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Monday, March 6, 2000

County offers Brunswick plant abatement

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 6, 2000 - Reeves County Commissioners held a special session this morning in an effort to save over two-dozen jobs scheduled for elimination in the Balmorhea area.

Commissioners met to discuss and take action on tax abatement resolution for Brunswick Roadmaster, a bicycle plant operation located in Balmorhea. Officials with the company had announced the closing of the plant at the beginning of the year and buy their bicycles from China.

"It's caused us great concern in the Balmorhea area, and commissioner (Herman) Tarin has been working with the people from Brunswick in an effort to keep the facility as a business industry," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

The Balmorhea plant serves as the distribution warehouse for bicycles built at the company's Ojinaga, Mex., plant, which employed 700 people. Both facilities are scheduled to close later this year, along with the company's other production operations in North America because Brunswick said it can buy the bicycles in China and ship them to the U.S. for less money than it costs to build in the U.S. and Mexico.

The twin plants have only been in operation for four years, and the Balmorhea warehouse's capacity was doubled in 1998.

Tarin told the group that he had been speaking to Howard Atkinson, vice president of the company, to explore the possibility of any measures that will encourage the continued operations at the facility.

"I told him about our great concern, he was very pleased that I talked to him and I wanted to let him know that the county as a whole is willing to work with them to offer any kind of assistance that will help keep it open," said Tarin.

Tarin stated that Atkinson suggested the county meet as a group and put a package together. "In the meantime, he has people putting a package together and he will speak to the officials in Ojinaga, to see what they can offer," said Tarin.

Over 20 times as many jobs are threatened by the plant's closing in Ojinaga as they are by the shutdown in Balmorhea, meaning any last-minute rescue of the operation probably depends on actions by officials in Mexico.

Tarin explained that the abatement vote for the Brunswick facility was not a done deal, but an invitation to other companies interested in locating a business in the Balmorhea building.

Commissioners approved a resolution to encourage industry, to offer a five-year ad valorem tax abatement for any company that will continue business at the facility and create a minimum of 20 jobs.

"The first step would be to establish an enterprise zone," said county auditor Lynn Owens. "Then hold a public hearing and advertise seven days prior."

"You can have the public hearing, establish the enterprise zone and set the guidelines all in one meeting," said Owens.

"It will give Brunswick the opportunity to offer their customers something, those that will be looking at the building," said Owens.

Tarin stated that he wanted this was to let everyone know that Reeves County is trying to do something about the economy.

"I really appreciate the support of the court, I think it's important that we show everyone we're trying to bring industry into Reeves County," he said.

Herrera pleads guilty to bond scam charges

Staff Writer
PECOS, Mar. 6, 2000 - Pecos bail bondsman Jose T. "Joey" Herrera has entered pleas of guilty in connection with a scheme to falsify death records on drug suspects out on bail in Nashville, Tenn., according to records filed with the Davidson County District Clerk's office.

Herrera pled guilty to four counts of fabricating evidence, and one count of conspiracy to fabricate evidence, along with no contest pleas to one count each of money laundering and conspiracy to launder money. The plea was filed on Friday with the Davidson County Clerk's office, after being accepted by Herrera last Wednesday, according to court records.

Herrera was due to go on trial today before Davidson County District Judge Cheryl Blackburn, after spending the last 11½ months in the Metro Nashville Davidson County Jail. He was arrested a year ago in connection with an alleged scheme to produce phony Mexican death certificates for suspects who had been released on bond from the Davidson County District Court.

A sentencing hearing has been set for May 30 in Judge Blackburn's court, according to the district clerk's office.

Herrera, who owns the Herrera Insurance Company in Pecos along with his bonding business, was charged with three other people in the scam. Two were former employees of Paul's Bonding Co. of Nashville, who allegedly worked with Herrera to produce the death certificates, in order to persuade local court officials to drop drug charges against three men whose releases they had obtained.

Peggy Coleman, 53, former officer manager for Paul's Bonding, was granted a delay in her scheduled Jan. 24 trial because of lung cancer and heart problems that have developed since her arrest in December 1998, according to the Nashville Tennesseean. Records in the Davidson County District Clerk's office show Coleman also has accepted a plea bargain deal in the case.

The other ex-Paul's Bonding Co. employee charged, James Mitchell (Wolf) Ferrell, 40, had been scheduled to stand trial with Coleman. A status hearing on Coleman is still scheduled for March 24, with the other defendant, Gilbert Weibe, was scheduled to go before Judge Blackburn today.

Blackburn set bail on Herrera at $500,000 back on March 30, 1999, following a hearing on the charges, for which Herrera was arrested in Pecos and extradited to Nashville.

Tennessee bail bondsmen were unable to post the large bail, Senior Assistant District Attorney John Zimmerman said following the March 30 hearing. He explained that Tennessee law requires that bondsmen post cash or actual property to secure bail. One local bondsman was prepared to post $250,000 or less, but not $500,000, he said.

Nashville Police Officer Jesse Burchwell, who interviewed Herrera after his March 15, 1999 arrest in Pecos, testified during the bail hearing that Herrera admitted sending three forged death certificates to Tennessee, which resulted in the indictment.

Burchwell also testified that officers found a pad of blank death certificates when they searched Herrera's house.

"The numbers on the blank certificates were in the same sequence as those he sent up here," Zimmermann said.

According to Zimmermann, the case involved three Hispanic drug dealers who fled to Mexico. One was free on $500,000 bail and the other two on $250,000 each, posted by Paul's Bonding of Nashville.

Herrera had arranged for bail in all three cases, telling a Paul's Bonding employee, "When they don't show up, I will send you a death certificate," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said that three of the four criminal court judges had the phony death certificates presented in their courts. Blackburn was the only one who did not, so she was assigned to hear the case.

With the pleas, Herrera could be sentenced from 8-30 years on the money laundering count, 3-15 years on each of the three fabricating evidence counts and 2-12 years for conspiracy to fabricate evidence, Zimmerman said. The attorney was in court this morning, and could not comment on whether or not a lesser sentence will be recommended because of the plea deal.

Early voting total tops 1,000 mark for primary races

PECOS, Mar. 6, 2000 - Early voting by personal appearance for the March 14 primary elections topped the 1,000 mark this past Saturday, and will continue through this coming Saturday at the Reeves County Courthouse.

A total of 1,001 people had voted early through Saturday, according to the Reeves County Clerk's office. Early voting got underway on Feb. 26, and will run through this coming Saturday, March 10. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The total number of mail ballots that have been returned to the county clerk's office was not available at press time.

Contested seats up for election in the Democratic primary on March 14 include those for Reeves County Sheriff, Commissioners in Precincts 1 and 3, the post of Reeves County Attorney. There are no local candidates in the Republican primary, though voters can still cast ballots there in the area, state and national races.

Candidates receiving the majority of votes on March 14 will advance to the November general election. In multiple candidate races, if no one receives 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held in April.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.

The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


Jose Luis Pando, 35, was arrested at 9:58 p.m., on February 22, in the 100 block of South Park Street, on a warrant for assault and a warrant for criminal trespass.


Miguel A. Estrada, 38, was arrested at 10:30 p.m., on February 22, in the 100 block of West Third Street, for driving while intoxicated.


Sherry Ortega, 23, was arrested at 3:21 p.m., on February 23, on a local warrant.


Ruben Villegas, 20, was arrested at 12:14 a.m., on February 24, in the 1900 block of South Eddy Street, on DPS warrants.


Hector M. Rey, 41, was arrested at 10:53 p.m., on February 24, at the Circle `M' Bar, for public intoxication.


Dagoberto O. Rodriguez, 17, was arrested at 11:28 p.m., on February 24, in the 1000 block of East 10th Street, for driving while license suspended.


Uriel Barrera, 24, was arrested at 2:15 a.m., on February 25, at the corner of Eighth and Pecan streets, for public intoxication.


Jesus Villalobos, 29, was arrested at 8:32 a.m., on February 25, in the 400 block of South Park Street, for public intoxication.


