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Around New Mexico

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Anti-DWI Blitz Starts Today

SANTA FE — New Mexico State Police say they will be making this summer’s final push against drunken driving starting today.

The blitz will run through the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Officers will be conducting more than two dozen sobriety checkpoints around the state as well as 67 DWI saturation patrols.

State officials say alcohol is involved in 40 percent of all fatal traffic crashes in New Mexico. That makes alcohol-related traffic fatalities the single largest factor in the state’s traffic deaths.

Guilty Verdict in 2 Slayings

SANTA FE — A northern new Mexico man who was acquitted of murder in a 2007 trial has been convicted in two other killings.

A jury in Rio Arriba County found 29-year-old Donald Ferran guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors says the Oro Caliente resident lured 25-year-old Joey Maestas and 27-year-old Sarah Salazar to a highway rest stop north of Española in February 2011 after seeing Maestas flash a wad of cash. The victims were found in a burning Honda at the rest stop.

Ferran was convicted Monday and faces life in prison. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.

Prosecutors accused Ferran of killing a woman in 2005 but could not produce a murder weapon, and he was acquitted.

Tougher DWI Laws Sought

A California woman says she is working with the office of Gov. Susana Martinez to strengthen New Mexico’s DWI laws after her unborn baby died in an accident involving a man accused of drunken driving.

Aileen Smith of San Diego recently launched an online petition to change the state’s DWI laws.

Smith, who was 7 months pregnant, was traveling with her husband, Zach, through northern New Mexico in June, on their way to San Diego for their baby shower when their vehicle was hit. Aileen Smith and the unborn child were seriously injured, but the baby didn’t survive.

Las Vegas, N.M., resident Ramon Hernandez pleaded not guilty this month to vehicular homicide and a felony DWI charge. State records show that he had at least four prior DWI convictions.

New Charges in Sex Case

A former youth program volunteer at a Santa Fe Catholic church who pleaded guilty last year to a felony sex charge faces new sex abuse indictments.

Anthony J. Martinez, 36, was indicted last week on three counts of criminal sexual penetration — rape — of a child under 13 years old.

State Police Lt. Robert McDonald said the latest charges, like the earlier ones, stem from Martinez’s work with the youth ministry program at Santa Maria de la Paz Community church.

The victim was 11 years old when he was assaulted by Martinez in 2007, McDonald said.

Martinez pleaded guilty a year ago to criminal sexual contact with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in state District Court. He was to be sentenced Wednesday, but that has been delayed because of the new indictment.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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