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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Wednesday , August 2, 2000

Amtrak route for area delayed, not derailed

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - Amtrak is continuing to negotiate with Union Pacific Railroad to move its Sunset Limited line through Alpine to run through Odessa/Midland and Pecos, though the railroad company said extra expenditures will be needed before passenger service can be moved onto their northern route across Texas.

This move will connect Dallas/Fort Worth to El Paso and will reduce travel time between Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles by 10 hours, according to the Amtrak network growth strategy.

Kevin Johnson, manager of media relations for Amtrak, wants to put a stop to the recent rumors that talks with Union Pacific have been broken off.

Amtrak announce a "wish list" in February of projects in the works. The moving of the Sunset Limited was one item on the "wish list" along with two other projects.

Johnson said the other two projects are ahead of this move on their "to do list". He said when each project is finished then Amtrak will move onto the next project.

According to the network growth strategy, the move is estimated to improve the train's financial performance by $2.9 million.

"The series of changes together will add $65 million to the bottom line," Johnson said.

Union Pacific owns both the line between Fort Worth and Sierra Blanca and the southern route from Houston to Sierra Blanca, following the company's merger with Southern Pacific Railroad three years ago. But Union Pacific's public relations director John Bronley said moving the Sunset Limited north would require adding or extending the sidetracks so trains could pass each other.

"In order to put Amtrak on that route they would have to put money in for capital expenses," he said.

Bronley said the route running through Pecos has an increasing number of freight trains because it is a shorter route than the line through Alpine.

He said before the merger, this line would only have a total of four trains per day and right now there are 11 a day. By 2002, Bronley said there would be approximately 20 freight trains on this line.

Bronley said Amtrak is currently running on many of Union Pacific lines so they're willing to work with them on this line change.

"We got them running over quite a bit of our system," he said.

There are places in the U.S. that Union Pacific does not let Amtrak run through because of the congestion of freight trains, according to Bronley.

"As long as it doesn't interfere with our business we would try to accommodate them," he said.

Johnson said moving the Sunset Limited to run from Dallas/Fort Worth to El Paso would "give more options of travel for many more people."

Johnson also said they are working out the possibilities of adding stops in Odessa/Midland and even Pecos. In February Amtrak said any local stop would be a "flag stop" picking up or discharging passengers only when required.

There is no set time on when this project will begin.

Most of Amtrak's changed announced in February involved increasing service, but the shift of the Sunset Limited would eliminate rail passenger service between Sierra Blanca and San Antonio, including the cities of Alpine, Sanderson and Del Rio.

Aside from that change, which would bring passenger service back to Pecos for the first time since the 1960s, Amtrak announced the Texas Eagle from San Antonio to Chicago would become a daily service, and a San Antonio-to-Mexico route would be added.

Passengers headed east along the new Sunset Limited route would be able to connect with The Texas Eagle in Fort Worth, which would serve Dallas, Tyler, Marshall and Texarkana on it's way to St. Louis and Chicago.

Home going mobile again after 16 year stop

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - Sixteen years ago, Charlie and Becky Perkins moved their home to Pecos from Lubbock. Today they moved it again, this time to Mertzon, 25 miles from San Angelo.

The Perkins', along with their two sons, 15-year-old Trey and 13-year-old Will, are moving to Mertzon for a number of reasons.

"I went to work at the Big Lake gas plant," Charlie Perkins said. "Instead of living in Big Lake, we decided to live in Mertzon because it has a better school district."

While in Pecos, Charlie Perkins worked as a plant foreman in the Koch Midstream-Coyanosa plant and Becky Perkins owned Hilda's Beauty Den.

"I'm doing the same thing, just relocating," Charlie Perkins said.

He said there were not any homes available in Mertzon, so the family bought two and a half acres of land and decided to move their home from Pecos.

Becky Perkins said another reason they decided to move their house is there is no real estate market in Pecos.

"Our real estate agent told us that it would be better if we just picked it up and moved it," she said.

Charlie Perkins said moving their home would also save money.

"We don't have to start over on a 20 year payment," he said.

Last year, while the family was away their home caught on fire and destroyed the inside of the house.

"The house burned last March and we rebuilt," Charlie Perkins said. "The inside is only a year old."

The family is excited about the move and is looking forward to getting started in Mertzon.

"I'm excited about everything," Trey Perkins said. "I don't have any doubts."

