Southeast New Mexico Headlines - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Management, Safety Cited for Radiation Release at WIPP Plant

Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site.

Jal Police Chief Suspended Without Pay for Two Weeks Video included

It was just last week when the Jal, New Mexico, interim city manager, Bob Gallagher, got some information that raised concern over the police Chief Larry Burns.

Elevator Project Completed at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

All four transportation routes are up and running at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. That’s according to the Carlsbad Current Argus. Renovations began on the elevators nearly four years ago at the park.

Two People Killed in Accident in Eddy County

Two people are dead following a two vehicle accident near Carlsbad. The accident happened at the intersection of State Road 200 and Eddy County Road 206, just north of Carlsbad on Monday afternoon.

New Mexico Authorities Searching For Missing Man

New Mexico State Police need your help locating a missing man. Police are looking for 44-year-old David Bogard. Bogard is described as a White male, six feet tall and weighs about 240 pounds. He has hazel eyes and gray or partly gray hair.

Carlsbad Caverns Warning People About Virus That's Killing Bats

There's a deadly virus in bats that Carlsbad Caverns officials wants to warn people about. According to the park, there's a disease called "White-Nose Syndrome" that has killed more than five million bats in the country since 2006.

Pay Increase Could be on the Way For Lea County Employees

Lea County employees could be seeing a price hike in their checks. According to the Hobbs News-Sun, County Commissioners discussed the county's budget for next year on Thursday.

House Fire in Carlsbad Ruled as Arson

A Carlsbad home that caught fire last week appears to be arson. That's according to the Carlsbad Current-Argus. The fire erupted at a home in the 1000 block of Mermod Street on April seventh.

Crews Find Suspected Area of Radiation Leak

More than two months after radiation leaked from the federal government's half-mile deep nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico, crews think they have identified the area where the release occurred.

New Mexico Deputy Accused of Vehicular Homicide

A 22-year-old Dona Ana County sheriff's deputy is accused of vehicular homicide in the death of a pedestrian struck by the deputy's cruiser as it reportedly was traveling over 100 mph during a nighttime emergency call.

Update Expected on Leaky Nuke Dump

The Department of Energy plans an update on its latest entries into southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump.

New Mexico Prisons to End Overnight Family Visits

The New Mexico Department of Corrections has announced that it is ending overnight family visits for inmates. The agency said Wednesday inmates will no longer be allowed conjugal visits beginning May 1.

Gov. Martinez to Unveil New Veterans' Cemeteries

Gov. Susana Martinez has announced that Angel Fire, Carlsbad, Fort Stanton, and Gallup are being proposed as sites for new rural veterans' cemeteries in New Mexico.

Carlsbad Woman Killed in Accident in Eddy County

A Carlsbad woman lost her life after a deadly crash in Eddy County. The accident happened Monday morning at the intersection of Highway 285 and Derrick Road.

City of Hobbs Collaborating With Residents, Businesses to Address Plastic Bag Epidemic Video included

It's a plague that's "contaminating" our area. Plastic bags - hundreds of them - littered on the side of our highways.

Southern New Mexico Fire at 60 Percent Containment

A fire that has burned nearly 100 acres in the Sacramento Mountains in southern New Mexico in the vicinity of an observatory is 60 percent contained and some crews are being released.

Fire Damages Albuquerque Elementary School

Authorities are trying to determine the cause of a fire at an Albuquerque elementary school. Firefighters arriving at Zia Elementary School on Sunday found heavy flames coming from the roof on the north side of the cafeteria.

Hobbs Man Accused of Shooting at a Woman

A Hobbs man finds himself behind bars on several charges after police say he shot at a woman. Fernando Medrano is charged with aggravated battery of a household member, criminal damage to property and shooting from a motor vehicle.

Carlsbad Man Killed in Early Morning Accident

A Carlsbad man was killed in an early morning rollover accident near Carlsbad. The accident happened in the area of Smedley Road and Tidwell Road around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.

Millions of Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped in New Mexico

Nearly a million jars of untainted peanut butter are being dumped at a New Mexico landfill.

New Mexico Not Pleased With Prairie Chicken Listing

State officials in New Mexico are not pleased with a decision by the Obama administration to list the lesser prairie chicken as a federally threatened species.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Open in Roswell

Those who use medical marijuana in Roswell, you will now have an easier time getting it. That's because Compassionate Distributors of Ruidoso are working to open a dispensary in Roswell.

EPA to Send Mobile Environmental Monitoring Units to WIPP Plant in Carlsbad

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to send mobile environmental monitoring units to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. New Mexico State Senators asked the E.P.A. to send the air monitors to Carlsbad.

Hearing Set for Boy Charged in Roswell Shooting

A judge in Roswell will hold a hearing Friday on whether a 12-year-old boy is competent to stand trial in a Jan. 14 middle school shooting in which two other students were wounded.

