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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico

Albuquerque faces looming battle with DOJ over sanctuary policies, crime-fighting grants

Some Albuquerque, N.M., elected officials are accusing the Justice Department of political gamesmanship by withholding millions of dollars in federal funds over the city’s sanctuary city status that prevents the sharing of information with immigration authorities.

John Anderson, the top federal prosecutor for the district of New Mexico, penned an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal on Monday saying additional federal funding would come with conditions, including complying with a federal law that makes it illegal to prevent government employees from sharing information about peoples’ immigration status with federal law enforcement.

“We just won’t do that. They’re using this as a political stunt,” said Democratic Councilor Pat Davis.

Anderson noted that 2019 was Albuquerque’s deadliest year with 82 homicides recorded. He said additional funding would help curb the violence. Albuquerque officials said the DOJ is holding out on a promise of more federal funds to get the city to reconsider its sanctuary policies.

TOM HOMAN: NEW YORK GOV. ANDREW CUOMO HAS ‘LOST HIS MIND’ ON IMMIGRATION POLICY

Westlake Legal Group AP20043777517972 Albuquerque faces looming battle with DOJ over sanctuary policies, crime-fighting grants Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1732431e-23fc-5ceb-9b79-6f76463c7e94

In this Nov. 12, 2019, file photo, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, left, stands with other federal and officials at a news conference at the office of the Bernalillo County Sheriff in Albuquerque, N.M. New Mexico’s most populous city stands to lose out on millions of dollars in crime-fighting grants due to its status as a sanctuary city, but some elected officials said Wednesday the U.S. Justice Department is holding out the promise of more federal funding to get Albuquerque to reconsider policies that prevent the sharing of information with federal immigration authorities. (AP Photo/Mary Hudetz, File)

“As a matter of principle, Albuquerque should use every tool at its disposal to reduce violent crime and make our city safer,” Anderson wrote.

In 2018, the city adopted a resolution sponsored by Davis and Councilor Klarissa Peña that reaffirmed Albuquerque as an immigrant-friendly city. It prevents federal immigration officials from entering city-operated areas and restricts employees from collecting information about a person’s immigration status.

Albuquerque has not applied for the funding, which is available under the Operation Relentless Pursuit program announced in December to combat violent crime in several cities. Up to $71 million in grant funding was promised to help with hiring new officers, paying overtime and providing equipment and technology.

The city is already in a battle with the Justice Department over funding to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits. The Trump administration has heavily criticized sanctuary cities and has sought to withhold federal funds from municipalities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Attorney General William Barr has brought lawsuits against New Jersey and King County, Washington, claiming they are violating federal law by refusing to share information about criminal suspects who are undocumented immigrants.

“When we are talking about sanctuary cities, we are talking about policies that are designed to allow criminal aliens to escape,” Barr recently said at the National Sheriff’s Association 2020 Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, D.C.

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“These policies are not about people who came to our country illegally but have otherwise been peaceful and productive members of society,” he added. “Their express purpose is to shelter aliens whom local law enforcement has already arrested for other crimes. This is neither lawful nor sensible.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported last week that hundreds of Southern California jail inmates whom the agency had detainer requests for were re-arrested for assault, rape, child sex offenses and other charges over a two-year period once they were released.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP20043777517972 Albuquerque faces looming battle with DOJ over sanctuary policies, crime-fighting grants Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1732431e-23fc-5ceb-9b79-6f76463c7e94   Westlake Legal Group AP20043777517972 Albuquerque faces looming battle with DOJ over sanctuary policies, crime-fighting grants Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration/illegal-immigrants fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/politics fnc article 1732431e-23fc-5ceb-9b79-6f76463c7e94

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American Airlines LA-to-Chicago flight diverted to Albuquerque over unruly passenger: report

American Airlines said Wednesday a Los Angeles-to-Chicago flight was forced to divert to Albuquerque because of a disruptive passenger, according to a report.

Flight 967 from LAX to O’Hare landed in Albuquerque just before 3 p.m. and was met by law enforcement officials at the gate before taking off again a short time later, Chicago’s WMAQ-TV reported.

UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT MAKES EMERGENCY LANDING IN NEWARK AFTER ENGINE PROBLEM FOLLOWING TAKEOFF

Westlake Legal Group AmericanAirlinesIstock American Airlines LA-to-Chicago flight diverted to Albuquerque over unruly passenger: report Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/los-angeles fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc article 35fed38e-adc4-5543-83e8-4c5e10fec2a6

An American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Chicago was forced to divert to Albuquerque on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2020 because of a disruptive passenger.

One inconvenienced passenger claimed on Twitter that the suspect struck a flight attendant, removed his pants and kicked seats, according to KOB in Albuquerque.

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It was unclear what charges the suspect would face.

Westlake Legal Group AmericanAirlinesIstock American Airlines LA-to-Chicago flight diverted to Albuquerque over unruly passenger: report Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/los-angeles fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc article 35fed38e-adc4-5543-83e8-4c5e10fec2a6   Westlake Legal Group AmericanAirlinesIstock American Airlines LA-to-Chicago flight diverted to Albuquerque over unruly passenger: report Jack Durschlag fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/los-angeles fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/travel/general/airlines fox news fnc/us fnc article 35fed38e-adc4-5543-83e8-4c5e10fec2a6

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Lou Ferrigno, TV’s ‘Hulk,’ to become New Mexico sheriff’s deputy

Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450

Actor Lou Ferrigno, who played “The Incredible Hulk” on TV, is about to undergo another remarkable transformation.

The 68-year-old former bodybuilder will be sworn in as a New Mexico sheriff’s deputy next week, according to reports.

Ferrigno became a reserve deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in California in 2012 and was a member of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer sheriff posse in 2016 where he helped patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

LOU ‘THE HULK’ FERRIGNO JOINS POSSE FIGHTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo, whose jurisdiction is south of Albuquerque, said Ferrigno will play a crucial role in department recruitment efforts.

Starting in 1973, Ferrigno won several bodybuilding titles, including Mr. America and Mr. Universe; he also worked as a sheet metal worker in a Brooklyn, N.Y., factory at that time, according to his website.

He is best known for his title role on the 1977-83 TV series “The Incredible Hulk,” but has also acted on other shows, including a recurring role on the comedy “The King of Queens.”

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Ferrigno’s father was an NYPD lieutenant, according to his website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450   Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lou Ferrigno, TV’s ‘Hulk,’ to become New Mexico sheriff’s deputy

Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450

Actor Lou Ferrigno, who played “The Incredible Hulk” on TV, is about to undergo another remarkable transformation.

The 68-year-old former bodybuilder will be sworn in as a New Mexico sheriff’s deputy next week, according to reports.

Ferrigno became a reserve deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in California in 2012 and was a member of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer sheriff posse in 2016 where he helped patrol the U.S.-Mexico border.

LOU ‘THE HULK’ FERRIGNO JOINS POSSE FIGHTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Socorro County Sheriff William Armijo, whose jurisdiction is south of Albuquerque, said Ferrigno will play a crucial role in department recruitment efforts.

Starting in 1973, Ferrigno won several bodybuilding titles, including Mr. America and Mr. Universe; he also worked as a sheet metal worker in a Brooklyn, N.Y., factory at that time, according to his website.

He is best known for his title role on the 1977-83 TV series “The Incredible Hulk,” but has also acted on other shows, including a recurring role on the comedy “The King of Queens.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Ferrigno’s father was an NYPD lieutenant, according to his website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450   Westlake Legal Group AP20010167239797 Lou Ferrigno, TV's 'Hulk,' to become New Mexico sheriff's deputy fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Brie Stimson article a9735aad-4979-5eae-9626-909970de1450

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New Mexico boy, 1, becomes state’s first pediatric flu death of season

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs New Mexico boy, 1, becomes state’s first pediatric flu death of season Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox news fnc/health fnc da6ddb9d-91f0-524b-983a-08ff703a3b5f article

A 1-year-old boy in New Mexico has become the state’s first pediatric flu death of the 2019-2020 season.

The boy, who was not identified, was from Roosevelt County, officials with the New Mexico Department of Health announced this week. No other details were provided and it’s not currently clear if the boy had received the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for any child 6 months of age or older.

FLU  HAS SICKENED THE MOST PEOPLE IN THIS STATE 

“(The) seasonal flu vaccine covers multiple strains, including the ones currently circulating, and it is not too late to get vaccinated,” Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel said in a statement, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from influenza and, given the fact that this season hasn’t peaked yet, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”

The death follows at least 52 other pneumonia and flu-related deaths since October, officials said, according to the outlet.

