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Around New Mexico

Another Suit Over Wolves

Environmentalists are filing another lawsuit over the federal government’s handling of endangered Mexican gray wolves, this one seeking to stop a policy that calls for the capture of any wolves that cross the border into New Mexico and Arizona.

The Center for Biological Diversity Wednesday filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a recent decision that the group says gives the agency authority to catch any wayward wolves and put them into a captive-breeding program, return them to where they came from or relocate them into a designated Mexican wolf recovery area.

The group says Mexico recently released nine Mexican gray wolves near the U.S. border in the Sierra Madre, and wolves from the northern Rocky Mountains could make their way south at any time.

Robbery Suspect Improving

Authorities say a former South Carolina sheriff’s lieutenant suspected in the armed robbery of a Santa Fe pharmacy and the attempted robbery of another is improving after having suffered a suspected drug overdose.

George William Smith, 43, was showing improvement after being found unconscious in an Albuquerque hotel room Saturday.

Santa Fe Sheriff’s Lt. William Pacheco says investigators served a search warrant on the hotel room and recovered bottles of hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller.

Smith was a sheriff’s deputy in Georgetown County, S.C., for 15 years before quitting in 2009.

Smith’s wife works as a Santa Fe-area prosecutor and confronted Smith after seeing a news report with an image of the robber.

He left their home and she called Santa Fe Police.

37 Months for Assault

Kirby Dana Sanchez, 38, a member and resident of Acoma Pueblo, was sentenced last week to 37 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, after pleading guilty in April to domestic assault by a habitual offender, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Sanchez was arrested on tribal charges on April 21, 2011, then was arrested on federal charges Oct. 5, 2011 and has been in federal custody since that time, federal prosecutors said.

Sanchez was accused of assaulting his wife, who also is a resident and member of Acoma Pueblo, on Sept. 21, 2011, and she suffered numerous injuries that required medical attention, the release said.

According to the release, Sanchez was prosecuted in federal court because of two prior domestic violence convictions — once in July 2007 in Acoma Tribal Court for aggravated battery against a household member and another conviction in February 2010, also in Acoma Tribal Court, for aggravated battery of a household member and kidnapping.

Bowling Lounge Planned

SANTA FE — A plan to build a lounge-style venue with a video-game arcade and eight-lane bowling facility on the top floor of a building in the Santa Fe Railyard would return the sport to the state capital for the first time since 2008.

Railyard developer Allen Branch says the new 20,000-square-foot entertainment business also will feature food reminiscent of what was served at the Estrada Room, a dark, smoky annex to the old Coronado Lanes bowling alley. Coronado Lanes was a hot spot for decades before closing in the 1980s.

The owners of the Holiday Bowl and Leisure Bowl in Albuquerque will run Ringside Bowl Bar and Grub as their third venue.

Branch said he’s excited that bowling will return to Santa Fe, saying he frequented the old Coronado lanes as a boy.

“It was a big hangout,” said Branch, who recalled going with his mother to league bowling events, as well as meeting with friends to play Donkey Kong in Coronado’s heyday.

Sex Offender Shoots Self

AZTEC — A registered sex offender wanted on a probation violation is dead after a nearly eight-hour barricade situation near the northwestern New Mexico city of Aztec, authorities said.

San Juan County Sheriff’s officials say 39-year-old Byron Boyd fatally shot himself Monday night inside a cinder-block outbuilding.

They sent a robot into the structure and confirmed that Boyd was down before deputies entered the structure.

Before that, Boyd reportedly fired several shots at SWAT team members, but nobody was hit.

Sheriff’s officials said Boyd had cut off his ankle monitor. They got a tip that he was at a home near Aztec around 10:30 a.m. Monday, and that’s when the barricade situation started.

Authorities set up a perimeter and closed traffic in the area.

Man Guilty in Alien Case

LAS CRUCES — A federal jury in Las Cruces, after a two-day trial last week, convicted Manuel De La Torre, 30, of Addison, Ill., of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

De La Torre and his co-defendant and cousin, Graciela De La Torre, 36, of Chicago, were arrested on June 14, 2012, near Hachita, N.M. in a vehicle carrying five undocumented aliens, the release said.

Manuel De La Torre was released pending trial on a $5,000 unsecured bond and other conditions of release, while his cousin was released on her own recognizance, federal prosecutors said.

The two were indicted on Sept. 20, and Graciela De La Torre pleaded guilty to the indictment on Dec. 17, according to the release.

Both face up to 10 years in prison at sentencing, which has not been scheduled, the release said. Both are out of custody on conditions of release.

The jury deliberated about 30 minutes before finding Manuel De La Torre guilty last Thursday.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal

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