Daily Newspaper and for Reeves County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
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October 30, 1997
U.S. Marshals track down escapee
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - U.S. Marshals tracked an escapee from
the Big Spring federal camp for three years, then flushed him out
of a closet at 506 Bois d'Arc Wednesday with the help of Pecos
Police and Reeves County Sheriff's deputies.
Jesus Velasquez Sandoval, 26, was convicted in Midland federal
court in 1993 of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton sentenced him to 87 months in prison
and recommended the Big Spring Federal Correctional Institute.
On April 24, 1994, Sandoval was working outside the fence at the
camp when he walked away undetected. His absence was discovered at
the 10 p.m. head count, and a search failed to turn up any trace
Billy Johnson, deputy marshal in the Pecos office, said he
received a warrant for Sandoval's arrest on escape charges shortly
thereafter and began an investigation that led to a small town
across the Rio Grande from Candelaria: San Antonio del Bravo.
Keeping in touch with family members in Pecos, Fort Stockton and
Lovington, N.M., as well as informants in Mexico, marshals learned
on Wednesday that Sandoval had left Mexico to visit his ailing
father in Pecos. They set up surveillance at several locations,
with the assistance of police, and that paid off in the afternoon
Police Chief Troy Moore said his department always cooperates with
other law enforcement agencies and appreciates their help when
"That's the name of the game in law enforcement. If you don't work
with others, you are not effective," he said.
Johnson said the arrest is a culmination of about three years
"pretty intense effort" by his office.
Sandoval appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stuart Platt this morning
for a hearing on his removal to Lubbock for prosecution on the
Pizza Pro applies to sell beer
By RICK SMITH
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - One of the owners of Pizza Pro says that
increased competition has led the company to reverse its stand on
not selling beer at the South Eddy Street pizza parlor since
zoning for the area was changed to allow the sale of beer and wine
Despite a company representative telling Pecos Planning and Zoning
Commissioners and the Pecos City Council in public hearings about
the zoning change to C-2 that they were not interested in selling
beer at Pizza Pro, the company has applied for a license to sell
beer and wine to go.
La Tienda Supermarket began selling beer and wine for off-premises
consumption last Thursday, according to store assistant manager
"When the market applied for their license we decided to apply for
ours," said Norley Sirott, part owner of Pizza Pro along with
Norman Harris. "Also they put pizza in their deli."
Sirott said Pizza Pro's application for a license to sell beer and
wine to go was the company's response to La Tienda installing a
new pizza oven and selling pizza. However, Mirelez said he was not
aware of any new pizza oven at La Tienda, nor was he aware of any
plans to install one.
Next week, citizens will have an opportunity to comment on Pizza
Pro's application for a license to sell beer to go. A public
hearing on the matter will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 4 in the office
of Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo in the County Courthouse.
Pecos City Council members approved a change of zoning from C-1 to
C-2, at the recommendation of Pecos Planning and Zoning
Commissioners, for the area known as the Parker Heights Addition
on Aug. 14. A C-2 zoning allows the sale of alcoholic beverages
for both off-premise consumption and on-premise consumption.
However, the council amended the zoning change to allow only sales
of wine and beer for off-premise consumption in the area. That
restriction to the C-2 zoning for Parker Heights was also
recommended by P and Z Commissioners.
The original request for the zoning change was made by W.J.
Investment Company and Harris Properties.
"We want to develop the property," Gary Thomasson told P&Z
commissioners during a July 23 public hearing on the matter.
Thomasson was the sole representative of the parties applying for
the zoning change to attend the public hearing. Thomasson said he
represented Harris Properties.
"We have no interest in beer sales," Thomasson told commissioners
during the public hearing. "We are trying to develop the area
because it has a lot of potential and we have a lot of room,"
Thomasson went on to explain to the P&Z commissioners that Harris
Properties was interested in bringing amusement-type businesses
such as skating, bowling, or laser tag to the Parker Heights
Addition. Other possible businesses Thomasson suggested for the
area included an auto body shop or a tire repair shop.
Thomasson also told commissioners that plans by Harris Properties
to locate a bingo parlor in the Parker Heights Addition have been
abandoned, or at least placed on hold.
"We're trying to build a place where kids can come and be
entertained," he said.
