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July 31, 1996

Move to freeze drug task force's assets

filed in connection with DA's libel suit

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Staff Writer

MONAHANS, July 31, 1996 - After being slapped with a libel suit last
week, the Permian Basin Drug Task Force could be facing a court order
which freezes all their assets.

The action comes as the result of the suit 143rd District Attorney, John
Stickels filed against the Odessa-based task force on July 23, alleging
that claims made against him in a letter published and circulated by the
task force in May were false.

Stickels' attorney Hal Upchurch filed Tuesday's request for a court
order, which would prohibit task force officials from selling or trading
any one article of property or property seized in drug raids.

In his suit, filed in 143rd District Court in Monahans, Stickels
contends that the PBDTF acted with the specific intent to cause him
substantial injury.

Task Force Assistant Commander Jack Brewer said earlier today that he
was not aware of Tuesday's court order.

Efforts to contact Commander Tom Finley were made, but he was
unavailable for comment before press time.

In the letter, signed by Finely and on which Stickels is basing his
libel complaint, the district attorney is asked to resign by the task
force commander, because he has, "been a failure."

Finely said a total of $27,000 of PBDTF funds were used in a
Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD investigation and a Reeves County operation
per the request of the district attorney. He continued that Stickels
assured the task force that he would prosecute the defendants.

The Reeves County operation resulted in the arrest of 15 persons late
last year, and resulted in a 10 year deferred adjudication sentence. All
other cases were plea bargained or dismissed.

Finley's letter was published in the Enterprise on May 31 and later in
the Monahans News and Odessa American.

Copies of the letter were forwarded to Ward and Reeves County law
enforcement officials, the State Bar of Texas, 143rd Judge Bob Parks and
Randy Reynolds, who is running unopposed for Stickels post in the
November elections.

In his suit, Stickels based his actions on a March ruling by the El Paso
Court of Appeals ruling he said denies the task force any jurisdictional
authority outside Ector County.

This ruling has a force of law, he contends, and as an elected district
attorney, he is obligated to uphold it.

He said he made whatever plea bargains he could and eventually dismissed
those task force cases upon which he could not obtain a plea bargain he
says in his suit.

Stickels said the contents of the letter are libelous, exposed him to
public contempt and ridicule by impeaching his integrity, honesty and
reputation and that the task force was negligent in publishing the

Stickels did not specify an exact amount of damages sought in his
lawsuit, but did request a jury trial when the case goes to court.

Feds wheel in border marijuana bust

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Staff Writer

ALPINE, July 31, 1996 - Redoubled efforts by federal and state agencies
working along the Texas-Mexico border to slow the flow of drugs into the
United States bore fruit Saturday with the arrest of a Mexican citizen
and seizure of $730,000 worth of marijuana.

Saul Marin-Morales, 22, of Cuauhtemoc, Chih., Mex., was arrested by U.S.
Customs Service inspectors at the Presidio port of entry. He was charged
before U.S. Magistrate Katherine Baker with possession with intent to
distribute marijuana and ordered held without bail.

Special Agent in Charge George McNenney said agents had developed
information that a 1987 Kenworth tractor trailer would enter the port
carrying drugs. When a vehicle matching that description arrived from
Mexico, they noticed the driver, Marin, was acting nervous.

Customs drug sniffing dog "Jake" searched the truck and alerted to the
tires. One tire was removed from the rig and found to contain marijuana.
The truck was moved to Alpine where Customs agents discovered marijuana
in 16 of the 18 tires. It weighed 730 pounds.

McNenney said the arrest is part of Operation Hard Line, a Customs
Service initiative designed to reduce drug smuggling along the southern
border through more intensive and numerous exams of commercial vehicles,
cars and pedestrians.

The need for cooperative enforcement efforts along with other subjects
relating to drug interdiction along the southern border were recently
discussed between members of the U.S. Border Patrol Sector Headquarters
staff in Marfa, a delegation of Texas Rangers and Department of Public
Safety Officers led by Col. James Wilson, director of the DPS in Austin.

Plans for detailing additional DPS troopers into the area to work with
Border Patrol agents as needed were discussed, said Richard Morrissey,
sector chief.

Other enforcement topics centered around the efforts to halt the flow of
narcotics through this area, through aggressive interdiction of

Cooperative arrangements between the DPS and the USBP will continue to
reflect positively on both agencies and their efforts to bring an end to
narcotic trafficking, Morrissey said.

Amtrak doubts passenger rail for area soon

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ODESSA (AP) - Imogene Machotka was like many Americans in the 1940s for
whom passenger train travel was a way of life.

``And it was always on time,'' the 84-year-old Odessan said of the cars
that once took her to Texas points like Comanche, Cisco and beyond.
``You could depend on the trains.''

However, Mrs. Machotka was also like many Americans in that she long ago
stopped riding the rails. Service eventually ended for Odessa and much
of the rest of Texas west of Fort Worth in the 1960s.

Amtrak, the government subsidized train service, recently announced that
it is considering the return of dining cars and coaches to the region.
Officials caution that while the desire for trains might roar like a
diesel, the process of starting a new route chugs more like a broken
steam engine.

``It's not going to happen overnight,'' said Joy Smith, a manager for
Amtrak's Texas Eagle, a tri-weekly route that runs between San Antonio
and Chicago.

Amtrak's wheels turn slowly when they turn at all. Oklahoma has
unsuccessfully lobbied 20 years for service. The East Texas town of
Mineola fought eight years to get the Texas Eagle to stop there instead
of roaring past in search of busier stations.

The proposed ``Sunshine Special'' would run from El Paso to Fort Worth,
running roughly along I-20 via Midland-Odessa, Big Spring and Abilene.

Service wouldn't start for a minimum of four years, Amtrak officials
have said.

Ms. Smith said Amtrak must determine the demand for passenger rail along
the route, agree to trackage rights with Union Pacific and upgrade the
lines for 70 mph trains before its silver cars begin whizzing across the

``With the interstate, the airport and train service, it would make
(Odessa) complete as far as the transportation angle,'' said Iris
Correa, executive director of the Mexican American Network of Odessa
Inc., one of the plan's main boosters.

The nearest Amtrak train depot to the Pecos area currently is in Alpine,
along the is the ``Sunset Limited,'' which runs along U.S. 90 and I-10,
connecting El Paso, San Antonio and Houston. There was no word on what
cities the proposed new line would stop. Repeated calls to Correa over
the past week have gone unanswered.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

N-dump foes plan protest, backers say

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Associated Press Writer

EL PASO - Proponents of a proposed radioactive dump have already
mounted an offensive against the opposition a week before the state even
reopens the official debate on the West Texas waste site.

Business leaders in Sierra Blanca, which was chosen to host the
facility, issued a statement Tuesday suggesting anti-nuclear activists
would try to subvert a public hearing scheduled next week to discuss the

Facility opponents denied there would be any disruptions.

``We're planning to follow the letter of the law and be very respectful
and voice our concerns in a way that they can be heard,'' said Erin
Rogers, a member of the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund, which is
planning a march next Tuesday, the day of the hearing.

The release from former Hudspeth County Judge Bill Love and others said
2,000 protestors were being brought in and would divert attention from
the ``real issues.''

``It is wrong and it is insulting for these out-of-town activist to bus
people in and try to `kidnap' the public hearing,'' Love said in the

Love added in an interview that he was concerned demonstrators would
intimidate town residents and prevent them from speaking, regardless of
whether they were for or against the facility.

He singled out the defense fund as being a potential instigator. As
proof, he pointed to the group's flyers announcing a march.

Rogers said her group was only trying to publicize the hearing and
would help people get there if they so desired. She said Sierra Blanca
officials were afraid of letting the opposition be heard.

``They're scared that the state is finally going to recognize that the
people of Texas don't want this dump,'' said Rogers.

Next week's meeting in Sierra Blanca, which is about 120 miles west of
Pecos, is the first in a series of public hearings sponsored by the
state to solicit comment on the dump from people across Texas.

After the hearings are concluded, the Texas Natural Resource
Conservation Commission will determine whether to license the facility,
which will accept irradiated waste from Texas power plants, hospitals
and industries.

Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Land bank declares dividend

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MARFA, July 31, 1996 - Members of the Western Federal Land Bank
Association of Marfa will receive a stock dividend totaling $186,994
from the association.

The board of directors declared a 15 percent dividend in July.

"Our loan volume is growing, our earnings are escalating and credit
quality exceeds our goal," said William L. Applegate, chief executive

"The number and volume of new loan business closed in the first half of
1996 exceeds year-end totals in 13 years," he said.

All of these positive factors were major reasons for the board's
decision to return earnings to members. The Western FLBA is owned by its
borrowers and serves the farmers, ranchers and rural residents West of
the Pecos, as well as Ward and Loving counties.


Toribio Acosta

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Toribio R. Acosta, 78, of Odessa died Monday, July 29, 1996 at his
Rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Thursday at Hubbard-Kelly Funeral Home
Chapel and services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Holy Redeemer Catholic
Church with the Rev. Benjamin Ruiz officiating. Burial will be in an
Odessa cemetery.
He was born April 16, 1918, in Terlingua. He moved to Odessa in 1995
from Pecos and was a member of the Optimist Club, V.F.W. and The Holy
Name Society.
He was also an Army veteran of World War II.
Survivors include his wife, Faustina Acosta of Odessa; two sons, Ismael
"Mike" Acosta of Harbor City, Calif., Mac Arthur Pineda of Pecos; two
daughters, Elodia Acosta Chavez of Torrance, Calif., Eloisa Acosta
Vasquez of Odessa; one sister, Santos Acosta Brown of Sonora; 13
grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The family suggests memorials be made to Family Hospice in lieu of
Hubbard-Kelly Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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PECOS, July 31, 1996 - High Tuesday 101, low last night 79. Tonight,
partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Southeast wind 5-10 mph. Thursday,
partly cloudy. High near 100. Southeast wind 5-15 mph.

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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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