Pecos Country History
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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, June 3, 2005
Third Beltran brother pleads in drug ring case
The brother of two former area residents who pled guilty earlier this year to operating a drug ring in West Texas entered his own guilty plea to drug charges of Tuesday, just prior to the start of his trial in U.S. District County in Midland.
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton announced that just before the jury was sworn in Tuesday morning, Hernaldo Perea Beltran, 38, pled guilty to the indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine in the Odessa-Midland area as well as Dallas and Kansas City.
Hernaldo Beltran faces a minimum of five years imprisonment and as much as forty years. Hernaldo Beltran’s brothers Raul, 40, and Jesus, 30, previously plead guilty to the same charge last month.
Hernaldo, aka, "Naldo" Beltran Perea, Raul Beltran Perea and Jesus "Chuy" M. Beltran were turned over to U.S. officials in Del Rio in mid-November after fleeing to Mexico to avoid charges filed against them in April of 2000. The trio was charged of conspiracy with intent to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.
Hernaldo, aka, "Naldo" Beltran Perea and Raul Beltran Perea are citizens of Mexico, while Jesus Beltran is a U.S. citizen. The three have lived in the Pecos and Balmorhea areas in that past. Police in Juarez, arrested the trio, along with Rodolfo 'Rudy' Beltran, on New Year's Eve of 2001, following an extensive drug investigation by Mexican police.
United States District Judge Robert Junell will sentence the Beltrans following the completion of a pre-sentence report by the United States Probation Office.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, from January 1991 through April 2000, Hernaldo Beltran, Raul Beltran and Jesus Beltran worked and conspired together and with others to import large quantities of cocaine from Juarez, Mexico, through El Paso, and to then distribute this cocaine in the Midland-Odessa, area. The brothers also distributed the cocaine in North Texas, Kansas and elsewhere.
Hernaldo Beltran, Raul Beltran, Jesus Beltran, and Rodrigo Beltran were the leaders, organizers and managers of this criminal enterprise, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Over time, there were at least 15 criminal participants under the Beltrans’ leadership that loaded, transported and distributed cocaine, returned cocaine proceeds to the Beltrans and/or acted as retail distributors for this organization.
Hernaldo Beltran, Raul Beltran, Jesus Beltran, and Rodrigo Beltran distributed and possessed with intent to distribute in excess of 6,000 kilograms (13,200 pounds) of cocaine over the course of the conspiracy and as much as 26,000 kilograms (57,200 pounds) of cocaine based on co-conspirator statements.
The Beltran organization sold each kilogram of cocaine for between $16,000 and $20,000 depending on the amount purchased by the buyer from the Beltran organization, the ability and dependability of the buyer to quickly sell the cocaine and return the money owed to the Beltran organization, and the price and available supply of cocaine in Mexico and the demand in the United States.
The cocaine was either sold outright for cash or ÒfrontedÓ to the purchaser or a combination of both. ÒFrontingÓ is selling the cocaine on consignment; that is, the Beltran organization would give the cocaine to the purchaser and the purchaser would sell the cocaine and give the money owed back to the Beltran organization.
Officials unsure if B-1 shift will boost area flights
From Staff and Wire Reports
The U.S. Air Force can’t say right now if a proposed two-thirds increase in the number of B-1B bombers stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene will mean an increased number of low-level training flights by the bombers over the Trans-Pecos and Davis Mountains region.
The base closing report released in mid-May by the Pentagon proposes to move 26 B-1B bombers from Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, S.D. to Dyess AFB, which is already home to 36 of the bombers. One of the main reasons for the decision, according to a report by the Associated Press, was the area's conditions, which include Dyess’ proximity to the Realistic Bomber Training Initiative site, which is centered in the Trans-Pecos area, and the IR-71 training area in the South Plains between Lubbock and Abilene.
The decision by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission is being contested by officials in South Dakota, and as a result, 1st Lt. Brandon Pollachek with the Dyess AFB Public Information Office said, “It’s going to be a little while until it’s finalized.
“It’s way to far out for us to speculate. We haven’t looked at the plans,” he said. “Once the list is finalized, we will start to look into how to make everything happen.”