Hobbs Man Behind Bars on Charges of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor

A Hobbs man is behind bars for a sick crime. According to the arrest report, two young girls told police 48-year-old Florentino Cobo-Cruz touched them both inappropriately.

Oversight Chair Questions Safety at Nuke Dump

The head of a federal nuclear safety oversight board calls the recent truck fire and radiation release from the government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico "near misses."

Texas Man Pleads Not Guilty in Girlfriend's Death

A 33-year-old Texas man accused of killing his Dallas-area teacher girlfriend in southeastern New Mexico has pleaded not guilty.

Man Accused of Murdering His Girlfriend in Carlsbad to be Arraigned on Monday

The man accused of murdering his girlfriend in Carlsbad earlier this month will be arraigned Monday. 33-year-old Robert Earley of Euless, Texas, is charged with murder, tampering with evidence and kidnapping.

Hobbs Man Facing Charges After Taunting Firefighters

Starting a fire and taunting firefighters landed one Hobbs man behind bars. Kevin Sanders is facing several charges including arson.

Second Radiation Release Indicated at New Mexico Site

New air sampling data from southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump indicates there has been another small radiation release.

Police Seek Help After 11 Vehicle Fires in Roswell

Authorities say 11 vehicles recently have been set on fire in Roswell and police are seeking the public's help. Roswell police say the vehicles have been set ablaze within the past several, with the most recent arson this week.

Fire Burns Thousands of Acres in New Mexico

A wildfire that burned thousands of acres of prairie in eastern New Mexico was caused by a blown tire.

Officials Say Internet Rumors To Evacuate Due To Radioactive Leak Are False Video included

Many viewers in West Texas and New Mexico have been calling our newsroom since the weekend with concerns that they needed to evacuate due to a radioactive leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, east of Carlsbad.

Hobbs Man Pleads Guilty to Meth Trafficking

A Hobbs man has pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine trafficking charge in New Mexico. Prosecutors say 57-year-old Clinton Skippings entered his pleas Monday in a federal court in Las Cruces.

Elderly Woman Killed in Early Morning House Fire in Hobbs Video included

An elderly was killed in an early morning house fire in Hobbs. The Hobbs Police Department tells NewsWest 9, officials responded to a structure fire at 3206 North Dal Paso Street just after 3 a.m. Saturday morning.

Lea County Sheriff’s Office Warning Resident About Phone, E-Mail Scam

The Lea County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a phone and e-mail scam that has been popping up around the state. The scammers claim to be with the sheriff's office and that the victim has a failure to appear for their arrest.

Report: Fire at WIPP Plant in Carlsbad Was Preventable

The truck that caught fire a half mile underground at a southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump was 29 years old, improperly maintained and operating without an automatic fire-suppression system.

Hobbs Man Killed in Accident in Lea County

A Hobbs man is dead following an afternoon accident on Wednesday in Lea County. New Mexico State Police tell NewsWest 9, they were called out to a two vehicle accident at the intersection of U.S. Highway 62/180 and New Mexico State Road 483.

Three People Arrested After Being Caught With Drugs During a Traffic Stop in Hobbs

Three people in Hobbs are behind bars after being caught riding in a car with drugs. Police pulled over a truck, driven by David Neufield, for a routine traffic stop on Saturday night.

Feds to Keep Employees of Closed Nuke Dump Working

The Department of Energy has approved a plan to keep all employees at southeastern New Mexico's underground nuclear waste dump working while officials determine what caused a radiation release.

City of Hobbs Offering Incentives For New Firefighters, EMS Specialists

If you live in Hobbs and want to become a firefighter, now's your chance. We're told the fire department is shorthanded.

Hobbs Man Caught With Drugs After Warrant Was Issued For His Arrest

An outstanding warrant for a Hobbs man ended up getting him caught with drugs. 44-year-old Claudio Martinez was wanted for violations of his pre-trial release.

Hobbs Woman Accused of Stealing More Than $24,000 From Company She Worked For

A Hobbs woman is behind bars for stealing thousands of dollars from the company she worked for. 32-year-old Patricia Garcia is accused of stealing a little more than $24,000 from Dr. Shoemakers on North Shipp Street.

Officer Dragged by Vehicle in Roswell, Authorities Searching For Odessa Man

Roswell Police are searching for an Odessa man after an officer was dragged by a vehicle. Roswell Police tell NewsWest 9 on Monday night around 10:20 p.m., an officer from the Roswell Police Department initiated a traffic stop at the intersection of Third Street and Main Street.

Lovington Man Found Dead in Mexico Video included

Just a few weeks ago, a Lovington family received a phone call no one ever wants get. Jorge Kawaha was told his grandson, Alejandro Kawaha, was brutally murdered while he was visiting his mother in Mexico.

