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


Archives 62
Archives 74
Pecos Country History
Archives 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88 |
Archives 95
Archives 96
Archives 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97 |
Archives 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98 |
Parade Photos 98 |

Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Archives 1995


Officials hunt escapees from Crane jail

Staff Writer
Three Fort Stockton teens who were captured last month
following a half-day search through the brush of northern
Crane County are on the loose again, after breaking out of
the Crane County Jail early this morning.

Law enforcement officers around the Permian Basin and
Trans-Pecos region are hunting for the trio, who were
arrested along with a fourth person in Crane County as part
of a stolen car ring and were facing a variety of criminal

Three men were arrested this morning east of Van Horn with
vehicles stolen out of Odessa, but they were not the three
who escaped from the Crane jail today, officials said.

Randy Ubaldo Montoya, 18, Christopher Rey Herrera, 17, and
Eric Herrera Dunn, 17, all of Fort Stockton, were arrested
the morning of Nov. 6 in Crane County, and were being held
in jail on charges of engaging in organized criminal
activity and evading arrest.

The three were apprehended along with Matthew Blanco Mesa,
18, also of Fort Stockton, for allegedly stealing vehicles
from Midland-Odessa car dealers' lots and driving them to
Mexico. The four were chased by Ector County officers after
stealing two pickups, then fled on foot after crashing the
vehicles in Crane County before eventually being apprehended.

At about 4:30 a.m. today, Crane County Sheriff's Department
officials said Montoya, Herrera and Dunn overpowered a Crane
County jailer. The three forced the jailer into a cell and
locked him inside, then left the jail floor and escaped
through a window located in the main floor of the Sheriff's

Once outside the inmates overpowered a white female who was
waiting for her husband to be released from the facility.
Two of the escapees got in the woman's vehicle and forced
her into the back seat.

The escapees then drove north to Odessa while the third
escapee followed in a white 1986 Ford pickup, with a white
headache rack that has louvers.

According to reports, there is also an orange water can
mounted on the drivers side of the vehicle. This vehicle is
displaying a Texas FN3363 license, and belongs to the jailer
who was on duty.

Villalobos alleges bias in probes

Staff Writer
A petition has been filed with the Ward County Clerk's
office in an effort to have Precinct 1 Commissioner Ben
Villalobos removed from office, according to a spokesperson
for that office.

Meanwhile, Villalobos said on Wednesday he plans to remain
in office pending his appeal of the conviction, and alleged
racism in Ward County was behind his prosecution, while
other Anglo county officials have not been fully

Villalobos was sentenced by a jury in Monahans on Nov. 30 to
four years probation and a $5,000 fine after he was found
guilty of using county money to buy auto parts for personal

If the petition for removal of Villalobos from office is
approved for a court trial, the case would be prosecuted in
district court by Ward County Attorney Kevin Acker, the
spokesperson said today.

Villalobos, whose precinct includes Barstow and part of
Monahans, was indicted in September on 12 counts of theft by
a public servant in connection with a scheme in which county
funds were reportedly used to buy auto parts for personal

The same grand jury on Sept. 21 issued a 67-count indictment
against Precinct 1 Road Foreman Paul Valle and Monahans Auto
Parts store employee Larry Joe Lopez was indicted for theft,
while Valle was indicted for theft by a public servant.
Lopez has pled guilty in connection with the charges, and
trial is still pending for Valle.

If Villalobos is removed from office by a District Court
judge, that judge would also be responsible for appointing a
new commissioner.

Shortly after his September indictment, Villalobos said he
was the target of a campaign by Ward County Sheriff Ben
Keele because he was considering challenging the incumbent
in next year's election. Villalobos also questioned
expenditures made on art objects by Ward County Water
District #2 over the past 11 years, and alleged that area
Department of Public Safety troopers had attempted to plant
drugs in vehicles on the Precinct 1 shop lot in Barstow.

DPS officials said the items placed there were part of a
training exercise for the Pecos office's new drug-sniffing
dog, and officers left the yard when asked by Villalobos. An
investigation in being conducted into the expenditures by
the water district following the late September allegations
by the commissioner.

In Wednesday's statement, Villalobos leveled new charges
against Keele and other current and former Ward County

"It has been difficult from the first day I was elected to
serve as Ward County Commissioner," said Villalobos. "Since
my first term, certain people in Ward County have resented
the fact that I, as a Mexican-American, was elected as

"Consistently, throughout my years of service, I have
represented everyone -- white, black and brown -- because I
am not a prejudiced person. However, I have learned and seen
that among us there still exists a mean, prejudiced, ugly
racist few who will do anything to maintain control."

Villalobos said he is not "blaming his problems on others"
but a "racist few and their goons" will do anything to
discredit "anyone who gets in their way."

Special ed students get holiday project

Staff Writer
Special education students at Crockett Middle School are
receiving motivation and stimulation through a
Christmas-themed project, according to teacher Janie Aguilar.

"They have limited skills and the projects we work on are
geared towards helping to motivate them," said Aguilar, a
special education teacher at Crockett.

Their most recent project pertained to Christmas, and
included a fireplace where stockings were hung, a mesquite
tree decorated with ornaments and wreaths the children made

"They were so excited about making the wreaths, they were
anxious to take them home," said Aguilar. "All our
decorations are based on the book, 'The Littlest Angel.'"

The wreaths were decorated with cloths, which were inserted
into a straw wreath and decorated with ornaments made out of

Aguilar, along with her assistant, Rosario Talamantes, are
constantly thinking of projects the children can participate
in and enjoy.

"They're very aware of Christmas right now, we're trying to
reach out to them during this season," said Aguilar.


Task Force jails 10 in latest drug sweep

Staff Writer
A two-month undercover operation by the Permian Basin Drug
Task Force, which led to seven arrests and seizure of over
$140,000 in drugs and alleged drug money two weeks ago,
resulted in 10 more arrests Thursday night.

PBDTF officials, together with Reeves County Sheriff's
Department deputies and Pecos Police officers, served 12
warrants to nine individuals believed to be involved in the
operations of alleged drug dealer Daniel Salcido Dutchover
of Balmorhea.

Dutchover, 46, who was arrested on the night of Nov. 21
after reportedly selling 4 1/2 pounds of marijuana and
almost one pound of cocaine to an undercover PBDTF agent,
was arrested again Thursday afternoon on a warrant for
possession of marijuana.

The second narcotics charge is related to drugs confiscated
by an officer during the search of his home, at Route 1, Box
2B in Balmorhea, on November 21. Agents filed that discovery
as a second offense, leading to Thursday's warrant.

Also seized were three vehicles, a barbeque pit, a trailer
and $1,000 in cash. Hector Brito Pando and Yolanda Gonzalez
Pando, both of Pecos, were also arrested during the raid of
Dutchover's house.

A PBDTF agent served Dutchover with the new warrant at his
residence about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, charging him with
possession of marijuana over four ounces and less than five
pounds, a state jail felony. The warrant was issued by
Reeves County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Joel Madrid.

About 7:30 p.m. Thursday, local entry teams and PBDTF agents
set out to serve the 11 arrest warrants for delivery of a
narcotics substance issued against seven individuals. They
were obtained by the PBDTF Wednesday afternoon by Reeves
County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Amonario Ramon.

Ruben Tercero, 34, was served a warrant for delivery of
heroin at Reeves County Jail, where he was serving time on
an unrelated charge.

Daniel Ortiz, 24, was served a warrant for delivery of
marijuana and charged with possession of marijuana by
officers. With Ortiz, was 21-year-old Rudy Freeman, who was
also charged with possession of marijuana. No warrant was
issued for Freeman.

