Most Blue Buses operating after bogus bomb threat

December 14, 2018

TAOS — Bomb threats made to the North Central Regional Transit District halted Blue Bus traffic late Thursday morning throughout Northern New Mexico and led authorities to cancel two routes for the day.

The threats, which authorities determined were not credible, appeared to be part of a nationwide wave of bomb threats that have been either emailed or phoned in to various locations throughout the country, according to a report from the New Mexico All Source Intelligence Center.

“We are currently monitoring a countrywide email-style bomb threat being sent to government and private sector businesses and residences,” the state intelligence center report said, adding that the sender was demanding Bitcoin payments.

Jim Nagle, a spokesman for the regional transit district, said an unidentified man had called the transit district’s dispatch center around 11 a.m. Thursday to report that a bomb would detonate at 11:20 a.m. on either the No. 200 Santa Fe bus, the No. 300 in bus or No. 400 in Los Alamos.

While no explosion occurred, the buses were evacuated and law enforcement investigated the incidents, determining none of the threats were credible.

Still, Nagle said, the 200 Santa Fe and 300 Taos midday buses were canceled for the day.

As of 12:15 p.m., buses were back in service, except for three, said Anthony Mortillaro, executive director of the North Central Regional Transit District, which operates the regional Blue Buses in an area that ranges from just south of Santa Fe to Taos.

In addition to the bus in Taos, two others that remained out of service were near casinos in the Pojoaque area. One was near Buffalo Thunder and the other outside Cities of Gold, Mortillaro said.

“Law enforcement bomb squads are looking at those buses at this time,” he said.

A source contacted The New Mexican, saying the Cities of Gold Casino had been evacuated Thursday afternoon. The casino staff could not immediately be reached for comment.

The bus that received the threat in Ranchos de Taos was parked at the post office in the community, authorities said. They closed N.M. 68 at the intersection of N.M. 518 so Taos County sheriff’s officials and New Mexico State Police could investigate the incident.

Law enforcement officials are still looking for the person who made the threat, a crime that can be charged as a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico.

State police have taken charge of the ongoing investigations in New Mexico.

The FBI office in Albuquerque has been contacted for comment regarding threats that have allegedly been made in other parts of the country.

The New Mexican contributed to this report.

Update hourly