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The news comes after reports emerged this week that a 10-year-old Texas boy died after contracting the flu. Jaxon Campbell, a student at Austin Elementary School in Coppell, was remembered for his positive and can-do attitude by his teammates and friends in the community.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Health did not immediately return Fox News’ request for additional comment on Friday.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs New Mexico boy, 1, becomes state’s first pediatric flu death of season Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox news fnc/health fnc da6ddb9d-91f0-524b-983a-08ff703a3b5f article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095666100001_6095663710001-vs New Mexico boy, 1, becomes state’s first pediatric flu death of season Madeline Farber fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/respiratory-health/cold-and-flu fox news fnc/health fnc da6ddb9d-91f0-524b-983a-08ff703a3b5f article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Amber Alert issued in New Mexico for missing boy, 3, after mom found dead in home

A child’s mother was found dead inside a home in New Mexico, and police have issued an Amber Alert for the 3-year-old boy, whom they say might be with the father.

Authorities said family members of Isela Mauricio-Sanchez, 27, found her lifeless body Tuesday night in Roswell. Her son, Osiel Ernesto Rico, was last seen Sunday.

Authorities believe Osiel is with his father Jorge Rico-Ruvira, 32. Rico-Ruvira is suspected of Mauricio-Sanchez’s murder. Roswell Police Department spokesperson Todd Wildermuth told the Carlsbad Current-Argus that Rico-Ruvira was Mauricio-Sanchez’s “significant other.”

NEW MEXICO POLICE SAY 4 BODIES FOUND INSIDE HOME AFTER GUNFIRE 

Police say Osiel could be in danger.

“They may have headed to Mexico. We just want everyone to stay alert,” Wildermuth said, adding that the FBI is assisting in the investigation, since Rico-Ruvira may have crossed state lines.

Westlake Legal Group Osiel-Jorge-Rico Amber Alert issued in New Mexico for missing boy, 3, after mom found dead in home Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 484c204b-6c70-547a-993f-47eb23da092b

Osiel Ernesto Rico/ Jorge Rico-Ruvira

Wildermuth said the investigation is ongoing and a warrant for Rico-Ruvira’s arrest was being sought as of Wednesday.

Osiel is described as a 3-year-old Hispanic male, 2 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing approximately 40 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Rico-Ruvira is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He is believed to be driving a 2003 maroon GMC Yukon SUV.

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Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Roswell Police Department at (575) 624-6770 or dial 911.

Westlake Legal Group Osiel-Jorge-Rico Amber Alert issued in New Mexico for missing boy, 3, after mom found dead in home Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 484c204b-6c70-547a-993f-47eb23da092b   Westlake Legal Group Osiel-Jorge-Rico Amber Alert issued in New Mexico for missing boy, 3, after mom found dead in home Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime fox-news/topic/missing-persons fox news fnc/us fnc article 484c204b-6c70-547a-993f-47eb23da092b

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New Mexico police say 4 bodies found inside home after gunfire

Westlake Legal Group Crime-scene-iStock New Mexico police say 4 bodies found inside home after gunfire fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 6a5605ac-d0f5-557d-a5fd-162280d4b88a

Police in New Mexico are investigating the circumstances that led to four people being found dead from gunshot wounds on Christmas Day in a home on a quiet suburban neighborhood north of Albuquerque.

Officers were called to the scene around 4:14 p.m. in Rio Rancho, a town of about 94,000 residents, where many homes were decorated with Christmas lights.

PHILADELPHIA MAN KILLS WOMAN, INJURES HER 14-YEAR-OLD SON IN STABBING IN FRONT OF KIDS, POLICE SAY

No suspect was in custody in connection with the shootings, but authorities believe no threat to the general public existed, Capt. Andrew Rodriguez of the Rio Rancho police told the Albuquerque Journal.

A woman who claimed to be a relative of the family that lived in the home said her brother and mother had gone inside and found two of the bodies. She said her family and the gunshot victims had been together the night before for a Christmas Eve celebration and were supposed to meet again Wednesday.

“I just had a feeling something was wrong, cause since yesterday in the evening I was telling my sister my heart was heavy and racing and I didn’t know why,” Rose Varona told KRQE-TV of Albuquerque.

