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Texas ‘dirt bandit’ fesses up but refuses to pay

Dan McKaySANTA FE — State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says he’s cracked the case of the Dirt Bandit.

A Texas county confessed to taking the dirt, he said, but isn’t ready to pony up.

Dunn said this week that he has informed Hudspeth County that it owes $19,360 – the value of the dirt, sand and gravel taken from state trust lands in Otero County, New Mexico.

See anything missing here? Dirt. There should be more dirt, but someone made off with it. (Source: State Land Office)

Texas officials, meanwhile, say they shouldn’t have to pay – because their crews have been maintaining a stretch of N.M. 506 for years, and the repairs should serve as adequate compensation. The crews thought the road was in Texas, not New Mexico, Dunn said.

“I’m glad the county commissioners now know where the New Mexico-Texas line is, and all mining activity will cease and desist,” Dunn said in a written statement, but “that doesn’t absolve them from compensating the State Land Office for the extracted minerals. Public schools are the sole beneficiary of those revenues, and they need the money more than Texas bureaucrats.”

The stretch of roadway in question lies east of El Paso, near Dell City, Texas. The state line runs east-west in that area, with New Mexico to the north and Texas to the south.

Dunn wants the money by Sept. 28.

DACA ad: Pat Davis, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, is airing a radio ad in Washington, D.C.

Usually, campaigns keep their ads a little closer to home.

But Davis said in a written statement that he wanted President Trump to hear the ad himself.

The advertisement targets Trump for moving to end the program started by former President Barack Obama that shields about 800,000 young immigrants from deportation. The 2012 policy allows immigrants brought to the country as children to obtain temporary work permits, if they meet certain requirements.

In the 1-minute ad, Davis calls the president’s decision “cruel.”

“You will rip apart families and make our country, and our economy, weaker,” Davis says. “… Today, these young people fight in our military, study in our schools, stay out of legal trouble, and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States. They are Americans in every sense of the word except on paper.”

Trump last week ordered an end to the program but gave Congress six months to step in and pass legislation.

A Davis campaign spokesman said the ad will air a handful of times this week and next on WFED, a news and talk station that targets government employees. It will also appear on online.

Davis is among nine Democrats running in the 1st Congressional District to succeed fellow Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Dan McKay: