Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, August 11, 1999
RCDC employee jailed on cocaine, pot charges
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Local law enforcement officials culminated a
three-month investigation Tuesday with the arrest of an employee at the
Reeves County Detention Center.
Ruben Baeza, 27, of Pecos was arrested following the investigation by
officers of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, Reeves County Sheriff's Department,
Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Detention Center. Baeza was
arrested at the RCDC for possession of cocaine and marijuana.
"This is something that was initiated by the detention center," said
Trans Pecos Drug Task Force investigator James Semmler. "However, at the
beginning of the investigation they didn't believe it involved narcotics."
"We did initiate this investigation," said RCDC Warden Rudy Franco.
"We felt something was going on and took action."
"He was arrested after U.S. Postal officials allowed him to pick up
a U.S. Postal package which had been mailed to him containing the alleged
narcotics," said Semmler. "We were working with the U.S. Postal service
on this and with other agencies."
It is believed that Baeza was receiving alleged narcotics through the
mail from California and trafficking them in the Reeves County Detention
Center where he worked as a Food Service Assistant Director.
"This will lead to a federal investigation and other charges may be
pending," said Semmler.
Several ounces of marijuana and several grams of cocaine were seized
during the sting operation.
Franco said that he wanted to thank all the agencies that cooperated,
including the district attorney's office, sheriff Andy Gomez and his staff,
and the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, for the investigation that proved
successful in keeping drugs from coming in to the facility.
"This is something we always work towards, to keep drugs out, and an
internal investigation is continuing," said Franco.
"We took care of all the ones that were involved at the detention center,
we just have the ones that were sending him the `care' packages to take
care of next," said Semmler.
Franco said that at times like these he really feels for the individuals
involved and their families. "To do something like this, just hurts him,
his family and ruins his career," said Franco. "You have to feel for those
He said that RCDC will instill stricter policies and will continue to
work towards keeping the facility drug-free. "These inmates are here for
a reason," he said.
Tuesday's arrest was the one of a series made by officers of the Task
Force, Sheriff's Department and the Police Department during the past week.
On Aug. 4, Emilia G. Garcia, 42, and Valeria Lozano, 24, were both arrested
during a heroin sting at 12th and Martinez streets that netted between
six to 10 grams of black tar heroin. Both were charged with delivery of
a controlled substance and bond set at $25,000 each.
Lozano was also charged with delivery of a controlled substance in a
drug-free zone and bond on that charge was set at $25,000.
Domingo Jimenez, Sr., 46, and Domingo Jimenez, Jr., 21, were both arrested
for possession of marijuana during a local drug interdiction exercise.
Pecos teen faces marijuana charges
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- A Pecos teen was arrested for the offense of possession
of drug paraphernalia Tuesday, and more charges may be pending, according
Officers from the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Department
and the Texas Game Warden Department executed a narcotics search warrant,
Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the home of Victoria Burciaga, 115 S. Locust.
After officers executed the warrant the residence was secured, and officers
proceeded to search the residence.
"Found inside one of the bedrooms was paraphernalia commonly used in
the smoking of marijuana," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.
Deishler said that officers also found a substance believed to be marijuana.
After completing the search, James Burciaga, 18, was placed under arrest.
Burciaga was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and transported
to Reeves County Jail. He paid a $193 fine was released this morning.
"Marijuana charges are pending at this time," said Deishler.
Chamber members updated on Fall Fair
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Plans are coming along great for the Annual
Reeves County Fall Fair, and a ribbon cutting ceremony is planned to kick
off events on Oct. 1.
"I was on `Pecos Talking' discussing the fall fair and the many plans
we have for it," said Barbara Creager.
Creager is one of the organizers for this year's events and she told
chamber members the group had met for their monthly meeting. "We have lots
of ideas and more are welcome," she said.
Fliers have been distributed advertising the annual event and giving
a listing of the events, according to Creager.
"We also wanted to have a grand opening and a ribbon cutting," said
There will also be lots of changes, new things and more things to do
at this year's event, according to Creager.
Chamber members agreed with the idea. "We also need corn, if anybody
is growing corn in the yards or knows of somebody, we need it to decorate,"
Also on Tuesday, Women's Division of the Pecos Chamber of Commerce president
Judy Tipton updated chamber members on what her group is working on.
"We have $2,000 for the scholarship committee and $3,500 for the West
of the Pecos Museum," said Tipton. "Thanks to Suann (Cross) and her committee,
which made the Golden Girl a success."
Tipton told the group that the club is planning a fire department appreciation
dinner, scheduled for Oct. 7 at the West of the Pecos Museum courtyard.
The Mother Goose Parade will be changed to the Mother Goose Halloween
Parade and will be scheduled for later in the year. "This way the children
won't get so hot," said Tipton. "Also, we want to plan a little something
for the children for after the parade, so they just don't walk and don't
have anything at the end."
A task force committee has been formed by the chamber to look into recruiting
Dr. John Libbie gave a report on the things discussed at the task force
committee meeting. One thing stressed is that the group does not want to
see the dues raised, but all agreed something different needed to be done.
"We also want the dues to be due at the same time and to expire at the
same time," said Libbbie. "This will save the office workers some time
and extra work."
Council talks raises, to view tax figures
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Wages and salaries - freeze or raise? - stumped
the Pecos City Council Tuesday when they attempted to make final cuts to
the proposed 1999-2000 budget.
City Manager Kenneth Neal said the council will hold another workshop
to consider the payroll question, "and see if we can find anything else
Everything else is pretty much done, Neal said. Once the council decides
whether to give employees a raise, the budget will be filed for public
inspection before its adoption.
No date has been set for the next workshop, he said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday tax assessor-collector Lydia Prieto will present
the council an estimate of taxable values for the year 1999 during their
regular meeting. She will also give members a calendar of meeting dates
relating to setting the tax rate.
The Reeves County Appraisal District submitted a certified appraisal
roll showing net taxable values for the city at $114.68 million, down $3.38
million from last year.
Prieto said the current collection rate is 88 percent.
The council will also consider replacing Municipal Court Judge Phyllis
Salyer, who is retiring;
* Consider the Third Street project and wastewater treatment plant permit;
* Award bid for 1999 street seal coat project;
* Consider funding for employee health fund;
* Hear reports from Municipal Court, Juvenile Court and Pecos Chamber
of Commerce on the civic center and advertising/tourism.
In closed session, the council will review the performance of the fire
Hospital budgets for less revenue
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Reeves County Hospital faces a fiscal challenge
in 2000 because of a decrease in Medicare funding, said Richard Mathis,
chief financial officer.
Mathis told the hospital board in a special budget workshop Tuesday
that projected patient revenues of $1.8 million will shrink to about $600,000
after Medicare deductions.
"We are booking a lot more income but collecting less," Mathis said.
"Folks are staying longer, but we are collecting the same number of dollars.
We are encountering pressures from Medicare on outpatient and managed care,"
Overall demographics of the community is reflected in bad debts, he
"We are looking at having approximately $210,000 more in bad debts from
2000 than in 1999," he said. "The more that Medicare and insurers pull
back their portion to pay, that ends up in the insured's hands."
Administrator Charles Butts said that Medicare does not pay the full
bill for patients, but pays a set amount based on the doctor's diagnosis.
If the patient stays longer than Medicare allows for that particular diagnosis,
the hospital does not collect for the extra days.
"If you get them out in time you can make money," he said. "But the
average length of stay increases. Doctors are keeping people longer, and
we are not getting paid for that."
Physicians on the medical staff have been cooperative, but if they dismiss
Medicare patients too early, they may have to be re-admitted, causing additional
problems, Butts said.
Physicians continue to receive compensation for making hospital rounds
even after the hospital's payment has stopped, he said.
"Our docs are real good, but we had patients that stayed a long time,"
he said. "Four or five really hit us hard. One was an illegal that stayed
here 90 days. That blew everything completely out of proportion, but we
took care of the lady."
Butts said that RCH has one of the better medical staffs that he has
"I don't think the people of this area realize the quality of the medical
staff and medical facilities," he said.
Marcella Lovett said the preliminary budget figures presented by Butts
and Mathis is realistic, and the board made no adjustments. Butts said
it will be finalized and placed on file before adoption in the August 24
The board chose to meet at 5 p.m. Aug. 24 instead of the regular time
of Aug. 19 to give the administration more time to complete the proposed
budget and to consider recommendations from the medical staff, who meet
the same day.
Tax assessor-collector Lydia Prieto will have calculations on the effective
tax rate and rollback rates for the budget meeting, Mathis said.
With 1979 bonds paid off this year, the tax rate will decrease, he said.
IRS sets Stockton tax problem seminars
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
In an attempt to reach out to the people who support the federal government
through income taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will hold two events
in Fort Stockton Aug. 26.
Stuart Bradford, communications manager for the South Texas District,
which includes everything south of Waco and west to El Paso, said that
Fort Stockton is the central point for area cities.
Working side-by-side in the Pecos County Civic Center, the IRS will
hold a problem solving day to help individuals and small-business owners
who have long-standing tax problems with the IRS and will co-host a business
Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce and the Sul Ross University small
business development center will work with the IRS on the marketplace from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Representatives from the IRS will offer presentations and information
on a variety of topics of interest to employers, including new ways to
interact electronically with the IRS, said Bradford.
Offering their service in separate booths will be the Fort Stockton
chamber, Sul Ross center, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Immigration
and Naturalization Service and the Pecos County State Bank.
Bank employees will offer tips on Y2K, said Lorraine Ronquillo, communication
specialist accompanying Bradford.
Government agencies' presentation topics are designed to help employers
clarify and understand their regulatory responsibilities.
Other marketplace participants include the Texas Workforce Commission
and the Texas Department of Economic Development, among others, in an open
In the problem solving area, taxpayers can meet face-to-face with IRS
agents, managers or the taxpayer advocate to find a solution to their tax
"Many problems are resolved at the initial meeting and all problems
receive expedited attention from the taxpayer advocate's office of the
IRS," said Bradford.
For example, taxpayers owing money can enter into installment agreements
with the agency to pay the tax over time. Taxpayers can ask to have audits
Some taxpayers may qualify to make an offer-in-compromise, which is
an offer to pay less than the taxes owed, depending on the circumstances.
IRS experts will also help explain notices and procedures for filing
past-due tax returns. In some cases, certain penalties may be abated in
order to help the taxpayer resolve an outstanding balance.
Since the inception of problem solving days in 1997, the IRS taxpayer
advocate's office has helped more than 50,000 taxpayers seeking help at
these special events nationwide, Bradford said.
To make an appointment, call 915-336-9166. An appointment is not necessary,
but the IRS does recommend it so the problem can be researched in advance,
"I hope it will be well received and the kind of thing that will help
people," Bradford said.
Problem Solving Day hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Federal jury convicts duo on drug charges
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Two young men traveling from California to Florida
in a Ryder truck were found guilty in federal court Tuesday of possession
with intent to distribute marijuana.
Rigoberto Salas and Antonio Sanchez-Salas were arrested at the Sierra
Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint after agents found 234 pounds of marijuana
in the truck, along with "thrown-in" furniture.
Border Patrol Agent Brett Pachciarz testified that he became suspicious
of the two men while questioning them at the checkpoint because of their
mannerisms and Sanchez's accent.
Salas' lips were trembling as he answered questions about his citizenship,
Pachciarz said his drug-sniffing dog "bolted" to the open cargo area
of the truck, where agents found 95 individually-wrapped bricks of marijuana
near the front of the compartment.
Furniture in the van was "just thrown in," Pachciarz said. "The only
thing neatly packed that I observed was the boxes of marijuana with a protective
cover over it."
Asked by defense attorney Eduardo Solis if the presence of mattresses,
bed springs, couches, bar stools, tables, refrigerator and toys (a stuffed
animal) indicated a family was moving, Pachciarz said, "Not to me, no."
To explain why his report of the arrest was sketchy, Pachciarz estimated
that 5,000 vehicles enter the checkpoint during one eight-hour shift, and
only four agents are on duty.
He said he was interrupted four times while typing the report to tell
the two suspects to stop talking to each other.
"There is not enough time in the day to complete that report," he said.
"We are really busy and undermanned at the checkpoint."
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Miller of Alpine prosecuted for the government.
Solis and Robert Harris represented the defendants before visiting judge
Ginger Berrigan of New Orleans.
The trial was the second for Berrigan this week, and a third started
this morning. Gerald Lopez represents Miguel Machucha-Barrera Jr. in that
Housing board to talk landscaping
Pecos Housing Authority Board members will listen to the landscape architect's
service proposal and the final designs for CIAP 98 renovation from Vaughn
Architect Plus at their regular monthly meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday,
at the PHA/FLH, administration office, 600 Meadowbrook Drive.
In conjunction, board members will discuss advertising for general contractor
and bid opening set for Oct. 2.
Under business, board members will discuss resolution/approval for commissioners,
executive director, and staff to attend annual conference and trade show
in San Antonio, Aug. 17-20.
A resolution/approval for the application and CIAP budget/progress report
for 1999 CIAP funds; resolution/approval: to transfer PHA bank accounts
(Airbase Account) and (Security Deposit) to a higher interest bearing account;
resolution;approval of monthly income and expense report for July and August,
is also subject for discussion.
Under communications, board members will:
— Receive a letter dated July 29, from Harold Lucas, assistant secretary
HUD, Washington, D.C., regarding CIAP 1999 funds — PHA share is calculated
— Receive a letter dated July 29, from Mary Jane Ontiveros, CCRC Executive
Director, notification of the elderly Meals On Wheels Program no longer
occupying the facility at 1001 E. 10th St.
— Review the PHA/FLH quarterly newsletter edition #2;
— Receive information about the Texas Housing Association 1999 annual
conference and trade show, scheduled for Aug. 17-20 in San Antonio;
In the Farm Labor Housing portion of the meeting board members will
discuss resolution/approval for report on audit of financial statement
and supplemental data for 12 months ended March 31.
Regular items to be discussed include monthly financial statement; monthly
accounts payable; monthly occupancy status and rent roll and cash journal.