RBTI began operations in 2002, but not before the Air Force had to deal with a lawsuit filed in federal court by the Davis Mountains Trans-Pecos Heritage Association and the other plaintiffs. Their suit claimed that RBTI would modify and expand the Military Training Routes (MTR) and establish the Lancer Military Operations Area (MOA) in western Texas and in portions of New Mexico without proper compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Noise Control Act, and in violation of the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Air Force and area ranchers, landowners and residents of Southern Reeves County worked out an agreement on the flight path and the number of flights per day through U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla’s office in 2001, though that did not affect the DMTPHA lawsuit or a similar suit filed by landowners in the South Plains over the higher-level flights in that area.
That suit claimed the bombers would overfly more than 221 privately owned ranches across some 5,322,396 acres as low as 300 feet above ground level at speeds up to or exceeding 630 miles per hour.
“The effects of these flights and the resulting noise, vibration, startle shock, and exhaust fume intrusions have and will be felt and sensed by the individuals Plaintiffs and DMTPHA members in their homes and fields, and while at work, play, and rest,” the suit claimed.
DMTPHA was successful in another lawsuit that sought to block the increase of flights by German Luftwaffe jets over West Texas, as part of their training missions from Holloman AFB in southern New Mexico.
In the Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s May report on Mission Capability Index, Ellsworth AFB was rated ahead of Dyess on its hangars, fueling facilities, munitions storage and runways; its ability to quickly grow to support additional forces, and its cost of manpower and operations.
But in a crucial category dealing with weather, geography and other conditions affecting the operating environment of the bases, Dyess scored 51.2 to Ellsworth's 32.52. That category accounted for 46 percent of the Mission Capability Index (MCI).
During a visit to Pecos in 2003, Col. Jeffery Beene, 7th Operations Group Commander at Dyess AFB, said that Pecos was a prime spot for training flights due to its remoteness, low population density, its proximity to Dyess and the variable terrain that can encounter throughout the training route.
Dyess had an overall MCI score of 56.70 to Ellsworth's 50.81 in the.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune said on May 20 that Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Dominguez told the BRAC commission that in closing Ellsworth and transferring its bombers to Dyess, the Air Force would realize "$2 billion in savings, and we couldn't walk away from it."
Storms cause water system woes for city
By JON FULBRIGHT
Thunderstorms that passed through the Pecos area last week had Town of Pecos City crews working on repairs this week, as electronic and pumping systems for the city’s water supply were damaged by lightning from the storms.
“We’ve been working on two main issues,” said city public works director Edgardo Madrid. “The main issue is the telemetry system. After the storm we had last week the system was having problems.
He said the system, which monitors the water intake and outflow from the city’s tanks, froze up as a result of the storms. “We lost a lot of water in the city tanks because we had to turn everything by hand,” Madrid said.
He added a technician from the company that handles the system tried to do repairs over the phone, but was unsuccessful. As a result, he was scheduled to be in Pecos on Thursday to repair the problem.
Madrid said the other storm-related problem occurred at the South Worsham water field. “We lost three water wells by lightning this weekend,” Madrid said. “The good thing is we have 23 water wells, so when we lose three it’s not a big thing to keep providing enough water to Pecos.”
He said a contractor was at the site to look at the well pumps to see if they could be repaired or would have to be replaced.
Aside from lightning, Madrid said aging lines were responsible for a number of streets that have been dug up in recent weeks due to leaks.
“We’re repairing the water leaks, but on a couple we can’t do that because the valves are too old. They date from the 1940s to the 1960s,” he said.
He explained that when city crews try to shut the valves to do repairs, the valves break, and as of now, the city doesn’t have the right equipment to replace them. “We have to ask a contractor from Lubbock to do that. We’re just preparing everything for those people to come in,” Madrid said.
That work also was scheduled to begin on Thursday, and Madrid added that in the future the city might be able to handle those types of valve problems with their own crews.
“Hopefully next year we’ll put money in the budget to buy a piece of equipment to do it on our own, instead of waiting for those people to come here,” Madrid said.
GFWC hold annual convention held
President Mary Vongsavath presided at the superb General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Texas Western District 45th Annual Convention held at the Kokernot Lodge, Alpine, April 8-10 “to celebrate Team WD.”
