The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Sheriff's Corner

Five-year-old Emily Campos accepts a video game from Bernalillo mayor Charles Aguilar

Five-year-old Emily Campos accepts a video game from Bernalillo mayor Charles Aguilar in recognition of her coolheaded response when her mother, Nancy Serrano, collapsed at home with a medical problem. Emily called 911, and according to dispatcher Allison Casaus, was calmer and more helpful than many adults in an emergency situation. Casaus dubbed Emily "Mom's Guardian Angel." Serrano recovered and watched the ceremony, which included a certificate from the town and a round of interviews by Albuquerque television crews. The video game was donated by a local merchant.

 

Clerks cited in liquor-store sting

John Paul Trujillo
Sheriff
Sandoval County

On February 10 the Sandoval County Multi Agency DWI Task Force conducted an underage-drinking enforcement and alcohol-merchant compliance operation in Sandoval County. Sixteen randomly selected merchants out of a total of more than fifty were visited during the four-hour period. At the sixteen licensed businesses, four clerks sold alcohol to minors. Citations were issued to the clerks under Section 66-7B-l, and subsequent citations are pending for the businesses involved.

As sheriff, it is my strong belief that one of the goals of the Multi Agency DWI Task Force is to ensure compliance by alcohol merchants and their employees regarding the sale of alcohol to minors through education, information, and enforcement. Law-enforcement agencies across the state will continue to conduct these types of alcohol-enforcement initiatives to deter the selling of alcohol to minors. Without such a proactive approach to the underage-drinking problem facing us today, the quality of life for all residents in Sandoval County is jeopardized.

 

Former SC assessor quits agency job; sues reporter

The former Sandoval County assessor resigned from her job as director of the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women amid controversy on February 15.

Lorraine Dominguez denied the report by Channel 13 investigative reporter Larry Barker that she had lied on her time sheets and falsified entries in her appointment calendar to cover up absences from work. It is unclear whether her resignation was voluntary.

After the news report, Dominguez filed a criminal complaint against Barker, alleging that during their interview Barker got too close and waved papers in her face. The complaint states that she thought Barker was going to batter her.

Barker’s attorney, Martin Esquivel, told the Albuquerque Journal, “She got caught goofing off on taxpayer money and now is retaliating against Larry for reporting on it.”

Dominguez’s terms as county assessor were marked by controversy over alleged inequities in the determination of property taxes.

 

Gang violence brings death to Bernalillo

On February 20, twenty-five-year-old Ignacia Saenz, a gang member just released from prison, was shot and killed at 1448 Granada in Bernalillo.

Twenty-year-old Terry Rinaldi, a member of a rival gang, admitted shooting Saenz but claimed he acted in self-defense when Saenz approached him with a pistol. Saenz was shot six times in the arms and chest with a Norinco assault rifle and pronounced dead on the scene. A black revolver was found next to his body.

The district attorney ruled the shooting justifiable homicide and released Rinaldi from the Sandoval County Detention Center after reviewing evidence and eye-witness accounts that corroborated Rinaldi’s claim.

On February 22 police responded to a drive-by shooting that appeared to be in retaliation for Saenz death. No one was injured in the incident.

Town Administrator Les Swindle commented, “This kind of activity has no place in our community. We have the opportunity through law enforcement, education, and family influence to keep the institution of gangs to a minimum. We work with schools and encourage families to provide positive activities so kids don’t have to turn to gangs. Law enforcement is taking steps to keep gangs under control with more uniformed and undercover officers.

 

Man exonerated, released after 18 years on death row

On Tuesday, March 30, at 7:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Rio Rancho, Juan Roberto Melendez will speak about his faith journey on Florida's death row. Melendez endured the ultimate nightmare: as an innocent man sentenced to death, he spent almost eighteen years on Florida's death row before his exoneration and release on January 3, 2002.

Don't miss this opportunity to hear Melendez's inspirational story of human resilience, courage, faith, and forgiveness. His story is surprisingly uplifting and he is a treat for the human spirit!

The event is hosted by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the New Mexico Catholic Conference, and St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

For more information, please contact the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty at (505) 986-9536 or nmrepeal@earthlink.net.

 

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