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Friday, March 5, 1999

Drug raid nets boxing team's stolen items

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 5, 1999 - Boxing equipment stolen from Pecos-Barstow Warbirds training gym last weekend turned up in a building less than two blocks away Thursday night, when local law enforcement officials executed a narcotics search warrant on an Alamo Street home.

One young suspect was taken to Reeves County Jail and a juvenile was sent to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center following the raid by officers from the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Department the state game warden.

At 10:55 p.m. officials executed the narcotics search warrant at the home of Elvia Barron and family, at 423 S. Alamo St. Once the residence was secured officers proceeded to search the premises, and reportedly located a substance believed to be marijuana.

"Also found inside the residence was paraphernalia commonly used in the packaging and selling of marijuana," said police investigator Paul Deishler.

Deishler added that during the search of the premises, property that was taken sometime last weekend from the Pecos-Barstow Warbirds boxing gym, in the 300 block of South Alamo Street, were also recovered.

"These items were reported stolen last Saturday and I took the initial report of the burglary," said Sheriff's Department Deputy Danny Leos.

Leos said he recognized the gloves and questioned the individual about them. "Some other items were in the closet and I knew they were the items that had been reported stolen," he said.

Leos and the officers asked and got permission from the owner of the residence to search a vacant apartment located behind the main house. "This apartment is separate from the home and when we searched it, we discovered the rest of the stolen items," he said.

Leos then contacted Roy Juarez, Pecos Warbirds trainer, who came to the location and was able to identify the property. "I knew as soon as I saw the gloves that they had to belong to the Warbirds," said Leos.

The stolen property report was filed by Warbirds manager Fred Martin, who was out of town with the regional Golden Gloves Boxing team on Thursday. Charges on the stolen items are pending at this time.

At this time Deishler said the only charges against Joaquin Mata, 17, 423 S. Alamo St., are for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Also charged with the same offense was a male juvenile who was taken to the Reeves County Detention Center.

"We haven't charged these individuals with burglary, because it is still under investigation," said Leos.

Through cooperation of one of these individuals, Leos said the sheriff's department is building a good case that will include charges against others who are believed to be involved in the burglary. "He's cooperating with us and telling us who else was involved in this burglary, at this time, there appears to be at least three or four more individuals," said Leos.

He added that officers also want to make sure of the individual's credibility before warrants are issued for the arrests of those others believed to be involved. "We don't know how many others exactly are involved and we want to be sure this individual is not lying to us," said Leos.

"At this time we'll be taking statements and interviewing the others allegedly involved," said Leos, "We want to get a good case together and then present it, to get these individuals arrested," said Leos.

The deputy added it was a lucky break the officers got in finding the stolen property. "Usually we don't have one lead as to where to find the stolen property, we're just real glad we found these items," Leos said.

Sludge fight sparks harassment suit

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 5, 1999 - Neighboring ranchers in Hudspeth County differ on the value of sludge disposal on rangeland, and their "fight across the fence" has spread into federal court in Pecos.

H.L. Richey, who bought the 26,000-acre Eagle Mountain Ranch in November, 1995, learned last year that Byard Edwards Jr. planned to spread sludge on his property next door. The site is located near Allamore, in eastern Hudspeth County.

On Wednesday, Richey testified before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton that Edwards filed a trespass lawsuit against him and his attorneys as harassment. He wants Edwards to pay his attorney fees and a $20,000 fine for the "frivolous" lawsuit that was later withdrawn.

"I was concerned about the effects of waste disposal adjacent to my ranch, so I hired attorneys to help me evaluate the site and submit comments to the Texas Natural Resource Commission," said Richey in a court document filed here last year.

The attorneys, I. Keith Gordon and Mark W. Turnbough, drove across Edwards' property on a road that Richey had an easement to use, the affidavit states.

"In my opinion, the purpose of Mr. Edwards' lawsuit is to intimidate me in my efforts to comment on the suitability of his property for a sludge disposal site," Richey said. "I have never been sued for trespass and invasion of privacy before and never been accused of trespassing on someone's property. I take these allegations very seriously."

"The real purpose of this lawsuit is to deter Defendants Gordon and Turnbough in exercising their constitutional right to comment on an application by Mr. Edwards at the TNRCC to dispose of municipal sludge on 26,000 acres in Hudspeth County," the motion states.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is harassment. Mr. Edwards is "extremely upset and indignant and...outraged" not because of any alleged trespass but because a thorough report by experts criticizes the suitability of his land for sludge disposal and because the TNRCC has not quickly approved his ranch as the site for disposal of sludge.

"He vented his anger by filing a groundless lawsuit in court..."

Richey testified that Edwards has filed other lawsuits against him the past several years, and he feels they are mainly harassment.

Environmental consultants also testified.

Judge Bunton said he will rule on the motion before March 31, "my granddaughter's 17th birthday."

Weevil talk precedes eradication zone vote

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 5, 1999 - Area farmers got another lesson in the love life of the boll weevil Wednesday when three agriculture agencies joined to present information on the proposed program for boll weevil eradication and pink bollworm suppression.

Meeting in the Reeves County Civic Center, farmers saw a slide presentation by Osana Lissy of the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation. Also participating were the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Attendance was light, but those farmer present asked questions about the program that they will be asked to vote on March 26. Bob Bickley, executive director for the Trans-Pecos Cotton Association, said that questions indicated both some support and some opposition for the program.

The vote is being held to determine if cotton producers and crop-sharing landowners want to implement this program in the proposed El Paso/Trans Pecos Eradication Zone.

The proposed EP/TP eradication zone consists of 60,000 acres in 15 counties: Brewster, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, Val Verde, Ward and Winkler.

In the March 26 referendum, cotton growers and crop-sharing landowners in the 15-county area will vote on the establishment of the area as an official eradication and suppression program and the approval of a maximum assessment necessary to fund a program.

Voters will also elect a representative from the proposed zone to serve on the board of directors who administer the eradication program in Texas.

Bickley said that boll weevils are more prevalent in Reeves County than some realize.

"We had quite a few last year, but less than the year before," he said.

For a boll weevil eradication program to be successful, every producer must participate, he said.

"They try to make it wholesale to keep the costs down," Bickley said.

A bill is pending in the Texas Legislature that would assist in financing the operation, Bickley said.

"There is nothing on the books in Texas yet. We feel confident that before this legislature is over, we will have some help through appropriation," he said.

Successful boll weevil eradication has already been completed in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

The states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Tennessee are also involved in boll weevil eradication efforts.

Federal jury convicts trio of pot smuggling

Staff Writer

PECOS, March 5, 1999 - Two couples who were traveling together Dec. 13, 1999 when Border Patrol agents found marijuana in one of their vehicles were convicted Thursday in federal court.

Modesta Lourdes Martinez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute marijuana and testified against here three co-defendants.

Ambrocio Gomez, 32, of Plainview, was driving the green Thunderbird in which Martinez was a passenger. He was convicted of importing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Agents found 119.34 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment inside the trunk of the Thunderbird.

Jose Angel Mendoza, 39, of Kress, and Hermila Salazar-Benavidez, 34, of Plainview, were traveling ahead of the Thunderbird in a brown Nissan, agents said. They also were convicted of importing and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana.

Although K-9 Heidi alerted to an odor of contraband in the Nissan, agents found only a twig they believed to be marijuana. It tested negative, however, and was discarded. A thorough search of the vehicle turned up no marijuana, the agents said, but documents in their possession and in the Nissan tied the two couples together.

Agent Andrew Graham testified he believed the Nissan was acting as a scout vehicle to warn the load vehicle if the checkpoint south of Alpine on Texas Highway 118 was open or agents were patrolling in the area.

He said it was late afternoon when he met the two vehicles while driving south on 118, checking northbound traffic to see if anyone was waiting waiting for the checkpoint to close.

He met the brown Nissan 20 miles south of the checkpoint, and directly behind it the Thunderbird.

The couple in the Thunderbird looked surprised to see him, Graham said, and when he slowed to turn around, the Thunderbird's brake lights came on and it swerved onto the shoulder. It slowed down to about 55 mph, while the Nissan continued at normal speed, he said.

When a check of the registration showed the owner was Serpio Salazar of Houston, Graham continued to follow it.

The car stopped at a roadside park and the occupants got out and "paced around," then got back in the car and continued northbound, he said.

Graham said he followed the Thunderbird until it was almost at the checkpoint, then passed it and parked his Jeep at the checkpoint. Taking the primary inspection position, he questioned Gomez and Martinez about their citizenship.

"The driver seemed nervous as he spoke. The passenger was female and she looked straight forward and didn't seem to want to look in my direction," Graham said. "I referred them to secondary to run my K-9."

K-9 Body alerted to the driver side window and trunk seat of the Thunderbird, indicating the presence of narcotics or concealed humans, Graham said.

"I opened the driver's door and put the K-9 in the passenger compartment. He jumped to the back seat and gave an agressive alert and performed an indication which tells me there is concealed contraband," Graham said.

Since no contraband was visible, Agent Frank Lopez also had K-9 Heidi check the Thunderbird, and she indicated contraband in the trunk area.

Agent Neal Thames removed the back seat and began to search the trunk area, Graham said.

"He pulled back a piece of carpet. There was a metal plate to make a compartment inside the trunk area of the car, and we could see bundles of marijuana," he said.

The guilty verdicts closed out a full week of court for Senior Judge Lucius Bunton. He will return March 15.

Air Force seeks comments on flights

Environmental study on the Air Force's bomber training flights over West Texas and New Mexico will close on March 19, and a 45-day public comment period will begin at that time.

The comments will be on a proposal to increase the number of low-level training flights in the region, a move which sparked a lawsuit last April in federal court that is due to be heard about the time the comment period ends.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative will be sent to local libraries, agencies and citizens in West Texas, northeastern New Mexico, Colorado and Arkansas.

RBTI is an Air Force proposal that would improve air crew training by linking existing low-altitude training routes with a military operations area and providing electronic simulations of combat conditions.

The plan would offer realistic, integrated training and develop combat skills needed by Air Force aircrews now and in the future, said Lt. Don Kerr, public affairs officer at Dyess AFB.

"Integrated training refers to the ability of aircrews to train simultaneously as a team under conditions similar to combat," he said.

The Air Force examined four alternatives: the no-action alternative, two alternatives in West Texas, and one alternative in New Mexico. They will eventually select only one.

While the Air Force is seeking to increase flights over the area from jets out of both Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, flights by the German Air Force would originate out of Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, N.M. also are seeking to increase their runs across the area. Luftwaffe jets train in the area under an agreement with the United States, and the German Air Force's U.S. headquarters is based at Fort Bliss in El Paso.

Landowners in the Permian Basin, Trans-Pecos and Davis Mountains area filed suit last April in U.S. District Court in Pecos against the U.S. Air Force and the German Luftwaffe, in the hopes of blocking the proposed increase in low-level military flights over the area. Part of that suit against the Luftwaffe was thrown out earlier this year by U.S. District Judge Lucuis D. Bunton, but the remaining portions of that lawsuit are scheduled to come to trial in Pecos in early May.

The Air Force said locating RBTI within approximately 600 nautical miles of Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana would ensure the best use of valuable flight training time by reducing low-value transit time.

Presently, the resources needed to accomplish the full range of aircrew training requirements are located far away from Dyess and Barksdale AFBs. Others are geographically separated, and add low-value transit time to training missions.

RBTI would consolidate these resources and locate them close enough to maximize the use of existing flying hours.

The RBTI proposal has included public involvement in each step of the process. The first step occurred in December 1997 when the Air Force held a number of community meetings in New Mexico and Texas to ask the public for their input to the proposal.

The second step, in January and February 1998, included public scoping meetings held in the four potentially affected states to gather public comments and shape the DEIS analysis.

The third step will be the upcoming public hearings and 45-day comment period, which extends through May 2.

Citizens and agencies will be able to comment by speaking at the hearings, writing their comments at the hearings or mailing their comments any time through May 2.

RCDC items on Monday's county agenda

Creation of new assistant warden of operations position at the Reeves County Detention Center will be the topic of discussion at the regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting scheduled for Monday.

Commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m., on the third floor of the courthouse.

In executive session they will discuss Reeves County Detention Center contract employees, while requests for proposals for an inmate telephone system will be discussed by commissioners during open session.

Also scheduled in open session will be a discussing on the Pecos Economic Development Corporation initiatives; tax abatement for M. Brad Bennett, Inc. and the Reeves County Appraisal Valuation properties for Fiscal year 2000.

Tortilla bids for the RCDC will be discussed along with amending a resolution for appointing representative for Tex-Pool and converting the vacant room at the Reeves County Annex Building to a kitchen for the Meals on Wheels Program.

Other items on the agenda include:

* Consider amending policy and procedures manual to include job descriptions for courthouse maintenance personnel.

* Amending personnel policy manual regarding per diem and lodging rates.

* Deposition and oath for deputy county clerk, Debbie Lopez.

* Discuss/take action on grievance committee.

* Discuss/take action on reports from various departments.

* Discuss/take action on budget amendments and line-item transfers.

* Discuss/take action on personnel and salary changes (RCDC).

* Discuss/take action on minutes from previous meeting.

* Discuss/take action on semi-monthly bills.

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Thursday night: Winning numbers drawn: 14-27-28-31-36. Number matching five of five: 0. Matching four of five: 206. Prize: $1,169.


AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Thursday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 0-7-0 (zero, seven, zero)


Celestina Chavez

Celestina Chavez, 76, of Tulare, Calif., died Tuesday, March 2, 1999.

Mass will be at 10 a.m., today at St. Rita's Catholic Church, 954 S. `O' Street with burial in Tulare Cemetery.

She was born in Carlsbad, N.M., had been a resident of Tulare since 1966, was a homemaker and a Catholic.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Natividad Chavez in 1984, one son, Abel Chavez in April 1978, three sisters and her parents.

Survivors include five sons, Joe, Lupe and Ramon Chavez of Tulare, Hector Chavez of Los Angeles, Richard Chavez of Paso Robles; three daughters, Frances Lopez of Baldwin Park, Manuela Torres of Phoenix, Ariz. and Mary Chavez of Tularez; three brothers, Ignacio Chavez of Wink, Hipolito and Marcos Mendoza of Pecos; one sister, Margarita Sanchez of Wisconsin; 24 grandchildren; 38 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great grandchildren.

Nicholas Jurado

Nicholas "Nick" Jurado, 61, died Wednesday, March 2, 1999, at his residence.

A rosary will be held at 7:30 p.m., today at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.

Mass is scheduled for noon, Saturday, March 6, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church with Father Manuel Munoz officiating. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery.

He was born Oct. 9, 1937, in Marfa, was a longtime Pecos resident and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife, Isabel Acosta of Pecos; two sons, Larry Jurado of Santa Fe, N.M., Rudy Jurado of Pecos; two daughters, Margaret Stanton of San Francisco, Calif., Patsy Buchanan of San Antonio; two brothers, Esteban and Antonio Jurado of Marfa; one sister, Juanita Duran of Torrence, Calif. and six grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Anna Long

Anna Reynolds Long, 58, of San Antonio and formerly of San Angelo died Tuesday, March 2, at her residence.

Services were held at 10 a.m. today, in St. Luke United Methodist Church with Rev. Lynn Young officiating. Burial was in Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens.

She was born Dec. 25, 1940 in Dallas and was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in San Antonio.

Survivors include one daughter, Sharon Denise Long of San Antonio; one son, Michael Ray Dingler of Arlington; her mother, Anna Mae Reynolds of Lubbock; two sisters, Donna Smith of Lubbock and Jane Chapman of Plano; two brothers, Fred Reynolds of Sayre, Okla. and Rick Reynolds of Pismo Beach, Calif. and several nieces and nephews.

Johnson's Funeral Home of San Angelo is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, March 5, 1999 - High Thursday 84; low last night 48. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low near 40. West wind 5-15 mph becoming northeast late. Saturday, partly cloudy and cooler. High in the lower 60s. northeast to east wind 10-20 mph and gusty.

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