The only family member unsure about the move is the youngest son, Will.

"He's probably the most apprehensive of all of us," Becky Perkins said.

She also said the move will be good for the kids but they are not looking forward to leaving friends.

"The only set back is leaving our good friends in Pecos," Becky Perkins said.

She said she has never lived anywhere else, she has live in Pecos for 40 years.

"She's a true home girl," lifelong friend Jan Pattillo said. "I'm sad they are going."

The Perkins' home is traveling to Mertzon, located 185 miles southeast of Pecos, in one piece.

The West Texas House Movers out of San Angelo started taking the Perkins' home to Mertzon at about 8 a.m., this morning.

The two and a half-hour trip to Mertzon will take the home approximately one to two days.

Bond denied on pair in drug ring case

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - Two men were held without bond, two others are being held pending an appeal of their bonds by government attorneys and two women were released on bond by U.S. Magistrate Stewart Platt on Tuesday, in connection with a marijuana smuggling ring broken up last week by U.S. Customs agents and area drug task force personnel.

Bond hearing on a seventh person was held over until Thursday morning, according to records in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Judge Platt ordered Robert Sanchez Galindo, 22, and Adrian Quiroz, 21, held without bond pending trial. The two were among five people arrested last week in connection with a smuggling run Customs officials said were responsible for transporting approximated 2,600 pounds of marijuana from Mexico to Odessa.

Galindo, the alleged ringleader, and Quiroz are both from Odessa, according to court records. Two others, identified as Samar Garcia, 21, and Axel Franco Chavez, both of Presidio, had bonds set by Platt, but remain in jail pending appeal of those bonds by the government.

Garcia was ordered released, pending appeal, after his parents, brother and a teacher posted 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, while Franco's release is also pending appeal, after his parents posted 20 percent of a $20,000 bond, plus an additional surety agreement with the government.

Released after posting 5 percent of a $10,000 bond was Georgia Beltran, 32, of Odessa, and Marisel Galindo Melendez, 27, also of Odessa, whose $10,000 bond was posted by her parents.

All except Chavez were arrested in the roundup last week, while seven other people allegedly involved in the ring had previously been apprehended, Customs agents said.

Held over for hearing was Ruben James Chavez, also of Odessa. His hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday before Judge Platt in Pecos Federal Court.

The investigation began after a car containing drugs was stopped at the Presidio port of entry in July of 1999. The other seven who allegedly were part of the ring were identified as Jose Raul Sanchez, 23; Reggie Olivas, 24; David Nunez, 41; Abagail Marie Springton, 19; Kalina Janet Bloom, 19; Andrew Nunez, 34; and Jena Mae Hicks, 32.

"This investigation is continuing and additional arrests are likely," Customs Service Special Agent in Charge John Kelley said following last week's arrests.

Guilty pleas taken on four in federal court drug cases

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - U.S. Magistrate Stewart Platt accepted guilty pleas on four men on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Fernando Rodriguez, 26, of San Antonio pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, for an incident that occurred on Sept. 14, 1999.

Jeremiah Curtis Romack of Abilene pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute under 50 kilograms of marijuana on April 11, 2000.

Eric Steven Rodriguez entered guilty pleas to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of failure to appear. The cocaine charge stemmed from an incident on Aug. 8, 1998.

Donald Wayne Gallimore pled guilty to one count of possession of marijuana over 50 kg and under 100 kg with intent to distribute, for an incident which occurred on April 10, 2000.

Sentencing on all four defendants is scheduled for Oct. 10, 2000 in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Marfa Sector drug seizures continue to rise, agents say

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - U.S. Border Patrol Agents at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint on Interstate 10 seized over a half-ton of marijuana in a drug bust that occurred last Thursday, while agents in Alpine report seizing over 600 pounds of marijuana in three traffic stops on Sunday and Monday

According to the Border Patrol, the marijuana at Sierra Blanca was found in a truck-trailer and was valued at just under $1 million. Agents said the rig was taken to a secondary inspection point, where a canine alerted to the presence of contraband. Following a search of the trailer over 1,200 pounds of marijuana was discovered in several bundles. Border Patrol officials advised a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who immediately accepted the case.

Two men in the truck were identified as resident aliens from Cuba. They were remanded to the custody of the DEA along with the contraband, tractor-trailer and personal effects of the Cuban nationals.

This past Monday at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint, a 36-year-old man was arrested after agents reportedly uncovered over 27 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $22,000 from the truck of a 1999 Grand Am. A loaded 38 Special was also found in the vehicle's glove compartment, agents said.

Two juveniles traveling with the man who were released to family members who arrived from El Paso shortly after the arrest. The driver, the marijuana, the vehicle and personal property was turned over to the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department pending further investigation.

In the Alpine arrests, the first involved 208 pounds of marijuana worth $166,000 found in a late-model truck driven by a Mexican national on Sunday. Department of Public Safety troopers assisted the Border Patrol with this arrest.

On Monday, Border Patrol agents and a Brewster County sheriff's deputy and K-9 unit discovered 203 lbs of marijuana in a late model van. Two men inside, one from San Jose, Calif., the other from San Angelo, were placed under arrest and read their rights. The DEA was contacted and the two men, the van and the narcotics were turned over immediately.

Also on Monday, another vehicle was stopped and found with 224 pounds of marijuana inside, according to the DEA, and one man was arrested. The estimated value of the contraband was just over $183,000

Loraine Hollenbeck, a key member of the intelligence section with the Marfa Sector and Senior Border Patrol Agent (SPA) has noted that the current marijuana seizures this year in pounds now total over 58,000 lbs with over two months left in the fiscal year. Total value of the seizures was put at nearly $136 million.

"What we are seeing is an increase in drug smuggling in our area as drug traffickers move their contraband along the border seeking areas where the law enforcement presence is not so visible," Hollenbeck said. " Marfa Sector has countered that move through the use of intelligence assets and resources and proactive analysis."

Border Patrol agents also have been making more arrested for illegal alien smuggling in recent weeks, including one in Pecos, in which the driver of a truck allegedly carrying the illegals has been identified as Michael Paul Perry aka Michael Paul Laughbon.

According to records in U.S. District Court in Pecos, Border Patrol agents stationed here rescued nine people who were being smuggled in a cargo truck trailer being driven from El Paso to Dallas by Perry on July 16, after another trucker reportedly saw Perry brining food to the people while at the Flying J Truck Stop.

According to a Border Patrol Agent R.D. Cason, trucker then called the agents, anonymously after seeing the illegals inside Perry's trailer, and after arriving on the scene, agents arrested Perry, who is currently being held for alien smuggling.

The group of aliens included three adult males, five adult females and a three-year-old girl.

The child and females were returned to Mexico voluntarily. The males are being held as material witnesses for charges filed against the driver in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Tarin is lone hopeful to file for district clerk nomination

Staff Writer

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - Only one candidate signed up for consideration for the unexpired term of 143rd District Clerk Juana Jaquez with the Reeves County Democratic Party prior to Monday's deadline.

Pat Tarin, who took over earlier this year after Jaquez resigned her position earlier this year, was the only person to sign up for that position.

Tarin was Jaquez' deputy, a long-time District Clerk and county employee.

County Democratic Party chairman Bobby Dean said because Jaquez resigned in the middle of her current term, the party has the right to select a candidate to be placed on the November general election ballot. He said a candidate could also request consideration for placement on the ballot as a Republican in November.

Tarin's name will be placed on the ballot for the November elections.

Jaquez recommended Tarin for the position at her resignation and going away gathering. Both Reeves County Commissioners Court and Judge Bob Parks, approved Tarin to finish serving Jaquez' unexpired term.

Crockett schedules available on Friday for 7th, 8th graders

PECOS, August 2, 2000 - Crockett Middle School students may pick up their schedules and locker assignments on Friday.

Seventh grade students with their last names beginning with an A through I may pick up their schedules between 8:30-9:30 a.m.; students with last names beginning with J-R, pick up their schedules and locker assignments between 9:30-10:30 and students with last names beginning with S-Z, from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Eighth grade students, last names A-I can pick up their assignments between 1-2 p.m.; J-R, between 2-3 p.m. and students with last names beginning with S-Z can pick up their schedules and locker assignments between 3-4 p.m.


PECOS, August 2, 2000 - High Tuesday 100. Low this morning 64. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Low in the mid 60s. South wind 5-10 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High around 108. Southwest wind 5-15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Friday: Mostly sunny and clear at night. Low in the upper 60s. High 104-109.

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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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