Albino Tarango, 42, was arrested at 8:38 p.m., on February 25, in the 800 block of East Second Street, for public intoxication/resisting arrest.


Cirila H. Lira, 57, was arrested at 12:35 a.m., on February 26, at the corner of `A' and Pecan streets, for driving while intoxicated.


Ismael Salcido, 30, was arrested at 2:07 a.m., on February 26, in the 200 block of Mulberry Street, for driving while intoxicated/refusal.


Edwardo Gamboa Garcia, 59, was arrested at 12:34 p.m., on February 26, in the 500 block of South Oak Street, for public intoxication.


Patricia West, 49, was arrested at 4:33 p.m., on February 26, near the Flying J Travel Plaza, for disorderly conduct/resisting arrest.


Jose Castro, 37, was arrested at 2:57 a.m., on February 27, in the 1400 block of Cedar Street, for driving while intoxicated/refusal and failure to identify.


Pedro S. Madrid, 24, and Elisar S. Madrid, 23, were arrested at 6:31 p.m., on February 27, in the 100 block of East `B' Street. Pedro Madrid was charged with driving while intoxicated and no driver's license; Elisar Madrid was charged with public intoxication.


George Florez Gutierrez, 25, was arrested at 7:02 p.m., on February 27, on a warrant out of Dallas County.


Oscar H. Garay, 25, was arrested at 12:20 a.m., on February 28, at the corner of Eddy and Monroe streets, on a warrant for a motion to surrender a principle /deadly conduct.


Glen Fierro, 25, was arrested at 6:32 a.m., on February 28, for criminal trespass/disorderly conduct/peeping tom.


Steve C. Apolinar was arrested at 4:29 p.m., on February 28, at the corner of Eighth and Alamo streets, on DPS warrants out of Ozona. He paid the fines and was released.


Elpidia Garcia, 39, was arrested at 7:55 p.m., on February 28, at the corner of Fourth and Willow streets, for interfering with duties of a police officer.


Rochele Mendoza, 24, was arrested at 8:50 a.m., on February 29, in the 500 block of South Oak Street, for assault under a Class `C' misdemeanor.


Jose Angel Molina, 37, was arrested at 7:35 p.m., on February 29, in the 3000 block of South Cedar Street, on a warrant service.


Joel Jaramillo, 29, Raul D. Gabaldon, 27, and Felix Ortiz Jr., 19, were arrested at 2:01 a.m., on March 2, at the corner of Eighth and Locust streets, for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).


AUSTIN (AP) - No ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Saturday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The ticket would have been worth an estimated $7 million. The numbers drawn Saturday night from a field of 50 were: 7, 9, 39, 40, 48, 49. Wednesday night's drawing will be worth an estimated $9 million.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 0-5-12-26. Number matching four of four in Group One: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Two: 0. Number matching four of four in Group Three: 2. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 375. Prize: $300.


AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 01-10-12-14-29. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 269. Prize: $810.


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-0-1 (zero, zero, one)


AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 7, 1, 2 (seven, one, two)


Manuel Baeza

Manuel Baeza, 80, died Saturday, March 4, 2000, at Reeves County Hospital.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at the VFW Hall on West Second Street.

Mass is scheduled for 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 7, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born June 19, 1919, in Chihuahua, Mexico, was a longtime Pecos resident, retired and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Eva Baeza of Pecos; two sons, Isabel and Noel Baeza of Pecos; three daughters, Guadalupe Baeza of Sherman., Virginia Baeza of Hagerman, N.M. and Anna Baeza of Midland; three brothers, Jesus Baeza of Van Horn, Salomon Baeza of San Antonio, Mexico and Martine Baeza of Atlas, Okla.; one sister, Maria Baeza of Pecos; 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, Mar. 6, 2000 - High Sunday 82. Low this morning 43. Forecast for tonight: Increasing cloudiness with a 20 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low in the mid 50s. South wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday: Mostly cloudy and windy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Cooler with a high in the lower 70s. Southwest wind 15-25 mph and gusty: Becoming west and increasing to 25-35 mph by midday. Tuesday night: Decreasing cloudiness. Low in the lower 40s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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