Jesus Manuel Gomez, 27, was served and charged with delivery
of cocaine. Officers found a small portion of a substance
believed to be cocaine at the time of the arrest and charged
Gomez with possession as well.

Others on whom warrants were served were Gregoria Navarette,
41, for delivery of cocaine; Antonio Montanez, 50, for
delivery of heroin; Efrain Rodriguez, 32, for delivery of
cocaine; Raul Pando, 29, for delivery of cocaine and Benito
Salcido, 55, for three counts of delivery of cocaine.

All were being detained at RCJ and undergoing arraignment
just before noon. Bonds had not been set as of press time.

The Pandos also remain at the county facility on bonds of
over $100,000 each, after an attempt Dec. 1 by their
attorney, Tony Chavez, to lower them to an affordable amount
was rejected by 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks.

Dutchover was released that same day on a $50,000 bond,
under strict probation guidelines stressed by 143rd District
Attorney John Stickels, after it was lowered by $375,000 by
Parks. The bond was met by his uncle, Manuel Salcido, owner
of Salcido Sand and Gravel, and brother Benito Salcido.

The Pandos residence at 2301 Sandia Road was searched first
the morning of Nov. 22, and then again during the execution
of a second search warrant on Nov. 29. Officers seized a
Ford Bronco blazer believed to be a transport unit for
narcotics deliveries after marijuana seeds were found in a
zipper compartment located in the back seat and $990 in cash.

At the writ of habeas corpus hearing Dec. 1 at the Ward
County Courthouse, narcotics investigator Clay McKinney
testified per his opinion based on lengthy investigations of
the Pandos and Dutchover is that Dutchover is "involved (in
drug trafficking) to a large degree" and the Pandos are
"major drug traffickers."

Also arrested during the Nov. 21 search warrant execution at
the Dutchover residence were his son, Joseph Daniel
Dutchover, 21, of Balmorhea; Martin Hernandez Garcia, 24,
and Jaime Tarango, 24. All were charged with criminal
conspiracy with intent to deliver cocaine and freed the
following day on $25,000 bond each.

Officials pick up escapees at mall

Staff Writer
Three Fort Stockton teenagers who escaped from the Crane
County Jail will be facing six additional charges since
being captured Thursday evening near the Permian Mall in

"The three were arrested last night about 8 p.m.," said
Crane County Sheriff Tommy Jones of the youths, who had been
in the jail for a month prior to their escape.

"The three are back upstairs, they've come home, which they
aren't too happy about," said Jones.

The trio were first arrested, along with a fourth person, in
northern Crane County as members of a stolen car ring and
were facing a variety of criminal charges.

Randy Ubaldo Montoya, 18, Christopher Rey Herrera, 17, and
Eric Herrera Dunn, 17, all of Fort Stockton, were arrested
the morning of Nov. 6 and were being held in jail on charges
of engaging in organized criminal activity and evading

The three were apprehended, along with Matthew Blanco Mesa,
18, also of Fort Stockton, for allegedly stealing vehicles
from Midland-Odessa car dealers' lots and driving them to
Mexico. The four were chased by Ector County officers after
stealing two pickups from Sewell Ford, and fled on foot
after crashing the vehicles in Crane County before
eventually being apprehended.

About 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Montoya, Herrera and Dunn escaped
from the Crane County Jail after overpowering a jailer.

Wal-Mart wins suit over death

Staff Writer
Federal court jurors on Thursday found that Wal-Mart
employees did not refuse to allow a bystander to administer
CPR to a dying man in the Pecos store two years ago and that
Perry Williams' death was not caused by their negligence.

Williams children, Perry Williams Jr. and Virginia
Pendleton, had sued Wal-Mart, claiming that when their
70-year-old father collapsed on Nov. 9, 1993, Pamela Machuca
Dominguez offered to attempt resuscitation.

Dominguez testified that she was certified in CPR and
offered to help. However, several Wal-Mart employees
testified they did not see Dominguez at the scene and they
did not prevent her from helping.

