Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, January 14, 1999
City Council briefed on 1998 drug arrests
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Felony convictions of the 43 defendants arrested during 1998 by the
local drug task force ran about 90 percent, narcotics investigator Paul
Deishler told the Pecos City Council this morning.
The task force, made up of investigators from the Pecos Police Department
and Reeves County Sheriff's Office, executed 42 search warrants and made
one undercover buy to score 15 heroin arrests, 14 for cocaine, 17 for marijuana
and five for drug paraphernalia.
Property and currency seized totaled $15,498, including the Bill Bechtel
Another eight misdemeanor drug cases were filed by the team, for a total
of 51 for the year, Deishler said.
Police Chief Clay McKinney said the team began work in January, 1993
and has recorded 264 arrests in the six years of operation.
"When you work drugs, you may be working 8 percent of the crime in our
community," he said, noting that burglaries and thefts often are drug related.
"We try to work it as hard as we can."
McKinney said that none of the success can be achieved without team
efforts. "It starts with you to allow us the money," he told the council.
Deishler said the number of arrests exceeds those in many other communities,
noting that the Ector County Sheriff's Office made only three drug arrests
The city's share of forfeited funds amounted to over $5,000 last year,
Teaming with federal officers, the task force hopes to make cases against
some big dealers, Deishler said.
"Another concern I have is a lot of dope showing up at the high school.
I don't know how to get to the high school people. They have their own
Dealers that hang out on street corners and park near the school when
classes dismiss for the day may be supplying the students, he said.
Heroin dealers are hard to catch because they hold drug-filled balloons
in their mouth and swallow it when an officer approaches, Deishler said.
One woman arrested recently was given a substance that forced her to vomit
the balloon, he said.
He said anti-drug programs in the schools have no effect at the junior
high and high school level, but might work in primary grades. No such programs
are in effect at present.
Speaking on behalf of the Police Explorers group, Deishler asked council
members to attend their law enforcement basketball tournament this weekend
in the Pecos High School gym. Proceeds will be used to buy equipment and
uniforms, he said.
Explorers direct traffic on the parking lot at rodeo time and help with
festivals and other events, he said.
"They are good kids; they want something to do."
City Manager Kenneth Neal reported that 25 cellular telephones are in
use, and that the city can save $2,600 by using Cellular One's pooled minute
plan, with Plateau's network as a backup. Presently, each phone has a 100-minute
per month call plan, but some employees us only a fraction of that, Neal
The council approved the plan after questioning whether all the phones
are really necessary.
Neal said he likes for key employees to be accessible at any time in
case of emergency.
Water department employees who are on call especially need a cellular
phone, said finance officer Steve McCormick.
Wednesday's drop in water pressure at the Reeves County Detention Center
is one of the emergencies the water department has to address. Utilities
director Octavio Garcia said he and other staff worked throughout the night
trying to restore pressure after it dropped about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Garcia said the six-inch line connecting the RCDC's 12-inch line is
not big enough for the expanding prison, and the county may step up construction
of a new line and loop to address the problem.
Air gets into the 12-inch line that dead-ends at the prison when water
is vacuumed through a four-inch line at Winkles Trucking Co.'s water rack
that services the oilfield, Garcia said.
That line is used frequently for bulk water hauling because the city
closes its rack at the warehouse after 5 p.m. to save payroll costs, Garcia
Near-riot conditions existed at the prison today because of the lack
of water, said Councilman Johnny Terrazas, who worked alongside city employees
early this morning.
However, Garcia said later that pressure was restored by cutting off
the building, then gradually re-opening the valve.
Only one firm out of three grant-writer applicants responded to the
city's offer of a contract, said Neal. The council put the matter on the
next agenda to consider hiring a grant writer or to share one with the
hospital district and/or county.
Ambulance service gets OK on billings
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Pecos Ambulance Service has hired a bookkeeper and purchased software
to bill Medicare, Chief Bill Cole reported to the Pecos City Council this
Mayor Dot Stafford said the council and Reeves County Hospital CEO Charles
Butts and CFO Richard Mathis agreed to allow the ambulance service to continue
billing and collecting for their calls.
The council had worked out an agreement with the hospital staff to begin
collecting ambulance fees because collections over the past few years have
not been adequate.
Cole and about 10 PAS members attended this morning's meeting to discuss
the problem in closed session.
Stafford said after the meeting that a task force has been formed within
the department to work on collections, and Jo Ann Dawdy has been hired
to do the billing.
Cole agreed that a PAS member will attend council meetings in the future
to answer any questions the council has.
In two additional executive sessions, the council evaluated the city
secretary, utilities director and health department director, then granted
their budgeted raises of 1 1/2 percent.
Stafford said the council will evaluate each department head at six-month
intervals and either grant or deny the budgeted increase, based on performance.
No action was taken after discussion of the position of shop foreman,
held by Doug Cox.
Cox said he will take disability retirement at the end of this month,
Inmates hot over lack of water
By ROSIE FLORES
Water pressure at the Reeves County Detention Center returned this morning,
to the delight of the inmates.
Warden Rudy Franco stated that the Reeves County Detention Center activated
its Emergency Response Plan at 3:30 a.m. this morning as a precautionary
Inmates from one unit became frustrated and broke out several light
fixtures, according to Franco.
Frustration was traced to low water pressure in the institution since
about 5 p.m. the previous evening.
"Measures were taken to provide the inmates with the proper sanitary
and drinking water facilities," said Franco.
Water pressure increased and the RCDC's water supply returned to normal
at about 10 a.m. today, according to the warden.
PHS senior accepted to Harvard
By ROSIE FLORES
A Pecos High School student has achieved a lifelong dream, after she
received news that she had been accepted into an Ivy League school.
Alva Alvarez, a senior at Pecos High School, was notified recently that
she had been accepted into Harvard under the early action program.
"I was so excited to hear that I had been accepted, it was something
I have always dreamed of," said Alvarez.
The early action program is a process in which exceptional students
are submitted prior to the selection of the remainder of the class.
"I am really excited about being accepted into Harvard and I hope I
will have the chance to go to school there if my family and I can find
a way to pay for it," said Alvarez. "It will cost about $33,000 per year
for me to go, so I will have to find some way to help pay for my tuition,
room and board."
Alvarez has been busy throughout her high school years. She was an ANGEL,
(an elementary school mentoring program); a member of the National Honor
Society, which she is the president this year; the Gifted and Talented
Program; Latin Club, Mu Alpha Theta; debate team; Junior Engineering Technical
Society third place Team State Winner in 1998; National Hispanic Recognition
Program Scholar and the Student Council, serving as vice-president her
Alvarez is also a member of the Pecos Youth Advisory Commission and
a member of St. Catherine's Catholic Church and Youth group. She also has
been a member of the Pecos Eagles' varsity golf team the past four years,
earning all-district honors and a regional berth in 1998 by placing fourth
in the District 4-4A Tournament.
She is the daughter of Alvaro G. and Luz Alvarez of Pecos and has one
sister, Jenny, a sophomore at Pecos High School.
Alvarez stated that she believes in giving her all, 100 percent.
"I've always believed that in everything you do, you should give everything
of yourself and that's what I plan to do," said Alvarez, who plans to enter
law school after graduation from college.
Jury gives woman no salvation for story
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Stephanie Ann Carrasco's account of a trip to Mexico in November to
celebrate All Soul's Day at the grave of her husband's grandmother made
a federal court jury think twice Wednesday before convicting her of importing
and possessing marijuana.
The 32-year-old Amarillo resident said she went to Mexico at the request
of her estranged husband to visit his family near Ojinaga and to go to
his grandmother's grave on Nov. 2.
Taking their 3-year-old daughter, "so she could know her grandparents,"
Carrasco drove to Ojinaga on Nov. 1 and stayed overnight in a hotel. The
next day, she contacted his relatives, and a man named Sergio came over
and told her to follow him to the ranch where her husband had grown up.
Leaving her Blazer for Sergio to use, Carrasco went to the gravesite
on the ranch with her in-laws and spent the day. At dark, they returned
to the ranch house, where Sergio directed her to a "shorter" route home
via a low-water crossing over the Rio Grande near El Mulato, downstream
Traveling north on Texas Highway 118, Carrasco was stopped for an immigration
check at a Border Patrol checkpoint 13 miles south of Alpine.
There officers found bundles of marijuana inside the back seat, which
had been cut open, and near the tailgate. The gross weight was 91.84 pounds.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Brigman prosecuted for the government,
and Eva Marie Leahy represented Carrasco.
Jurors deliberated for almost three hours before returning a guilty
verdict on both counts just before 7 p.m.
In an unrelated trial that began this morning, Emma Torres-Sandoval,
35, of Carlsbad, N.M. is accused of possessing 143.8 pounds of marijuana
on Nov. 8, 1998. Her attorney is public defender Kurt Mayer.
Poison murder story airing Saturday
Former Enterprise publisher Mac McKinnon has gained some fame with his
non-fiction book, "Poison for Profit."
"The New Detectives" series on the Discovery Channel (Cable Ch. 31 in
Pecos) will air a piece on forensic sciences this Saturday that includes
information from the book. The show first was broadcast Jan. 1 and will
air on Saturday at 10 p.m. CST.
In the book, McKinnon writes about a murder trial he covered in San
Angelo as a young reporter, detailing the lives of numerous people involved
with both the victim and the accused murderer.
Classic planning for changes, rate hike
By PEGGY MCcRACKEN
Ben Hernandez, operations manager for Classic Cable, told the Pecos
City Council this morning that some changes will be made in the system
over the coming months to improve service.
"Additional technology has become available, and we want to put it into
place in Pecos," Hernandez said. "And the preview guide will be updated
to show all channels."
"Will this affect our rates?" asked councilman Ricky Herrera.
Hernandez said the driving force behind rates is not technology, but
operating costs such insurance rates for employees, maintaining vehicles.
"Yes, channel additions do have some impact, but it doesn't coincide
with rate increases," he said. "We are looking at some rate increases for
this year. The council should be getting some information pretty quick."
Councilman Gerald Tellez asked if Pecos would expect better reception
on Fox Channel 8, which carries the Dallas Cowboy football games.
"You guys put me on the spot every time I come down here about Channel
8," Hernandez said. "I just wish you would tell me to take it off. Gomez
Peak shuts down, and we get shut down."
He said that a national feed of the Fox network might carry the Cowboys
games occasionally, but the local Fox station (KPEJ) would still have the
right to block national programming for most of the day.
High Wednesday 62; low last night 32. Tonight, mostly clear. Low 25-30.
Light wind. Friday, mostly sunny and warmer. High near 70. Southwest wind
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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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise