The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

Sheriff's Corner

Seasonal burglaries starting early in Placitas

—Signpost staff

Burglars struck three homes in Placitas over a period of several days in October. Sandoval County Sheriff John Paul Trujillo said that he steps up patrols in the area for the winter months, when more burglaries occur, especially around Christmas when criminals are looking for unopened packages for presents or easy sale. Deputies keep an eye on drivers who obviously don't live in the area, particularly construction workers. The sheriff encourages Placitas residents to report suspicious vehicles anytime, day or night. Descriptions of the vehicle and license plate numbers are helpful because burglars often have outstanding warrants. Neighbors should keep an eye on one another's houses.

Trujillo also said most of the burglaries are fairly unsophisticated, usually just a matter of breaking a window and grabbing a few things. Suspects are often tracked down by checking who was recently released from jail. Detectives have determined that one of the Placitas burglaries was probably committed by a local and have identified a suspect.

Seasonal Burglaries ©2003 Rudi Klimpert


Chopper accident kills pilot, power-line inspector

Bill Diven

A helicopter crash that killed the pilot and a Bernalillo man was caused by pilot error, the National Transportation Safety Bureau has determined.

The June 26 accident between Raton and Cimarron killed pilot Greg Jadus of Aero West Helicopters and Mike Dominguez, a Bernalillo resident working for Tri State Generation and Transmission. The two were patrolling power lines when the helicopter crashed in flames.

According to the NTSB, Jadus, an experienced pilot with forty-seven hundred hours in helicopters, was flying close to electric lines so Dominguez could inspect them. The helicopter rotor apparently struck an unpowered support cable, according to the NTSB

Jadus was flying into the early morning sun, which the NTSB cited as a contributing factor.


News from the National Sheriffs’ Institute

Sheriff John Trujillo of the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office has completed participation in the eighty-fifth session of the National Sheriffs’ Institute. He was awarded a degree of completion by Larry Solomon, deputy director, National Institute of Corrections, and sheriff Wayne V. Gay, president of the National Sheriffs’ Association.

The National Sheriffs’ Institute is the only national executive-development program designed specifically for sheriffs. Sheriff Trujillo, along with thirty-two sheriffs from across the country, addressed pressing issues facing all sheriffs, such as numerous ways to respond to emerging and continuing issues in criminal justice and public safety.

Fred G. Wilson, NSI director of training said, “Sheriff Trujillo is a tremendous credit to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office and [represents] all of the sheriffs of our nation well. It is an honor to have him join the over three thousand graduates of the NSI since 1970.”

The National Institute of Corrections, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, has been a longtime sponsor of the NSI, and is the premier national resource for jail operations, design, and programming.


Sandoval County Sheriff Trujillo at site of mysterious hole in Sandoval County

Sandoval County Sheriff Trujillo at site of mysterious hole in Sandoval County

Plywood-lined hole is three feet wide and seventy feet deep.

Plywood-lined hole is three feet wide and seventy feet deep.

Hole in desert puzzles authorities

—Ty Belknap

Several months a hole was discovered off US 550 west of Bernalillo. Not just any hole, mind you. This one is seventy feet deep, three feet square, and expertly lined with plywood. Cross slats would make it possible—with considerable agility-—to descent into the hole by straddling the sides, but at the bottom there is nothing but dirt. Sandoval County sheriff John Paul Trujillo said that his office had received a tip about suspicious activity at the site. A little digging revealed the hole under loose sand and a plywood lid.

Initially, authorities speculated that the hole might have been used to conceal shipments of marijuana and other illegal drugs, so they kept an eye on it, hoping to catch smugglers or dealers. Trujillo said that he notified federal authorities after the war on terrorism started, in the off chance that terrorism might be involved.

The hole defies logic. Since it is located on state lands, Trujillo is trying to get the state police to implode the hole to prevent illegal activity and eliminate it as a safety hazard.


The Signpost asked “Uncle Duffy” for possible explanations of the mysterious hole’s purpose. This is what he wrote:

    Regarding that big hole they found west of Bernalillo, I'm guessing that it is:

  • the undisclosed location or hiding place for Dick Cheney. I believe I heard someone say that there were a lot of "top secret" calls made from that area to Halliburton in Iraq. I believe that the awarding of the no-bid sealed contract for Iraq's oil to Halliburton had a Grants, NM, post office mailing address. Link? Possibly. Or ...
  • the burial ground for the late and great Jimmy Hoffa. Rumors persist that a portion of a body (just the middle finger on the right hand), and a portion of the New Jersey Meadowlands goalposts were recently found in the 505 area code. Maybe not. But maybe it’s ...
  • a repository for spent nuclear fuel from reactors in the entire Southwest. First indication that the spent fuel (and who would spend all that fuel anyway?) was first going to be buried in Tuba City or Ashtabula, but Heather Wilson's pull got the feds to think NM District One. Or perhaps ...
  • a new development ... done without a permit, without a variance, and with a wink to planning and zoning. It will cater to the mole people, who prefer to live underground with concomitant rattlesnakes, lizards, and compassionate conservatives. Or else ...
  • it’s a message from aliens from Mars, who were distressed to discover that they were passing too close to Earth for comfort this summer. They plan to inhabit the hole and send robotic homeless people to roam the streets of Rio Rancho. But really, it’s probably ...
  • a final "home away from home" for all New Mexicans who are arrested for DWI's more than eighty-six times. The first eighty-five times will be considered minor misdemeanors by ABQ judges—resulting in fines in excess of $5.43. But, enough is enough, the eighty-sixth time will find them in "the hole" for up to fifteen hours. Upon discharge, their driving violations will be expunged, and they will be issued a new suit of clothes and a Hummer.


Click here to read more “Uncle Duffy,”




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