Williams had a history of heart disease and died of
ventricular fibrillation, a disruption of electrical
impulses that make the heart beat.

Sparks Veasey, a Lubbock pathologist, testified that a
person experiencing the problems Williams had when he
collapsed would almost surely die without immediate help. He
said CPR may have helped if administered within the first
few minutes of the collapse, but without an autopsy, it
would be impossible to determine for sure.

Emergency Medical Technician Richard Thorp testified he
arrived at Wal-Mart between two and three minutes after the
911 call. When Pecos Ambulance Service chief Susan Starck
arrived two minutes later, she administered CPR.

Doctors at Reeves County Hospital worked with Williams for
40 minutes before pronouncing them dead.

Abner Burnett of Odessa represented the plaintiffs, and
Richard Bonner of El Paso defended Wal-Mart before U.S.
Magistrate Louis Guirola Jr.

Guirola issued an order following the verdict that the
plaintiffs receive no award from their lawsuit.

The civil trial was the first in the new federal courthouse,
which opened on Monday.

Senior Judge Lucius Bunton has three civil trials on the
docket for next week, including Bubba Doyle vs. Ward County
et al; Ayala et al vs. Andy Gomez and Reeves County; and
LULAC vs. Fort Davis ISD.

Ysleta del Sur Pueblo vs. State of Texas, a suit dealing
with the Tigua Indian tribe's effort to open a casino on
their El Paso County reservation, was continued.

County changes auditors over PIF loans

Staff Writer
An independent auditor's contract for fiscal year 1996 was
awarded to Card and Company, following a lengthy discussion
during this morning's regular meeting of the Reeves County
Commissioner's Court.

The court received proposals from four different companies,
three of whom had experience in governmental accounting.

Becky Espino, a representative of Card and Company, was on
hand at this morning's meeting to speak on behalf of her

"We have a number of years of experience in governmental
accounting," said Espino. "We do have an office here in
Pecos and Mr. Card himself has stated he is willing to come
to Pecos as often as is necessary."

Espino was a county auditor for three years and has about
nine years experience in governmental accounting. She will
be handling the Reeves County account.

In regard to the revolving loan funds, which have been an
issue of contention between the court and the county's
previous independent auditor, Dan Painter, County Judge
Jimmy Galindo asked Espino if auditing these revolving loan
funds would be a problem.

"No, sir. Not if it is part of county money that will be
looked at," Espino replied.

The money is related to loans issued by the Pecos Industrial
Foundation. Three of the loans have since gone into default,
and legal action is still pending in two of the cases.

Precinct 2 Commissioner W.J. Bang voted against the decision
to hire the new independent county auditor.

"I'm not completely convinced yet that the former auditor
hasn't been doing a good job," said Bang. "I feel like we
haven't given him a fair chance."

Galindo responded, " I don't think there is anything wrong
with the previous auditor, but we asked him to do certain
things and up until now we haven't received any reports from
him. If it's money that belongs to the county, it should be
part of the audit."

Galindo also stated that the problem was part of internal

Painter had stated during a previous commissioners' court
meeting that he did not know he was supposed to have audited
revolving door funds.

Another loan problem Galindo cited was the telephone inmate
service that the county has been using.

"We didn't have any records on that. We didn't know if the
county was getting their fair share or not," said Galindo.
"It (the phone service) was in the contract and is a very
significant aspect of an independent auditor's scope of

"I think it was just not clear to him," said Bang in
defending Painter. "My thinking is that if there was some
deficiency in his performance why it can't be corrected."

Bang added that Painter had agreed to audit the revolving
loan funds after he had been told it was part of county

"It was a failure of communication with the previous auditor
and I feel we just haven't given him a fair chance," said

"We asked for audits of these four months ago and we didn't
get it," said Galindo.

"If he wanted to continue to do the independent auditing he
should have submitted a proposal and he's not even here,"
said Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin.