It was unclear as to why the P&Z commissioners allowed the zoning
change for Parker Heights to include the sale of beer to go when
no one present at the public hearing that day was asking for that
option. In fact, three members of the audience claiming to
represent businesses and homeowners in the area opposed allowing
the sale of alcohol of any kind in the area.
"The last time (a C-2 zoning change was considered) people made a
good argument to sale beer for take out," said P&Z Commissioner
Oscar Saenz in the meeting.
P&Z Co-chairman Frank X. Spencer agreed, "I feel just as strong
today as the last time. Businesses should be able to sale beer for
take out in that area."
The previous zoning change request for the area, rejected by the
city council earlier this year, was only for certain sections of
the area. As Johnson pointed out, "This time the change is for the
In May, an application by Harris Properties to operate a
combination bingo hall and arcade game room died for lack of
support by the Pecos Zoning Board of Adjustments.
After an Aug. 14 public hearing on the zoning change, Pecos City
Council members approved the zoning change.
During the city council public hearing Thomasson again stated
that his group had no interest in beer sales. He told the council
that his group is interested in bringing amusement-type businesses
to the Parker Heights Addition and that is why they requested the
Study finds West Texas biodiversity
By DAVID PACE
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) October 30, 1997 - Scientists released a new study
of North America's biological regions today, suggesting the
continent contains some of the world's most ecologically important
and environmentally degraded areas.
The North American Conservation Assessment, produced by the World
Wildlife Fund, found assistance from the Environmental Protection
Agency and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an
independent, multinational agency created as part of the North
American Free Trade Agreement. The fund is conducting similar
studies around the world.
William Eichbaum, the Wildlife Fund's vice president for U.S.
programs, said the focus of the $10 million initiative will be to
marshal public and private resources to reverse the decline of the
biological diversity in the five regions.
"Our investment will be in trying to understand the issue and
developing an action plan to maintain the biological integrity of
the resources in the regions, then working with others to get it
implemented," he said. "There will be a lot of leveraging of
public and private sectors."
Eichbaum said the assessments reflect the new emphasis in
environmental science to study and protect entire ecosystems,
rather than simply focusing on individual endangered species and
pollution hot spots.
"If we act before the crisis, often it's a lot easier to do that
in a way that's not threatening to other social and economic
interests," he said, and they can more easily accommodate
preserving the biological diversity."
Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
Officials pull together to place officer
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - In another example of recent solidarity
between different groups within the area, the city, county and
school district are working together to create a position for a
juvenile law enforcement officer to work directly with young
people in the schools. Each of the entities would be responsible
for funding a portion of the position.
Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez wants the entire county
to be involved, including the Balmorhea school district as well as
the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD.
Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore said that "to be most effective, we
need someone who isn't answerable to the city or the county."
Gomez said that neither the police department nor the sheriff's
department have the money to fund the officer alone, but that
either entity could carry the officer's commission. Gomez also
said that he is willing to help select a qualified candidate.
The sheriff recommended that the juvenile officer should be
someone who can relate to juveniles' problems, can get along with
both parents and teachers, is educated in juvenile law and
students will trust and respect. Gomez said that he doesn't have
any specific person in mind, but that he knows of "a couple of
people who are qualified."
"I have talked to the school system," Gomez said. "We need to have
someone assigned there and not taking calls in the barrio or
"I'm not saying all kids are bad. Most of them are not bad, but
there are drugs in the schools and we're trying to prevent that."
Other officials echoed the sheriff's belief that a juvenile
officer is needed by the schools.
Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez said, "It's all about
prevention. I feel that the time has come to take some preventive
measures. We're after the safety of the kids."
PHS Vice Principal Robert Hernandez is the administrator directly
responsible for student discipline at the high school. He said
that a juvenile officer "is something we've been needing. We want
an officer who is trained in juvenile law.
"If we commission a peace officer for the school, he will have
jurisdiction in Reeves County and Ward County, because we have
students from Barstow," Hernandez said.
Barstow is in far western Ward County, 32 miles west of Monahans,
and has an elementary school that houses first through fifth
grades. Barstow kindergartners, as well as sixth- through
twelfth-graders, are bussed to school in Pecos, about six miles.
Hernandez added that the officer would have jurisdiction both
inside and outside of city limits.
Hernandez said that the officer would deal mainly with issues of
truancy and drug use prevention. "He would also be able to help
with traffic congestion before and after school because he would
be able to issue citations," Hernandez said.
"He would not be a disciplinarian, that will continue to be
administration's job," said Hernandez.
"We're all in agreement. I'm glad to see that we're all in this
together, being proactive in the area of prevention," said
Hernandez said that currently, attendance is a big problem. He
said that he and Rodriguez have been holding conferences with
parents to inform them of state attendance laws, but sometimes
students leave the campus after their parents drop them off.
"There are situations where we must file notices, such as truancy
cases, and he (the juvenile officer) could be commissioned to do
this," said Hernandez. "We don't have the authority to pick them
up (truant students), but a peace officer would."
Also, the schools lose funds from the state when a student isn't
in class, so having an officer to enforce attendance laws would
benefit everyone, including local taxpayers. There is also a state
law that a student must be present 90 percent of the time a class
is offered in order to receive credit for the course, according to
"This is something that we've been looking into for three years. I
think there is more cooperation among the entities, and now
everybody sees a need for it," said Hernandez.
Rodriguez, who also serves on the city council as Mayor Pro-tem,
said that the city has allotted $10,000 to help fund the position
in cooperation with the county and the school district.
"The city is very willing to help with the project if the other
entities are also willing to cooperate," said City Manager Kenneth
Neal. He also said that there is both state and federal grant
money available to fund the position.
Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez said "there is also a
funding source through the Permian Basin Regional Planning
Commission. The surrounding law enforcement agencies regularly
apply for funding and have had success in funding law enforcement
officers in this area."
Alvarez has requested a packet from the planning commission, but
said that would be a source of funding in the future and would not
be immediately available, and that the money would be available
for a limited time, with the amount of funding decreasing each
year. A grant from the commission would be to help the program get
started, then would decrease by 20 percent each year as the
program is taken over by the local institutions, he said.
Alvarez said that many people have told him that they thought
there was already a juvenile officer. He said that there is a
difference between a juvenile officer, who could make arrests, and
the juvenile probation department, which processes cases.
Also, skipping school is no longer legally called truancy, but
"failure to attend school," Alvarez said.
Rodriguez said that there was a juvenile officer at PHS before,
about two years ago, but only the city and schools were
participating at that time. "Getting the county involved this time
will be a good thing," he said.
"I think we really need one (a juvenile officer in the schools),
I'm very strong on that," said Sheriff Gomez.
"I don't think that means that the PHS administration or faculty
aren't doing their jobs," said Gomez. "They can't be everywhere at
all times, and you can't be a very good teacher if you're
constantly having to deal with disruptions."
Gomez said that he has spoken with several teachers who think that
a juvenile officer would be a good deterrent, making it easier to
teach the majority of students.
Also, Gomez said, the officer might serve as a role model to
students, showing them that law enforcement officers are not their
enemies and possibly encouraging some to consider a career in law
Chief Moore said that the past juvenile officer was really a city
policeman who was supervised by the juvenile probation officer
(Alvarez) during the school year and by the police department
during summer, leading him to have some problems about who his
boss really was at certain times.
Moore further stated that he fully supports the effort to get a
full-time juvenile officer in the school system. "We hope they can
get one, and will work with them 100 percent," he said.
"I think the junior highs and the high school would make the most
use of the officer," said Rodriguez, although the officer would be
available to all campuses within his or her jurisdiction.
Early voting ends tomorrow
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - Early voting is coming to an end, but
voters will have a chance to cast their ballots on election day,
Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Voters have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to cast their ballot early.
Fourteen proposed constitutional amendments to the state
constitution are on the ballot.
Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez had stated earlier, that
individuals could get a sample ballot, take it home and study it
before casting their ballots.
She had also been giving out hand-outs' for individuals to learn
more about what the election is about and what exactly is on the
So far, 163 early ballots have been cast.
Nov. 4, polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., at the Reeves
County Civic Center, for Pecos voters.
Out-of-town boxes will be placed in the same locations as in
previous years. Toyah voters will cast their ballots at the Toyah
City Hall; Saragosa voters will go to the Saragosa Multi-Purpose
Center; Balmorhea individuals will vote at the Senior Center; and
people in Orla will vote at the Red Bluff office.
In conjunction with election day, a Chili and Fixin's luncheon
will be held at the West of the Pecos Museum at 120 E. First.
Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and will include
beef chili, tamales, frijoles, cornbread, onion, cheese, crackers,
tortillas, tea and coffee, for $6.75. Dessert will cost $1.
Proceeds will help support the museum and the event is
co-sponsored this year by Texas-New Mexico Power Company.
Cotton crop looks good
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - Everything is coming up cotton.
The cotton harvest for the area is looking to be a good crop this
year, according to local experts on the subject.
Don Kerley at Alamo-Kerley Saw Gin estimated their current bale
count at about 4,500, and said the quality looked very good.
"We're a little ahead of schedule," he said. Cotton harvesting
around Pecos began about the last week of September.
In Coyanosa, where farmers "strip" their cotton, harvesting has
"The weather wasn't cooperating, but we're ready to go now," said
Coyanosa Co-op Gin Manager Gail Fritter. "We're at about 759 bales
ginned," she said, "and it's top of the line."
Cotton harvests around Coyanosa generally begin a little later
than those around Pecos because of a difference in methodology.
"Farmers here use stripers. . .which chomp off the burr along with
the cotton," said Fritter.
As cotton is sent through the gin, it is separated into lint fiber
and trash. The fluffy white fiber is then made into bales which
are sold. The trash (cotton seeds and stalk) is also sold, but as
cattle feed to ranchers and dairy farmers.
The harvest in some areas may continue all the way to Christmas.
McLaren wanted missile to use against Bush
By EDUARDO MONTES
Associated Press Writer
ALPINE, Texas (AP) October 30, 1997- Separatist Richard McLaren
tried to buy anti-tank weapons and a missile for use against
authorities and even discussed shooting down Gov. George W. Bush's
plane, an FBI informant says.
McLaren negotiated with the informant, who was posing as an arms
dealer, before and during his Republic of Texas group's armed
standoff with state troopers, informant Robert Stewart testified
Wednesday at McLaren's organized crime trial.
An increasingly agitated McLaren, who is acting as his own
attorney, denied the allegation and used cross examination to
attack the statements Stewart attributed to him.
"I wasn't saying `Hey, I need this bomb to blow up this building,'
'' McLaren said during one tense exchange. "Did I ever say that to
Responded Stewart: "The facility (discussed as a target) would be
like the plane that the governor was flying in ... That was
McLaren and his chief aide, Robert Otto, are being tried on
charges of engaging in organized criminal activity for allegedly
plotting to kidnap two people who lived near Republic members in
the Davis Mountains Resort, a rural community 175 miles southeast
of El Paso.
The April 27 abduction, carried out by three of McLaren's
followers, sparked the weeklong standoff that ended May 3 when the
group agreed to lay down its weapons.
If convicted, McLaren and Otto could face up to life in prison and
a $10,000 fine.
Stewart's testimony provided a dramatic climax to the trial's
Stewart said he first made contact with McLaren while posing as a
member of the separatist group, which believes Texas is still an
independent nation, at a meeting about 18 months ago at the resort
outside Fort Davis.
The informant wasn't specifically investigating McLaren when they
met but instead was gathering information on anyone "that was
oriented to violence," particularly militia-type groups, Stewart
Eventually, Stewart said, he and McLaren began discussing an arms
Stewart said McLaren sought a Stinger anti-aircraft missile and
also wanted light anti-tank rockets to use against the type of
armored vehicles favored by federal police.
McLaren also wanted M-16 machine guns, he said.
Under questioning by District Attorney Albert Valadez, Stewart
said he believed McLaren was serious about purchasing the weapons.
When the two spoke on the day the standoff started, McLaren tried
to make arrangements for Stewart to bring the weapons into the
group's mountain encampment, according to testimony.
"Just bring it in, 'cause like I said, we may have to get rid of
it for you," McLaren said in a taped telephone conversation played
Stewart testified that his impression of McLaren was that his
motive for forming the Republic was to get money. Group members
have been accused of using bogus money orders to make large
In other testimony Wednesday, prosecutors introduced radio
transmissions they said showed that McLaren gave followers "full
authority to shoot" at police during the siege.
Texas Ranger Sgt. Jess Malone testified he intercepted several
transmissions indicating the armed separatists were taking a
In one case, McLaren was heard telling unidentified group members
via radio that an ambush by authorities was imminent.
"Do not hesitate to unleash firepower," McLaren said, according to
Malone, who was reading from a transcript of the transmissions.
