Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 23, 2001

Canadian company, Heinz to buy Anchor

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A Canadian frozen food company that produces some major brands sold in the United States has announced a tentative agreement to buy Anchor Food Products Inc., and its Pecos processing facility.

McCain Foods Limited announced yesterday that the company will acquire Anchor Foods in a three-party transaction, a deal that also involved the H.J Heinz Company.

Jeff Richmond, vice president of manufacturing for Anchor, said that the Follett family, who started and built the company, had been seriously looking to sell Appleton, Wisconsin-based Anchor since January of this year.

"The family has really had an interest in selling the business for some time," he said.

Richmond said that the family had some personal reasons for deciding to sell, and the offer from McCain and Heinz came at the right time.

"It was really a private decision for the family," he said.

He said one reason for agreeing to t he McCain and Heinz offer was the family would like to see the company grow.

"They realize in order for the company to really grow they would have to hook up with a larger corporation," he said.

Richmond explained that Anchor has been in business for 30 years and started with the founder, Bob Follett, selling frozen fish to restaurants in Wisconsin.

Since then, Anchor has become a booming business that reached sales of $503 million in 2000. It opened its Pecos plant in 1990, primarily to process onion rings for sale to restaurants across the United States. Since beginning operations in the old Pecos Cantaloupe Co. building, Anchor has expanded its facility several times and is now Reeves County's largest employer, with over 750 workers from Pecos and surrounding cities.

Richmond said that the Follett family believes that the company will continue to grow with the McCain ownership.

"They just wanted to keep seeing it grow," he said.

According to a press release from McCain, the company is the world's largest manufacturer of French fries and an international producer of pizzas, appetizers and other frozen foods.

Richmond said that McCain and Pennsylvania-based Heinz have had a partnership for many years.

He said that McCain produces the food products and Heinz markets those same products to supermarkets all over the U.S., including Ore-Ida French fries.

Richmond said that as of right now, McCain has no plans to change any of Anchor's operations in the plants, located in Pecos and Cuauhtemoc, Mexico or the main production facility and headquarters in Appleton, Wis.

"The plan is to take over the current plans and production," he said.

Richmond said that McCain buying Anchor is a very positive thing.

He said that McCain and Anchor have been competitors for many years and since 1991 Anchor has increased sales by more than tenfold.

Richmond continued that McCain had become impressed with Anchor and believed that its operations would be an asset to the company.

"Anchor being sold is a great thing for the company," he said. "It signifies the great success the company has had."

Richmond said that all three companies are looking forward to the future.

"We look forward to greater things in the future," he said.

According to Richmond, the sale has not been finalized and the sale should close sometime this fall.

Delay gets RCDC sex case charges dismissed

Staff Writer
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A federal court case against two women, who were terminated from their at the Reeves County Detention Center after being accused of having sex with inmates at the facility, was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson on Wednesday.

Furgeson's ruling came following a motion made by the attorneys of the accused to have their charges dismissed without prejudice because of a delay in bringing the case to trial. However, Furgeson said the U.S. Attorney's Office could re-file the charges against both women in the future.

Jay Miller, prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office, told Furgeson that the case was never put on the docket following the arrests of the women in early May.

"Both have been out on bond and we really have a strong case," said Miller.

Miller said that 115 days had passed without approval for a preliminary hearing.

"Basically, nothing has happened and other cases that have occurred at that location have already gone to trial," said Stephen's attorney, Carolyn Thurmond.

She said that Stephens has suffered tremendous emotional pain. "This has been a big strain for her and her family. She has cooperated with the investigation," said Thurmond.

"We ask that you dismiss this case without prejudice, other cases that have occurred there have been tried and this is a violation of due process," she added.

Levario's attorney, Merry Worley, told the judge that it wasn't fair for this case to be treated unfairly. "My client has been having to seek protection from her husband and he has been badgering me about when the case will be resolved," said Worley.

Worley said that Levario can't even live in town anymore and is undergoing counseling. "She is under a tremendous amount of strain and we really need to resolve this matter," she said.

"There was a discussion about other cases at the RCDC that have been brought forth and tried," said Miller, "I think all cases are important, it's not that we don't think this one is not," he said.

Miller told Judge Furgeson that the two had been arrested with the crime based on information filed in the courts and following an investigation.

Complaints were filed in federal court against Levario, of 1517 Katherine St., and Stephens, of 1744 Washington St., in May of this year. Both women were charged with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 2246(2)(A)(B), which makes having sex with an inmate an offense.

According to Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco the investigation was instigated by information gathered by the prison's internal investigations unit.