"I think all county money should be audited and to make
excuses for not doing it is unacceptable," said Galindo.

The judge stated that the issue of the revolving loan funds
was brought up long ago and that the contract clearly states
that all state and federal money should be audited.

"I tried to get some of these things done months ago," said
Galindo, "and didn't get the results we anticipated."

In other action this morning, engineering services contract
for Texas Community Development Project was awarded to Frank
Spencer and Associates.

The only other proposal was from a firm in Austin.

Spencer said the project involves sewer improvements.

Spencer provided the court with maps of the designated
locations targeted for improvement.

"There's 90 septic tank sites all over Reeves County which
will be improved upon," said Spencer.

He added that he would like to proceed with this project as
soon as possible, and that County Health Officer Armando Gil
will be doing the inspections and he would put out bids for
the materials. "Our firm is capable of handling this job for
you and propose to do a good job," he said.

Bunton hears first cases in new U.S. courthouse

Staff Writer
Senior Judge Lucius Deshae Bunton III opened his first
docket call in the new federal courthouse this morning with
his customary humor but with a touch of emotion in his voice.

Apologizing for being a few minutes late for the 9 a.m.
docket call, Judge Bunton said, "It is so pretty in my
chambers, it took my breath away. I was afraid I would come
in here and couldn't say anything."

Before court, he was right at home in his new chambers as he
looked for a place to hang an 1890 photograph of his
grandfather, Lucius Deshae Bunton, at work on the Bunton
ranch near Marfa.

"We have waited a long time for this occasion," he told a
large audience of civil litigants, criminal defendants,
attorneys and witnesses involved in four civil trials, three
guilty pleas to criminal charges, two probation violation
hearings and three sentencings.

"We are happy that the government saw fit to build this fine
courthouse in this wonderful city," he said. "We welcome you
to docket call."

As Kathy Long read the docket, attorneys responded for their
clients and Jan Bonner answered for the government on
criminal cases.

The first civil case on the docket was a $60 million damage
suit styled Bubba Doyle vs. Ward County and Clay McKinney.

Doyle's attorney, John Osborne of Houston, said he expected
the trial to last three days.

"Are you a betting man?" asked Judge Bunton, who is infamous
for his "rocket docket."

"I don't think it is going to take us three days. God hasn't
given me that much time on earth. I can't have several
three-days trials this week," he said.

Richard Bonner, representing Ward County, said he won't need
three days. "We don't anticipate lingering," he said.

Jury selection in that case began at 10 a.m., with two
others to follow if all the jurors showed up. Deputy
District Clerk Karen White said at 9:30 a.m. that only 33
had arrived, since they were all new to jury service and had
trouble finding the courthouse.

John Stickels announced "not ready" for trial in Ayala etal
vs. Gomez etal, a suit filed by four former inmates of the
Reeves County Detention Center.

The inmates allege they were beaten by jailers in the
downtown jail following the "Menudo Riot" in the LEC
recreation yard on May 17, 1993. Leaders in that riot were
transferred to the downtown jail the next day for added
Tony Nelson represents Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez and his
chief deputy Fred Lujan.

Bob Bass represents Reeves County.

"This is the first time I have ever done this," Stickels
said, explaining that he had been unable to obtain
depositions from two of the plaintiffs. And, since Guerra
was only served with a copy of the petition on Nov. 19,
Stickels said he has not had sufficient time to adequately
prepare for trial.

Judge Bunton refused to sever or continue the trial. He said
the plaintiffs were present and Stickels could take their
depositions today.

"I have one small problem," Stickels said. "I am subpoenaed
on the Doyle case."

"We won't make you take depositions while you are
testifying," Bunton said.
Attorneys estimated the trial would take three days, "full
size," but Bunton said that might be a problem with four
jury trials in one week, plus a bench trial.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, 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 1998 by Pecos Enterprise