens of thousands of fish, primarily trout, in the river for more than 11 miles; and it took decades and millions of dollars to clean up that mess,” Heinrich said, “The last thing this area needs is new mines that would pose a threat to the Pecos River itself.”
Heinrich, along with Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) are trying garner support for the Pecos Watershed Protection Act, which would restrict mining from specific federal lands within the watershed.