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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Air Force to release Pecos, Monahans bombing report

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 21, 2002 -- A news conference has been scheduled on Friday by U.S.  Air Force officials at Holloman, AFB, where the results of an  investigation into the dropping of dummy bombs on Pecos, Monahans and  Maljamar, N.M. by an Air Force fighter jet in July will be announced.

The Commander-Directed Investigation has been looking into the mishap for the past four months, and according to a press release sent out this morning by the U.S. Air Force, commander of the 49th Fighter Wing Brig. Gen. (Select) Jim Hunt will announce the findings of the investigation on Friday afternoon at a site at Holloman, AFB, located near Alamogordo, N.M.

The dummy bombs were inadvertently released July 16 of this year off an F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.

The first dummy bomb was recovered after landing through a house in Monahans belonging to Gloria Aker, while the second was recovered after landing in the front yard of a house belonging to Evarista Mora, located at Fifth and Hickory streets in Pecos. The third dummy bomb was recovered on the road curb of U.S. 82 in Maljamar, N.M.

The search for the three dummy bombs began the afternoon of July 16 when the stealth fighter returned to Holloman Air Force Base and found that three dummy bombs were missing. At that point base authorities immediately notified the police and fire departments of Monahans and Pecos and Maljamar, New Mexico.

The Monahans bomb was the first to be discovered, the day of the incident, after it crashed through the roof of Aker's home and into her bathroom. The 25-pound dummy bomb then went through the wall of the bathroom and into a bedroom, before going through the floor and damaging water pipes inside the home.

The bomb that fell outside the Moras' home, four blocks west Pecos City Hall, was recovered by an ordinance crew from Holloman AFB, along with Town of Pecos City employees the following day.

"My daughter called me at work and told me that there were cops here and to get home," Evarista Mora said at the time the bomb was recovered. "I was scared. I just heard the word `bomb'."

Mora said she had not noticed anything wrong with her front yard due to the fact that when she gets home, she parks on the other end of the sidewalk.

"Yesterday afternoon my daughter said that she had heard a big thud at about 3 or 3:30," Mora said. "However, she forgot to tell me when I got home that evening."

No one was injured in any of the three mishaps.

Jets from Holloman AFB use similar training flight paths in West Texas as do B-1 and B-52 bombers operating out of Dyess and Barksdale AFBs in Abilene and Shreveport, La. The flight path crosses West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico and normally runs in a circle around the city of Pecos.

The bomb dummy unit (BDU) 33 is known for its size of 22.9-inches long and four inches in diameter. The blue teardrop-shaped practice munition has a metal, cone-shaped body with a cross-shaped type fin. It accurately simulates the trajectory path of larger and heavier inert training or live bombs.

When placed on the stealth, it is loaded onto a Triple Ejector Racks or Suspension Units and is locked in place by a spring-loaded catch.

If the BDU-33 is released from the aircraft, it fee falls until impact at which point it drives a plunger-type firing pin against the primer of the signal cartridge. The primer then ignites a stabilized red phosphorus that provides the flash and puff of smoke out of the rear of the bomb tube through the fin.

Most military fighter aircrafts use this low cost bomb dummy unit, which costs $13.52 per an assembled unit, for training purposes to simulate trajectories of larger scale bombs.

Though the excavation in Monahans took seven hours, retrieving the dummy bomb in Pecos only took about one hour.

The press release stated that the investigation was ordered by Lt. Gen. William T. Hobbins, 12th Air Force commander, whose headquarters is at Davis-Monthan AFB, near Tucson, Ariz. Col. Mike Newell, vice commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing Beale AFB, CA., was the investigating officer.

Different-looking differential leads to cocaine bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 21, 2002 -- A traffic stop west of Pecos on Wednesday morning resulted in  the arrest of an Arizona man and the seizure of over a pound of  cocaine hidden in the SUV he was driving.

According to Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards, the arrest occurred following the traffic stop, at 9:37 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 20 near mile marker 36, four miles west of Pecos. Interdiction officer Kevin Roberts stopped a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee for a traffic violation, and after a check of the vehicle found an area near the front of the vehicle's underside that looked suspicious.

"The front differential had been all cleaned off, and there were scratches on it," Richard said, while the department's drug-sniffing dog alerted while near the front of the Jeep, though Richards said the dog was unable to pinpoint the exact location.

Roberts was given consent to search the vehicle by the driver, and after the suspected tampering was found, the Jeep was taken to Jim and I's Exxon in Pecos, where the front differential was opened up and 2.5 kilograms of cocaine were found inside. Richards said the cocaine was contained in four bundles and wrapped in black tape, and had an estimated street value of $220,000.

"The driver told Kevin he was going from El Paso to Odessa, and then later he told him he was going to Colorado," Richards said.

The driver was identified as Jesus M. Rodela, 47, of Queen Creek, Ariz. After the cocaine was removed from the Jeep, he was transported to Reeves County Jail, where he was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a first-degree felony.

The Jeep was seized and taken to the task force's office in the 300 block of South Cypress Street, while Rodela remained in jail this morning, awaiting a bond hearing before a justice of the peace this afternoon.

Briskets, turkeys sold for holidays by Rotary Club

PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 21, 2002 -- The Rotary Club of Pecos is offering smoked briskets and smoked turkeys for the Christmas season.

Cost of the turkeys is $30 and the briskets are $34. The sale helps support local projects like the Youth Leadership Program.

Each year, the Rotary Club selects two Pecos youths and pays their expenses to the week-long leadership camp.

The turkeys and briskets will be delivered on Thursday, Dec. 19.

For more information or to place an order contact, Jim Ivy at 445-3306; Don Love at 447-7201 or Trey Miller at 445-9000.


PECOS, Thurs., Nov. 21, 2002 -- High Wed. 68. Low this morning 37. Forecast for tonight: Clear. Lows 35  to 40. Light north winds. Fri.: Mostly sunny. Highs around 70. Light  and variable winds becoming SE 5 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Fri. night: Clear.  Lows in the upper 30s. Sat.: Mostly sunny. Highs around 75. Sun.: Sunny in  the morning: Becoming mostly cloudy and cooler in the afternoon. Lows 35 to  40. Highs around 65.

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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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