McLaren and Otto, who have been ejected from the courtroom about
two dozen times for interrupting proceedings, took a more active
role in the case as they engaged in spirited cross-examinations.
The defendants have court-appointed attorneys, but have refused to
Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in
the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos
Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other
officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer
for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control
violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be
printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such
instances we will indicate payment and release.
Lawrence Burleson, 406 Mesquite, was arrested at 1:26 a.m. Oct. 23
on a capias warrant.
Eddie Lee Jackson was arrested at 5:17 p.m. Oct. 24 on the 800
block of S. Cypress for public intoxication after officers were
dispatched in reference to him standing in the middle of the road.
Eddie Lee Jackson, 35, was arrested at 7:58 p.m. Oct. 24 at the
Uncle's convenience store, 210 E. 3rd St., for public intoxication.
Daniel Orona, 30, 911 W. 4th St., was arrested at 10:56 a.m. Oct.
25 for assault/family violence.
Dorothy Lewis McGrew, 69, 811 E. 11th St., was arrested at 3:09
p.m. Oct. 26 for assault by threat under the Family Violence Act.
Nahum M. Garcia was arrested at 6:34 p.m. Oct. 28 on the 900 block
of Pinehurst on a traffic offense. He was observed running a stop
sign and when stopped by an officer, he failed to produce proof of
liability insurance and gave a false name to the officer.
Michael Lee Gonzales, 31, 1010 S. Cypress, was arrested at 7:25
p.m. Oct. 28 on three warrants.
On Oct. 28, police were dispatched to the 900 block of S. Cedar
alley. A gas meter in back of the Suavesito Club, a/k/a the
Western Club, had been struck and damaged, even though there were
four-inch pipe guards around it.
Guadalupe Rodriguez, 26, was arrested at 11:04 a.m. Oct. 29 in the
1000 block of Cherry St. on a warrant service of six warrants.
At 9:10 p.m. Oct. 26, a theft of service (gas drive-off) was
reported from the Citgo service station in downtown Balmorhea.
At 9:25 a.m. Oct. 21 the theft of four rim-mounted Dunlap tires
and a stereo was reported. The items were stolen from a residence
that is being demolished in Brogado.
Antonio Rene Contreras, 21, Balmorhea, was arrested at 1:15 a.m.
Oct. 26 for public intoxication.
Oscar Manuel Chavez, 39, Odessa was arrested at 9:10 p.m. Oct. 25
outside Balmorhea for public intoxication.
On Oct. 25, the burglary of a residence on E. 14th St. was
reported. $50 in cash and coins was stolen sometime between 8:30
p.m. Oct. 24 and 11:30 a.m. Oct. 25.
On Oct. 26, Tito Gavaldon, 16, was reported missing by his mother.
He is reported to have been seen last at an aunt's house in Odessa
the morning of Oct. 24.
Manuel Roman, 41, died, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1997, at the Columbia
Lea Regional Hospital in Hobbs, N.M., following a lengthy illness.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 30, at Christ The
King Catholic Church in Balmorhea.
Mass will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Oct. 31, at Christ The King
Catholic Church with Father Antonio Mena officiating. Burial will
be in Balmorhea Cemetery.
Roman was born Nov. 7, 1955, in Fort Stockton. He was an oil field
truck driver, an army veteran and a Catholic.
Survivors include: his wife, Lorina Chavez of Hobbs, N.M.; his
parents, Manuel Roman, Sr. and Guadalupe Roman of Balmorhea; one
stepson, Joe Candia, Jr. of Hobbs, N.M.; two daughters, Brenda
Lopez of Odessa and Nicole Chavez Roman of Hobbs, N.M.; three
brothers, Eddie and Norman Roman of Balmorhea and John Paul Roman
of Las Cruces, N.M.; five sisters, Olga Matta of Odessa, Beatrice
De Los Santos of Hobbs, N.M., Mary Alice Brijalba, Sylvia Roman
and Lori Contreras of Balmorhea; and two grandchildren.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, October 30, 1997 - High Wednesday, 81, low this morning,
45. A southerly flow of air will keep daytime temperatures warm
across Texas tonight and Friday. It will be sunny during the day
and fair at night across all of West Texas. Lows tonight will be
in the 30s and 40s in West Texas. Highs Friday will be in the 70s
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
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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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise