Newscity: Art Opponents Call For Halt, Firearm Theft Rises And Meth-Related Overdoses Increase

Art Opponents Call For Halt

Joshua Lee
3 min read
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Complaints against the city have been filed by attorneys representing opponents of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project (ART) in response to the relocation of water lines on Central and Coors. The Water Authority began moving water lines last week in preparation for future ART construction. The complaint against the city, filed by lawyer John McCall, is calling for an immediate halt to all construction at the site, which ART opponents say constitutes an early start for the project. The city had promised to hold off on any action until July. The Water Authority denies that the work being done is a part of ART, claiming current construction is preparatory work, as distinguishable from the transit project itself, and must be done now to keep from putting the actual project behind schedule. McCall believes it’s an attempt to move the project forward ahead of schedule without properly notifying residents. The mayor’s office doesn’t expect any interruptions, since construction below street-level isn’t technically part of the ART project. Plans to begin work on the transit system in July are still in place.

Firearm Theft Rises

Albuquerque police say crime statistics have not only inflated—ranging from 808 burglaries, robberies and auto thefts in February to 868 in April—but a significant increase in stolen firearms has been noted. This has some officers worried, especially since APD has also tracked a jump in nonviolent offenders arming themselves. The issue was highlighted last week when Shane Garcia, a repeat property crime offender, was charged with aggravated burglary and larceny over $20,000 after he allegedly broke into a home while carrying a handgun and posing as a police officer serving a warrant. Though a known burglar, Garcia has no violent offenses on his record, making his use of a firearm alarming. APD says this is a trend and is warning everyone of an increase in armed criminals. Considering the state’s high rate of auto theft, they are also reminding citizens never to leave guns in their cars, whether they’re locked or not. Weapons left in vehicles become desirable targets to thieves.

Meth-Related Overdoses Increasing In N.m.

The Albuquerque Journal reported a large increase of amphetamine-related overdoses in New Mexico since 2008. While heroin and prescription opioids make up the majority of the state’s overdose rates, visits to the emergency room involving methamphetamine and amphetamine—both powerful stimulants—have nearly tripled in the last four years. Worldwide use of meth and prescription amphetamine has quadrupled during the same period. The DEA claims nearly 90 percent of the nation’s meth supply comes from drug cartel “super labs” operating out of Mexico. Smaller, at-home operations within the country’s borders have decreased, thanks largely to limited access to ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, but the vacuum left in the market has allowed larger and more sophisticated producers of the drug to gain a foothold in the industry. As a result, users are now exposed to more pure, potent and addictive versions of the drug than ever before. Blood tests of amphetamine overdose victims have shown that many abusers also use heroin and other opioids, suggesting a link between the drugs.
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