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“I really don’t understand what’s going on,” she added. “We just try to draw the strength from God, even though we don’t understand what’s going on.”

Authorities would not disclose any information about the identities, ages or relationships of the victims. But Rio Rancho police said they would provide more information when they can.

Westlake Legal Group Crime-scene-iStock New Mexico police say 4 bodies found inside home after gunfire fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 6a5605ac-d0f5-557d-a5fd-162280d4b88a   Westlake Legal Group Crime-scene-iStock New Mexico police say 4 bodies found inside home after gunfire fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 6a5605ac-d0f5-557d-a5fd-162280d4b88a

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 Central American migrant children

A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) internal watchdog said Friday it found no wrongdoing or malfeasance by immigration officials in connection with the deaths of two migrant children from Guatemala while in U.S. Border Patrol custody last December.

The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the deaths of 7-year-old Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin and 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo were caused by infections — not from any misconduct rendered by officials at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Jakelin and her father were apprehended in Antelope Wells, N.M., on Dec. 6, 2018. The state medical examiner’s autopsy found that she died of “natural causes due to sequelae [a diseased condition] of Streptococcal sepsis,” according to the OIG.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-3a6c09e66c6f47c29a6f96fb896fa87e DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 Central American migrant children Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/us fnc e7d5d67d-012b-50d7-b952-7d860f33a3d3 article

Claudia Maquin, 27, showed a photo of her daughter, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Raxruha, Guatemala, on Dec. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

Felipe and his father were apprehended near El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 18, 2018. He died six days later from sepsis caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, according to the state medical examiner, the OIG found.

“We are still saddened by the tragic loss of these young lives, and we continue to bolster medical screenings and care at DHS facilities on the border,” a Homeland Security spokeswoman told The Associated Press. “The men and women of Border Patrol are committed to the highest standards of professionalism and care.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19354857868771-1 DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 Central American migrant children Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/us fnc e7d5d67d-012b-50d7-b952-7d860f33a3d3 article

Family members pay their final respects to Felipe Gomez Alonzo in Yalambojoch, Guatemala, on Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros, File)

BODY OF GUATEMALAN GIRL WHO DIED AT US BORDER RETURNED TO HOME COUNTRY

Jakelin and her father, Nery Caal, arrived at the New Mexico border with a group of 163 migrants. Caal told an agent his daughter was vomiting and sick and started having seizures while they were being transported from the Antelope Wells port of entry to another Border Patrol facility in Lordsburg, about 90 miles away, the OIG said.

U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) EMTs tried to revive her and Jakelin was flown to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead the next day. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement at the time that Jakelin’s temperature reached 105.7 degrees Fahrenheit by the time the bus was leaving.

While Caal signed a paper that said Jakelin was in good health, it wasn’t clear how much he understood what it said or what he was signing, as agents read him the paper — written in English — in Spanish.

GUATEMALAN BOY, 8, DIES IN US BORDER PATROL CUSTODY

Felipe and his father were transported from El Paso to the Alamogordo, N.M., border checkpoint to await family placement, the OIG said.

An agent noticed the boy appeared ill and spoke to his father, Agustin Gomez, on Dec. 24. Gomez requested medical treatment for his son, who was transported to the nearest hospital, according to the OIG.

Felipe was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, “prescribed amoxicillin and acetaminophen,” and then discharged with his father to the Border Patrol facility, where personnel administered his prescriptions, the OIG said.

“The child’s condition improved briefly, and subsequently worsened,” the Inspector General said.

Felipe was taken back to the hospital, where he unresponsive upon arrival and pronounced dead, per the OIG statement.

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Jakelin and Felipe’s deaths prompted CBP to increase their medical checks at the border. While border crossings have since declined, they were on the rise a year ago and facilities continued to be overwhelmed throughout part of 2019.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and Greg Norman contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Westlake Legal Group AP19354855631210-1 DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 Central American migrant children Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/us fnc e7d5d67d-012b-50d7-b952-7d860f33a3d3 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19354855631210-1 DHS watchdog finds no wrongdoing in deaths of 2 Central American migrant children Melissa Leon fox-news/world/world-regions/americas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/us fnc e7d5d67d-012b-50d7-b952-7d860f33a3d3 article

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New Mexico Democrat’s DUI conviction could cost him panel chairmanship, state party leaders warn

A New Mexico state senator was reportedly convicted on misdemeanor aggravated drunken driving and reckless driving charges Tuesday — nearly six months after he rear-ended a driver stopped at a red light in the state.

Sen. Richard Martinez, a Democrat, failed a field sobriety test and injured himself and the two people in the other car in the June crash. He also refused to take a breathalyzer test, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

ARIZONA LAWMAKER ARRESTED FOR DUI, REPORTEDLY TELLS OFFICER, ‘YOU’LL GET YOURS’

Westlake Legal Group martinez New Mexico Democrat's DUI conviction could cost him panel chairmanship, state party leaders warn fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/new-mexico fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox-news/us/crime fox-news/politics/state-and-local fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc c96913c8-e12e-5456-8958-ecf405d5698c Brie Stimson article

New Mexico state Sen. Richard Martinez, a Democrat, refused to take a breathalyzer test after injuring himself and two people in another car in a June DUI crash, authorities say. (Española Police Department )

Martinez has served in the state’s Senate since 2001 and previously said he would not resign after his arrest. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After his conviction, top Democrats in the state said they would recommend asking him to leave as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth and Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen said they would let Martinez or voters decide his fate in the Senate. They said they would deliver their recommendation next month.

“The defendant made the choice to drink. Second, he made the choice to drive impaired. Third, the consequences,” Mark Probasco, a special prosecutor with the state attorney general’s office said, according to The Journal. “No one is above the law, not even a senator — not even this defendant.”

“The defendant made the choice to drink. Second, he made the choice to drive impaired. Third, the consequences. No one is above the law, not even a senator — not even this defendant.”

— Mark Probasco, special prosecutor with New Mexico state attorney general’s office

Martinez originally told officers he had only “a beer or two,” but later admitted he had multiple glasses of wine. His attorney claimed the crash was an accident and said he failed the sobriety test because he was dazed from hitting the windshield.

The officer who arrested Martinez said the senator was slurring his speech and had alcohol on his breath.

He faces up to 180 days in jail as he goes up for reelection next year.

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A former Republican state senator in New Mexico was defeated last year after she was convicted for DUI in 2018, The Journal reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Saudi student at the University of New Mexico charged with illegally possessing handgun, FBI says

A Saudi Arabian student enrolled at the University of New Mexico’s school of engineering was charged Friday with illegally possessing a firearm after a search of his Albuquerque residence found a .380-caliber Cobra handgun, according to federal court documents.

Hassan Alquahtani, 28, was scheduled to get his diploma from the university on Saturday before going to Disneyland to celebrate with his family, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Those plans changed following an FBI investigation into the student, which began after an anonymous person called its National Threat Operations Center on Aug. 8 and said that Alqahtani was “creating a list of people who he wants to kill before he leaves the U.S.”

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That list allegedly included the person who gave the tip, as well as University of New Mexico professors, according to the outlet.

Alqahtani turned himself in to authorities on Friday afternoon, where he appeared before Judge Karen Molzen who ordered him to be held through the weekend. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico told NBC News that “Alqahtani is not currently charged with anything other than possession of a firearm. I cannot confirm or deny an ongoing investigation of any other conduct.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney George Kraehe argued that Alqahtani should stay in custody because the list included UNM professors, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The list wasn’t included in the complaint and it’s not clear which professors were on it.

According to the complaint, a confidential source said Alqahtani approached him in November with an interest in purchasing an AK-47 rifle and that Alqahtani later said he was interested instead in acquiring a smaller gun for protection. The affidavit says a girlfriend of Alqahtani claimed ownership of the seized gun and is possibly conspiring to conceal his possession of the firearm.

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Joel Meyers, a defense attorney for Alqahtani, said he plans to dispute accusations that the seized firearm belonged to Alqahtani, and expressed disappointment at the timing of the arrest on the day before Alqahtani’s graduation ceremony.

“If he was such a concern,” Meyers said, “why the delay until right before his graduation?”

Meyers said Alqahtani is in the U.S. legally on a student visa and that he lives with his wife — described as his girlfriend in the criminal complaint — who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Alqahtani has a detention hearing on Dec. 16

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In a news release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque says the firearms charge can carry a penalty up to 10 years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to the report

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