New Air Testing at Nuclear Dump Shows No Contamination

The U.S. Department of Energy says new air testing in the nation's only underground nuclear repository shows no detectable radioactive contamination from a leak last month.

Artesia Man Killed in Rollover Accident in Chaves County, N.M.

An Artesia man was killed in an early morning rollover accident in Chaves County on Sunday. We’re told the accident happened on State Road 2 at the intersection of Cherokee Road, just south of Dexter, New Mexico.

Four Men Arrested After Raid in Hobbs

The Lea County Drug Task Force and Hobbs Police net four arrests in a raid that happened on Wednesday. Authorities tell NewsWest 9, they could not release the fourth suspect’s information.

California Fugitive Arrested in New Mexico

Authorities in New Mexico have arrested a man who's accused of postal theft in California. Dona Ana County Sheriff's officials say 44-year-old Jose Manuel Guerra was taken into custody Tuesday in Anthony.

Feds to Update Public on Mishap at Nuke Dump in Carlsbad

The U.S. Department of Energy is planning a town hall to release more information on its efforts to recover from a radiation leak at the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump. Residents from throughout the Carlsbad area are expected to attend Thursday's meeting.

New Mexico Girl Sentenced for Killing Foster Mom

A 17-year-old girl who admitted killing her foster mother in her southern New Mexico home now faces about 10 years in prison. A judge on Wednesday sentenced Alexis Shields to 30 years in prison but suspended 17 years of the sentence.

Texas Woman Murdered By Her Boyfriend in Carlsbad

A Texas woman went to Carlsbad to visit her boyfriend. Now her family is mourning her loss after she was murdered. 33-year-old Robert Earley was the boyfriend of Emily Lambert, he first reported her missing Sunday morning. Carlsbad police immediately questioned Earley and named him a person of interest.

Roswell Voters Elect Dennis Kintigh as Mayor

Roswell voters elected former New Mexico legislator Dennis Kintigh over incumbent Del Jurney by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio in results from the mayor's race in Tuesday's election. According to unofficial vote totals released by the city, Kintigh had just over 3,500 votes while Jurney had just under 1,590 votes.

Four Men Arrested After Undercover Operation in Hobbs, New Mexico

Four men remain behind bars after they were caught trying to buy services from a prostitute. 31-year-old Juan Flores, 37-year-old Jamie Haywood, 29-year-old Justin Millaway and 35-year-old Brian Sears are all facing charges of promoting prostitution.

Ban on Texting While Driving to Become New Mexico Law

A proposal to ban texting while driving in New Mexico will become a state law. Gov. Susana Martinez will sign the bill Sunday afternoon while visiting the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque.

Hobbs Teen Arrested After Being Caught With Drugs

A Hobbs teen was arrested after he got busted with drugs. According to the police report, 19-year-old Moises Hernandez was pulled over for a traffic stop.

WIPP Employees Notified of Preliminary Sample Results

Today, the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, the WIPP contractor, notified 13 employees of positive preliminary bioassay results. The results are based on samples taken as a precautionary measure from employees present during the February 14, 2014 radiological event.

New Mexico Family Searching For Family Member Who Went Missing Last Week

A New Mexico family is looking for a family member that's been missing for more than a week. 57-year-old Adan Becerra hasn't been heard since from last Monday, February 17.

Conroe Man Killed in Accident North of Eunice, New Mexico

One person is dead following a morning accident north of Eunice, New Mexico. New Mexico State Police officials tell NewsWest 9, they were called out to a two vehicle accident on New Mexico State Road 248.

UPDATE: No Surface Contamination Reported at WIPP Plant in New Mexico

NewsWest 9 has an update on what was reported as a “possible radiological event” at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. The Department of Energy tells NewsWest 9, no surface contamination has been found on any equipment, personnel or facilities.

Officials Investigating "Possible Radiation Event" at WIPP Plant in New Mexico

Carlsbad officials are monitoring the presence of airborne radiation at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The U.S. Department of Energy says personnel are on-site on what officials are calling a "possible radiological event."

Man Turns Himself Into Police After Authorities Find Jar Full of Marijuana

It wasn't a jar full of jelly police found in Hobbs, they say it was marijuana. Police say they saw the jar in 22-year-old Derek Rodriguez’s car.

Police Searching For Two Men After Deadly Fight in Hobbs

Police need your help locating two people after a fight turned deadly in Hobbs. Officers were called out to the 1200 block of North San Mateo in reference to a disturbance just before 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 2.

FBI, Police Searching For Two People Who Robbed Carlsbad Bank

The FBI and Carlsbad Police are looking for a man and woman who robbed a bank in Carlsbad on Friday. The robbery happened at the Western Commerce Bank Branch around 2:30 p.m.

New Mexico Man Killed in Morning Accident in Eddy County

A crash in Eddy County killed a man from Loving, New Mexico on Monday morning. The accident happened around 6:30 a.m. on Highway 285 just south of Carlsbad.