Water expert takes extension job
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- A former water quality program assistant will
join the staff at the Reeves County Extension Agency.
Terry Holder, was introduced to the Reeves County Commissioners at the
regular meeting held Monday morning. He replaces C.W. Roberts, who resigned
earlier this year.
"In the process of looking for an agent we had 10 applicants, from those
we screened them out and took the top two," said Charles Neef, extension
agent from Fort Stockton. "We had leaders review them and they felt like
Mr. Holder would be perfect for the position," said Neef.
Holder obtained a business of science degree from Mississippi State
University in agriculture and extension service and is currently working
on his master's in agriculture business management in Mississippi.
He is currently employed as a water quality program assistant and works
with the environmental education unit for the Mississippi State University
Extension Service. He is experienced in developing hands-on educational
demonstrations, publications on water movement and underground pollution.
Holder is also the author of publications and video tapes on water quality,
and is actively involved in programs to help farmers, ranchers and homeowners
with their agriculture related programs.
"We've been doing a lot with water and hope I can bring some of that
information over here," said Holder. "I also work a lot with 4-H and youth,
horse judging and water quality."
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin said he welcomed Holder with open
arms. "If there's anything we can do to help you let us know," said Tarin.
"As you know, water is also a big concern to us, so you're expertise will
be something to look forward to, something very vital to our community."
In conjunction, one audience member mentioned that a new meeting room
is in need for 4-H and the Rio Pecos Extension Club. The current office
has been remodeled to accommodate the Meals on Wheels Program, which now
occupies that office.
In other business during the morning session, commissioners approved
new computers for three of the four Justice of the Peace' offices.
The total for the purchases for all three JP's is $16,870, while Precinct
4 JP Lamberto T. Herrera had declined the computer purchase. "We'll let
Commissioner (Hivi) Rayos talk to him and see if he wants one too," said
Tarin. Rayos is commissioner for Precinct 4.
Crash victim didn't stop for work zone
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- Antonio Gomez Garcia, 31, of 2217 S. Eddy St.
died in a two-vehicle accident four-tenths of a mile south of Pecos Tuesday,
said DPS Trooper Dan Woods, who investigated.
Garcia was northbound on U.S. Highway 285 in a 1993 Chevrolet pickup
when he rammed the rear of a 1987 GMC stake truck hauling cantaloupes.
Juan Manuel Macias of Pecos, driver of the cantaloupe truck, said he
was stopped at a construction barricade awaiting instructions from the
flag man when the pickup rear-ended his vehicle. He was not injured.
The impact demolished the pickup, pinning Garcia inside. Precinct 1
Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon pronounced him dead at 11:37 a.m.,
and the body was taken to Martinez Funeral Home.
Traffic was restricted to one lane on U.S. Highway 285 in the construction
zone, which extended over the I-20 overpass. While one lane of traffic
moved through, opposing traffic was stopped or re-routed to the I-20 access
Seal coat is being applied to the highway surface by Cox Paving Inc.
of Blanco, said Glen Larum, communications officer for the Texas Department
Larum said the thin coat of micro-surfacing was applied from 10 miles
south of Pecos, and is nearing completion.
He said the construction area is marked with "construction ahead" signs
to warn motorists to drive carefully.
One lane of traffic is the norm when resurfacing a two-lane highway,
he said. A pilot vehicle leads one lane of traffic through the construction
area while the opposing lane is held up by a flag man.
AUSTIN (AP) — Results of the Cash 5 drawing Tuesday night:
Winning numbers drawn: 8-11-20-29-33. Number matching five of five:
1. Prize per winner: $80,315. Winning ticket sold in: Beaumont. Matching
four of five: 211. Prize: $571.
AUSTIN (AP) — The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Tuesday by the Texas
Lottery, in order:
5-6-3 (five, six, three)
Antonio Gomez Garcia, 31, of Pecos, died Tuesday, Aug. 10, 1999.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, at Martinez Funeral
Mass will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, Aug. 13, at Santa Rosa Catholic
Church with burial in Greenwood Cemetery.
He was born May 24, 1968, in Ojinaga, Chih., Mexico, was a farm laborer
and a Catholic.
Survivors include his mother, Delia Gomez Garcia of Ojinaga, Chih.,
Mexico; two sisters, Manuela Garcia of Pecos and Margarita G. Rodriguez
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Francisco Herrera, 91, died this morning at his home. Pecos Funeral Home
is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, Aug. 11, 1999 -- High Tuesday 106; low last night 77. Tonight, partly
cloudy with a slight chance of evening showers and thunderstorms. Low in
the lower 70s. South wind 5-15 mph. chance of rain less than 20 percent.
Thursday, partly cloudy. High 100 105. Southwest wind 5-15 mph. Extended
forecast, Thursday night, mostly clear. Low in the mid 70s. Friday through
Sunday, mostly clear. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs 100-102.
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