‘Disturbance’ in San Juan County jail over limited hot meals

San Juan County officials confirmed a “disturbance” took place in its county jail on Monday, resulting in a broken fire sprinkler, two different fires and a piece of a bed used as a “battering ram.”

According to a press release from San Juan County, inmates began demanding to speak with the jail’s administration. The press release said inmates were unhappy that they were only given one hot meal a day. County officials said the lack of hot meals is due to a reduction of inmates and therefore a shortage of available kitchen staff. 

According to county officials the unrest among inmates carried over to Monday when they refused sack lunches. The press release stated that an administrator tried to talk to inmates but was “assaulted” and then a “taser was deployed.”

Officials said inmates then broke a fire sprinkler off in a bathroom, which flooded the area inmates were being held. Then, officials said, inmates started two fires in two separate areas and one inmate allegedly used a broken piece of a bed “as a battering ram to attempt to break down a fire door.”

Both Farmington SWAT officers and the San Juan County Sheriff’s office were called in to remove some detainees and others were put in “lockdown” by the jail, according to officials.

State will consider boosting gas well density in northern NM

At its meeting on Thursday, September 13, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Committee will hear from an energy company that wants to double the density of gas wells in northwestern New Mexico. Hilcorp Energy Company is asking the state to amend well density requirements in what’s called the Blanco-Mesaverde Gas Pool in San Juan and Rio Arriba counties. Under the current rules, companies can drill four wells within the designated 320-acre spacing units, and only two can be drilled within each 160-acre section. Companies can also ask the state to increase the density of wells on a case-by-case basis, something Hilcorp notes in its application New Mexico has allowed it to do in 62 instances this year. Rather than continuing to file individual applications, each with its own public notice and hearing, the company is now asking New Mexico to change the spacing rules for the entire Blanco-Mesaverde pool.

Bernalillo County commission votes against rolling back immigrant-friendly resolution

The Bernalillo County Commission reiterated its commitment to being an immigrant-friendly community. On Tuesday night, commissioners voted 4-1 against a provision that would have rolled back that status. County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, a Republican who is running for Albuquerque mayor, introduced a proposal to bring the county in alignment with the federal government’s current policy on detaining people who are in the country illegally. “There is nothing in this resolution that directs or even implies that the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department should be enforcing federal immigration law,” Johnson said. “Everything in this resolution puts the burden on the Department of Homeland Security and on Immigration and Customs. It allows access to detainees, identified by the DHS, and it allows notification when those identified detainees will be released 48 hours prior and then it would allow, in the very specific condition, for us to hold someone for 48 hours if the Department of Homeland Security agrees to indemnify the county against liability.”

Johnson’s proposal would have rescinded a resolution passed by the commission earlier this year that declared the city immigrant-friendly.

Six things to know about the Animas River spill

The Animas River turned a sickly orange-brown as waste from an abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado flowed into the river. The water with high level of heavy metals has made its way down the river into New Mexico. The cause? A breach from a team working for the Environmental Protection Agency that was trying to treat some of the contaminants in the mine. Here are a few things you should know about the spill as well as some other background.