"We contacted the Inspector General's Office and they finished the investigation," Franco said.

Special Agent Ronald L. Holland of the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General filed affidavits supporting the complaints back in May. The arrests were made following a check of telephone records, which showed RCDC inmate Eddie Bonifacio had an "intimate conversation" with Stephens and also discussed a wire transfer made by Stephens for Bonifacio, the government alleged in its complaint.

The contents of the phone call led to a search of Bonifacio's cell. The search revealed $500 and a partial receipt from a jewelry store. A watch, a necklace and a bracelet were confiscated after the search.

Holland said that the phone call also revealed that Elsa Levario might have knowledge of the crime.

Holland's further investigation revealed that two inmates, Bonifacio and Hugo Bonilla, worked in the food service area and frequently did not finish their tasks by the 7 p.m. deadline when inmates return to their cells.

The two inmates would then stay late to finish and Stephens and Levario would stay to supervise the inmates.

According to the affidavits it was during these times that the women had sex with the inmates.

Holland stated that the women provided sworn statements admitting to the crimes.

Both women were freed on $10,000 bond following their arrests.

At the start of Wednesday's hearing, Furgeson told the attorneys and both women that he would listen to both sides and that the state, through the prosecutor, would handle this case in an efficient manner.

"I know it takes a lot out of the defendant, it takes a toll," said Furgeson. "This case has a unique factor that will put more strain than the straightforward drug case."

Furgeson later ruled that the case motion to dismiss without prejudice would be granted. "The state can always re-file, however," said Furgeson. "If the case is refilled then we would like to move to have expenses paid for counseling for the two defendants."

The judge said that he would approve the counseling in the amount of $2,000-$3,000. "I think this will take the pressure off," he said.

"If it is re-filed, I'll approve the counseling and we will fund the counseling to alleviate the financial burden," said Furgeson.

Amarillo man convicted in pot smuggling case

PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A U.S. District Court jury convicted an Amarillo man last week of a conspiracy to import 124 pounds of marijuana into the United States in September of 2000.

Robin Dwain Malena, 29, was found guilty of the charge following a trial before U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson in Pecos. Sentencing is scheduled for October, and Malena's attorney, Thomas S. Morgan of Midland, has filed a motion to withdraw as defense attorney in the case due to Molina's expressed displeasure with Morgan's handling of the case.

Jurors convicted Malena after Furgeson denied a motion to suppress videotaped statements made by his brother, Terry Malena, to a Department of Public Safety trooper following a traffic stop just north of Presidio on Sept. 8, 2000, along with recordings of phone conversations between both Malena and Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Kevin Cox on Sept. 8, 2000 and Feb. 15, 2001.

According to court records, Terry Malena was stopped by DPS Trooper Steve Brockman on U.S. 67 near Presidio for operating a rental trailer without license tags. Malena told Brockman he worked for his brother's company, West Texas Landscaping, and the trailer was being used to haul his brother's pickup back from Presidio, after it had broken down there.

Malena told the trooper he did not have any drugs with him, but during a traffic stop at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint south of Marfa, agents uncovered the 124 pounds of marijuana.

Football tickets for Eagle games currently on sale

PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- Reserve football season tickets for the Pecos Eagles' five home games for the 2001 season are on sale for new ticket holders at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD business office, at 1302 S. Park St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Season tickets are $25 apiece for all five home games. People wishing to buy tickets who were not season ticket holders last year have from now until the opening game on Friday, Aug. 31, to pick up a full five-game package at the P-B-T business office.

Pre-district home games on the schedule for the 2001 season are Aug. 31 against Kermit, Sept. 7 against Fort Stockton and Sept. 28 against Monahans, which is also the 2001 homecoming game. Starting time for those three games is 8 p.m. Pecos' two home games in District 2-4A play are on Oct. 19 against Fabens and Nov. 9 against San Elizario. Both of those games will be 7:30 p.m. starts at Eagle Stadium.

Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers

PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- Crime Stoppers is asking for the community's help in locating a fugitive from justice on their "Most Wanted" list.

Sandra Hernandez Avila, 41, is wanted in connection with an original charge of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Possible sightings of this fugitive have been in Odessa.

The subject was born Nov. 23, 1959, is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs about 170 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes.

If you know where this subject is hiding it will be worth a "cash reward" of up to $1,000 once the subject is in custody.

Call Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 and you will remain anonymous.


PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- High Wednesday 104. Low this morning 70. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms. Low in the lower 70s. South wind 5 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is less than 20 percent. Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 10 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 70s. Highs in the 90s.

Search Entire Site:

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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise