Experts: Cartel disputes fuel increase in Juárez region violence

From the El Paso Times - By Diana Washington Valdez - U.S. officials on Wednesday said their intelligence indicates that the Sinaloa and Juárez drug-trafficking organizations are still active in the Juárez region, and that a recent spike in drug violence there can be attributed to cartel disputes.
     Joseph Arabit, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in El Paso, said the violence stems from "fracturing within the Sinaloa cartel and continued fighting between the cartels."
     Army Col. Marisa Tanner, intelligence director for Joint Task Force North at Fort Bliss, said rogue elements of cartels that break away from the main groups contribute to violence.
     Arabit and Tanner were among panelists Wednesday at the International Association for Intelligence Education hosted this week by the University of Texas at El Paso. The conference brings together intelligence educators and trainers from around the world.
     They were joined for a discussion on border security by Ian Brownlee, U.S. consul in Juárez; Mark Morgan, FBI special agent in charge in El Paso; and Edward Regula, chief of the Border Intelligence Fusion Section at the El Paso Intelligence Center.
     Although elements of both drug cartels operate in the Juárez region, the experts said, intelligence indicates that Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman's organization, of Sinaloa, is the dominant group. Read more

Study puts NM at top for child hunger

New statistics show the state has the most hungry children of any state in the country. 
The numbers show one in every three New Mexican children don't have enough to eat. The study was done by Feeding America, a hunger relief charity. 
Stephanie Miller of the Road Runner Food Bank said there's a number of reasons - from recession to parents unable to provide -- that a third of the state's kids are going hungry. The food bank can also check and see if patrons qualify for food stamps. 
New Mexico also ranks second overall in the country for adult hunger, which means 20 percent of New Mexican adults don't know where they'll get their next meal.


ACLU looking into Whole Foods Spanish policy

The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating a claim that a Whole Foods Market in Albuquerque has begun a "no Spanish" policy with employees. 
The store on Academy and Wyoming boulevards says it didn't formally ban speaking Spanish, but ACLU attorneys said they feel there may have been a human rights violation. 
Bryan Baldizan, the employee at the center of the controversy, said a Whole Foods supervisor recently singled out Spanish speakers. Baldizan claims that while handing out the company's language policy at a work meeting, the supervisor said they could not speak Spanish at work. Whole Foods said it does not have a "no foreign languages spoken" policy. 
The company's official policy, however, is that English is the default language employees must speak for consistent communication. 
He and another employee wrote a letter expressing their grievances about not being able to speak Spanish.


NM Courts rule in favor of telephone warrants

New Mexico's highest court has ruled that police can obtain search warrants over the telephone from a judge. 
The state Supreme Court said Monday that judges don't have to see in writing the sworn statement from authorities that provides the probable cause for issuing a search warrant. 
The ruling overturned a decision by the state Court of Appeals in a case involving Lester and Carol Boyse of Mesilla, who were sentenced in 2010 to probation for five years after pleading no contest to more than 100 charges of animal cruelty. 
Authorities searched the couple's southern New Mexico property in 2008, and found about 100 cats inside their home, including four dead cats inside a freezer.