Missing Child Located in Hobbs, Found Safe

10-year-old Jose Cienfuegos has been found. We're told he's safe and sound.

Hobbs Farmer Sentenced For Hiding His Ownership of 250 Acres of Land in Lea County

A farmer from Hobbs will be spending the next 14 years in prison for hiding his ownership of 250 acres of land in Lea County. Bill Melot will be placed under supervised release for the first three years after serving his time.

Hobbs Man Facing Battery, Child Abuse Charges After Argument With Ex-Girlfriend

A Hobbs man is in hot water after he choked a child during an argument with his ex-girlfriend on Monday. 48-year-old Morris Taylor is being held on charges of child abuse and battery against a household member.

Carlsbad Police Calling Weekend House Fire "Suspicious"

Fire officials in Carlsbad are calling a house fire over the weekend as “suspicious.” They were called out to an abandoned house early Saturday morning on Main Street.

Hobbs Police Investigating First Homicide of 2014

Police in Hobbs are investigating their first official homicide of 2014. Officers were called out to a fight at a home in the 1200 block of North San Mateo around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Two New Mexico Men Killed in Head-On Accident in Eddy County

A head-on crash in Eddy County took the lives of two men on Friday morning. The accident happened around 6 a.m. on County Road 605, which is about three miles south of Highway 62.

Hobbs Man Facing Charges of Cocaine Trafficking, Marijuana Possession

A Hobbs man remains behind bars after authorities found drugs, guns and cash in his home. 21-year-old Christopher Thompson is facing charges of cocaine trafficking and marijuana possession.

Eunice Parents Voice Concerns at Community Meeting After Gun Was Brought on Campus

Parents filled a Eunice cafeteria on Tuesday night to voice their concerns after a gun was brought on the middle school campus a couple of weeks ago.

Eddy County Sheriff's Office Investigating Vandalism Case

The Eddy County Sheriff's Department needs help finding the person responsible for a vandalism attack. It happened on Old Refinery Road back on January sixth and seventh.

Officials Investigating After Jal Post Office Was Burglarized

Several residents in Jal may not be getting some of their mail after the post office was burglarized over the weekend. Police Chief Larry Burns tells NewsWest 9 that one or two people got inside the post office through a window in the main lobby on Saturday.

Tip Leads to Woman Being Arrested For Trafficking Methamphetamine

A tip from an informant led police in Hobbs to the arrest of a woman who was trafficking meth. 30-year-old Crystal Castillo was picked up by police on Saturday for felony charges.

Two Hobbs Businesses Closed After Being Caught Selling Spice

Two businesses in Hobbs have closed their doors after getting busted for selling spice. Hobbs Police teamed up with the Lea County Drug Task Force to serve cease and desist orders to the S&S Smoker's Outlet stores on East Main and North Dal Paso on Thursday.

Hobbs Man Facing Charges After Being Caught With Drugs While Children Were in His Apartment

A Hobbs man got into hot water after he was caught with drugs while children were in his apartment. 21-year-old Quayshaun Williams is facing felony charges of abuse or abandonment of a child.

Boy Injured in New Mexico School Shooting Identified

The 12-year-old boy, who was injured during a school shooting in Roswell on Tuesday has been identified. Governor Susana Martinez says Nathaniel Tavarez remains in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital.

Suspect's Family "Heartbroken" Over New Mexico Middle School Shooting

The family of a 12-year-old New Mexico boy who police say opened fire inside his middle school gym is heartbroken over the tragedy. The boy's parents and grandparents issued a statement through their lawyer Wednesday, saying their thoughts and prayers are with the two children who were shot Tuesday at Berrendo Middle School.

New Carlsbad Police Chief Named

The City of Carlsbad has a new police chief. Former Eddy County Sheriff Kent Waller was appointed to the position by city officials on Tuesday night.

Odessa Man Arrested in Hobbs, N.M. For Using Fake Prescriptions

An Odessa man was arrested in Hobbs over the weekend for using fake prescriptions. 22-year-old Carlos Lujan has been hit with multiple felony counts of controlled substances prohibited acts and conspiracy.

Eunice Man Behind Bars in Lubbock, Accused of Shooting Another Man

A Eunice man is behind bars in Lubbock after he shot another man. 24-year-old Heriberto Gayton is facing charges of aggravated assault.

Truck Catches Fire at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Near Carlsbad, New Mexico

Some tense moments at the underground nuclear waste storage site near Carlsbad. Officials say a truck carrying salt caught fire on Wednesday morning at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Lovington Man Killed in Industrial Accident

A Lovington man lost his life in an industrial accident at an oilfield close to Artesia earlier this week. Officials say 28-year-old Alejandro Perez was electrocuted on Monday when a hoist touched overhead electrical wires.

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