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Around New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Curry County man dies of West Nile

SANTA FE – New Mexico has recorded its first death in 2013 from a West Nile virus infection.

The state Department of Health says an 83-year-old man from Curry County died after being hospitalized for encephalitis, the more severe clinical form of the disease.


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The department says another person from Curry County, a 66-year-old woman, is recovering from a less severe form of West Nile.

Common symptoms of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus are fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.

Woman with 2 kids in border pot bust

SANTA TERESA – Authorities in Santa Teresa said they arrested a 19-year-old Denver woman trying to smuggle marijuana across the border with her 2-year-old son and another young passenger in the car.

Acting Port Director Ray Provencio says it is becoming more common to see smugglers traveling with children as they try to blend in with the rest of traffic.

Customs and Border Protection field officers say Lysette Salazar Miranda was arrested Saturday after authorities found 210 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $168,000 in a trap door of the minivan she was driving. They say her son and the juvenile passenger were turned over to relatives.

First plague case of year reported

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed the first human case of plague this year.


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State health officials said Monday that a 15-year-old boy from Torrance County is hospitalized in stable condition. His name hasn’t been released.

Health officials say an environmental investigation will take place at the teen’s home to look for ongoing risk to others in the area.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

N.M. firefighters sent to Idaho, Utah

With New Mexico having made it through the worst of its 2013 fire season, more crews from the state are being deployed to help battle fires in nearby states.

Twenty-nine New Mexico firefighters – including a 20-person crew from Red River – are headed to help fight blazes in Idaho and Utah, State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said Tuesday.

A week ago, 27 New Mexico firefighters were assigned to fires in Oregon and California.

The firefighting assignments typically last for two weeks, although they can be extended depending on conditions.

A state official is expected to travel to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, next month to take part in the investigation of the deadly Yarnell Hill Fire, Ware said. A total of 19 Arizona firefighters were killed in June when they were overrun by that fire.

ATV rider critically injured in crash

Police said 24-year-old Andrew Ferrell was driving his 2006 Honda all-terrain vehicle and heading north on 56th Street NW when his rear brake locked up, he lost control, struck his truck parked in the driveway and was thrown from the ATV.

Police said Ferrell was traveling at a high speed when he struck the back of his truck. He was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital with life-threatening injuries. He was listed in critical condition at UniverTuesday.

Ferrell was not wearing a helmet.

Neighbors said three men, including two in their early 20s, could regularly be seen screeching and speeding on neighborhood streets on ATVs. Neighbors said that they regularly asked the men to slow down.

“But they didn’t listen,” one neighbor said.

Autopsy: Suspect’s death a homicide

ROSWELL – The Office of the Medical Investigator has classified the death of a man who was in the custody of Roswell police as a homicide.

The Roswell Daily Record reported that the autopsy results for 34-year-old Cody Towler were released Friday. Towler died Feb. 5.

Police were initially called in response to a disorderly person. At the time, authorities said Towler was found beating on a trash can with a baton.

The autopsy report says officers used three Tasers in an attempt to subdue Towler. He had scrapes and bruises on his face, right arm, left hand and legs and some bleeding around his brain.

Toxicology tests revealed Towler had methamphetamine in his system.

Police Chief Al Solis said he hadn’t reviewed the findings.

Memorial for an airman