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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Midland commishes vote to remain with task force

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 28, 2000 - Local law enforcement officials, along with elected officials from Reeves County, traveled to Midland Monday to speak to the Midland County Commissioners Court about continued support of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and Task Force Commander Gary Richards were joined by County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo and commissioners David Castillo and Herman Tarin in their efforts to educate the court on the local task force.

"They had a lot of misconceptions about the task force and we joined together to go over and answer their questions," said task force commander Gary Richards.

Midland commissioners voted 3-1 in favor to remain a part of the Trans Pecos task force, and agreed to put up funds totaling just over $25,000 to be used if needed by the task force at the end of the current fiscal year.

"It was a good turnout, we got a really good response," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

"I think it was a real good meeting," added Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "What we tried to do is describe to them what we started with, what we have done already and what we plan for the future.

"The sheriff answered some questions the commissioners had and stated that there were certain points he would work towards," said Galindo.

He said Gomez told the Midland commissioners there were some items that he would definitely work on, including that he would provide the best possible training for the officers, keep all the commissioners courts updated, do everything he could to make the local match self-sustaining and include very county commissioner as representative in the advisory board to the task force.

"We haven't all participated on the advisory board," said Galindo.

"We're excited that everything worked out with Midland County and that they are still our partners," said Galindo. "I hope our visit helped to explain how the task force works and the importance of it.".

Galindo said Reeves County is 100 percent behind the task force and that the job they are doing is excellent. "We're very proud of our officers, they are the ones out there putting their lives on the line for us, the community," he said.

Gomez stated that the representation made by Reeves County helped to make the relationship between the counties better and strengthen the bond, in their effort to fight the war on drugs.

"We basically all want the same thing, to keep drugs off the streets in our communities," said Gomez.

Other counties and cities which are members of the local drug task force include the Town of Pecos City, Presidio County, Jeff Davis County, Andrews County, City of Andrews, Loving County, Culberson County and Midland County. "We also have working agreements with Winkler and Ward Counties," said Gomez. "They're not in the task force, but they give us permission to wok there."

"They had some questions for us and we answered them honestly and thoroughly," said Richards. "I think they just had a lot of misconceptions and we cleared everything up."

"At this point everyone that is in the task force is very happy with the work we are doing," said Gomez.

According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Commissioner Louisa Valencia, who voted against a similar cooperative agreement last year, cast the dissenting vote, and declined an offer by Galindo to serve on the Task Force's advisory board.

Valencia said that she "gracefully declined" for the "safety of myself and for the safety of my family," explaining that she had been "set up" by the former Permian Basin Drug Task Force as the intended victim of a sting operation several years ago, the Reporter-Telegram said.

The Permian Basin Drug Task Force lost its state funding in 1998, after questions were raised about its operations. Valencia wanted Midland County to join the Odessa-based West Texas Narcotics Task Force, which was formed along with the Trans-Pecos Druk Task Force in late 1998, and covers other Permian Basin counties.

Hull gets award for interdiction efforts

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 28, 2000 - A Pecos officer with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force was honored recently with a statewide award.

Billy Hull was named as Texas Narcotics Control Program-West Region Interdiction Officer of the Year for his outstanding performance of duty and service to the Texas Narcotics Program.

"What they do is the committee for the Western District got together and nominated the most productive officer and they voted, then sent the name on to Austin, to TNCP headquarters and the directors up there vote and then decide who gets it," said Hull.

There are five regions in Texas and the Western Region covers Reeves and the surrounding counties and cities in the Trans-Pecos.

The task force went from being ranked 46th in the state in drug seizures in 1998-99 to being ranked sixth this past year, which is a great accomplishment, according to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.

"We're really proud of Billy and the work he has been doing," said Gomez. "Our main concern is the children in the community and keeping them safe, which is the reason for the task force, to get all those drugs off the streets."

"We did real good for this quarter," said Hull. "It's really nice to get an award from your own peers."

Hull has been involved in many drug interdictions and traffic stops which led to the arrests of drug dealers.

"We've done a lot of drug interdictions and arrests, but we did three major ones," said Hull.

The arrests that led to the largest single drug interdiction in Reeves County was for 205 pounds of marijuana. "The arrests in which we confiscated the most money was for $232,000," said Hull.

"We're very proud of Billy, for his accomplishments and efforts, since he's joined the task force and the seizures he has made have helped us in the state of Texas," said Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

"The work he's done has helped us tremendously in Reeves and Ward County in stopping the flow of drugs coming to this region," said Richards.

The Trans Pecos Drug Task Force was formed in 1998 and covers over a half dozen counties in West Texas. It is headquartered in Pecos and is under the direction Gomez and Richards.

"All the officers have been working really hard, which is what is making this task force one of the best in the region," said Gomez. "We're proud of all of them, especially when they bring home awards like this one."

Girls rewarded for turning in check found outside church

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 28, 2000 - There is a $400 signed check with no name on it lying in the street. Would you try to find the owner or keep it?

Adrianna Lujan and her friend Rhonda Landa, both 10 years old, had no question in their mind.

Both girls were waiting for Adrianna's mother, Kathy Lujan, to come pick them up from church last Wednesday across the street from North Temple Baptist Church when they found the $400 check. Four hundred dollars was written on the top and bottom line making it possible for anyone to cash it.

Rhonda asked not to be interviewed for this story, but Adrianna, whose favorite color is blue and loves pizza and enchiladas, said she told her friend they should give the check to her mother.

The girls picked up the check and held on to it. Once at home Adrianna told her mother about it.

"She came to me and said Rhonda had something I needed to see," Lujan said.

They showed Lujan the check and she contacted the owner of the checking account. Lujan found out that the check was intended for Sonny West from Cattleman's Restraurant. West's mother had sent him the check the day before Adrianna and her friend found it.

West was not aware that his mother had sent him the check and does not know how the check found its way to the north side of Pecos.

"There's no telling how it got over there," West said.

Adrianna, with the help of her mother, was able to return the check to West's wife that evening. The next morning West personally went to Adrianna's house to thank her.

Lujan said her husband, Arturo, and she were very proud of Adrianna for turning in the check.

"God was watching to make sure the right people picked up the check that day," Lujan said. "I told them it was good that they found it and not someone dishonest."

As an award, West gave the girls a $40 gift certificate to Cattlemen's. West said that with all the bad things going on in this world he was very proud of Adrianna.

"I just think she must be an outstanding little girl to do what she did," West said.

Adrianna is a typical fifth grader who is very honest and loves her family and pets, N'Sync (especially Lance) and The Olsen Twins.

Car's tile style attracts onlookers at store

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 28, 2000 - Town & Country employees on Cedar Street received a surprising visit yesterday from an unusual sight.

"Big Al" Bartell of Trinity, a town near Houston, drove into Pecos in his "eye catching" 1971 Buick Centurion.

The employees of Town & Country called the Enterprise in complete amazement over this car that had stopped to fuel up there.

They were amazed because this car is covered side-to-side and top-to-bottom with broken tile and china that Bartell had collected from family members and yard sales.

He has put over 300 hours work in a six-month time span gluing the fragments with 100 percent silicone into many different pictures.

Bartell said he has added about 700 pounds to his car due to the tile. He tries to collect something from each town he stops in to add to his treasured car.

Enterprise employee Lorna Navarette donated a Pecos Enterprise weather thermometer in remembrance of Bartell's stop in Pecos.

He said he is currently being featured in a commercial for La Quinta Inns and is touring car shows nationwide this summer. He came to Texas from a show in Seattle and will be going back north, to Breckenridge, Colo. and Omaha, Neb., next.

Anyone can learn more about Bartell's car and others like it by logging on to, his sight is named VersaTile.


PECOS, June 28, 2000 - High Tuesday 96. Low this morning 72. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 65-70. East wind 10-20 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. A 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. High in the mid 90s. East wind 10-20 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low around 65. Friday: Partly cloudy. Low 65-70. High near 100.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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