Décor consisted of fresh lilies plants all around the room and display of eclectic hats and shawls on every table. The “GFWC Arts in the Community Spring Show” exhibited more than 50 beautiful art works from a wide variety of medium in painting, photography, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, hobby crafts and needlecrafts at the Alpine High School Foyer on April 9-10.
Gifts presented were a sterling silver angel necklace from West Texas National Bank, a US $50 Savings Bond from Ft. Davis State Bank and a pair of commemorative mugs and coasters from SRSU.
President Mary Vongsavath welcomed two new clubs joining the Western District: woman’s Forum of San Angelo and Winodauis Club of Sterling City. In her report, she said: “This year was a learning experience for me. With your gracious invitations, I’m glad to have met many of you and I’m looking forward to visit the other members. I hope you’ll continue to make a difference in your communities…
Ken Vongsavath, PA-C gave the special introduction. Luncheon guest speaker Dr. James Luecke, talked on “Telemedicine” followed by a question and answer session. President Vongsavath presented a gift of appreciation to both, a medical team who have served well the Big Bend community for over a decade.
Awards were given to the Best of the Best Programs & Projects! The top five winners were Midland, Monahans, Pecos, Sanderson, and Big Spring. Western District Outstanding Clubwoman 2005 was Cynthia Scott of Big Spring. Also two Life Members were recognized for their dedication and service to the organization: Eunice Vincent-Life member since 1988 and Elizabeth Foley-life member since 1994, both of Alpine.
Winners of ‘GFWC Arts in the Community Spring Show’ were: Alisa Lanning of SRSU-Best of Show- Photography; Deborah Allison of Alpine - Award of Excellence - Watercolor; Pam Hicks of Coahoma-Award of Distinction-Oil; Pauline Hernandez of Alpine-Award of Merit-ceramic platter; Lilly Wilson of Marfa-Judges’ Choice Award-glass bead jewelry; Deborah Allison-People’s Choice Award-watercolor.
Palma Becket of Alpine won Best of Show Hobby Craft; Eunice Vincent of Alpine won first place in Needlecraft; Shirley Bagley of Monahans won first place in Photography. Judges were Pam Price of UT-Permian Basin in Odessa and Elayne Karickhoff, Art Historian & Museum Administration, Board member and past president of Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa.
Club presidents’ reporting were Palma Becket of Alpine, Shirley Bagley of Monahans, Lena Harpham of Pecos, Bobbe Mitchell of Sanderson. Others who reported were: Cynthia Scott for Big Spring, Carolina Ramos for Presidio, Barbara Humphreys for Marfa, and Sherry Phillips for McCamey.
Also recognized were: Barbara Humphreys of Marfa, the oldest member, first-time attendees - Palma Becket of Alpine, Cynthia Scott of Big Spring and Charlotte Harrell of Ozona, coming from the farthest was Emily Munn from San Angelo. GFWC Woman’s Club of Alpine won Club Merit Award for having the most members attending.
In the raffle of the gifts, Lena Harpham of Pecos won the angel necklace; Delpha Spencer of Presidio won the $50 US Savings Bond and Cynthia Scott of Big Spring, won the mugs/coasters set. Door prizes were given away. Each attendee received a thank you bag with healthcare brochures, pen, note pad and magnet, and a welcome packet.
In Memoriam was led by Nancy William, of Monahans, who sang the “Lord’s Prayer” beautifully. Remembered were Ruth Wells and Jean Campbell of Alpine; Doris Moorman and Larraine Waldrop of Pecos, Linouise Henderson of Marfa, Beth Kenworthy of Odessa, and Alice Hill of Wink.
Lena Harpham extended an invitation for the Fall Board Meeting in Pecos on Oct. 15. The meeting adjourned with the recitation of the “Collect.”
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Scholarship given to Pando for effort with school, family
By ROSIE FLORES
A young mother who overcame several obstacles to receive her diploma from Pecos High School was honored recently with the Jamie P. Rodriguez Courage Award Scholarship.
Cynthia Pando received the award scholarship, named after Jamie P. Rodriguez, a member of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force in Pecos, who was killed during a routine bus check in May of 2002.
“The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” by Joseph Campbell tells the story of individuals who either by chance or by choice are pulled out of their ordinary lives and into an extraordinary adventure where they are challenged and forever changed by the experience. Pando, is one of those heroes, according to Task Force Commander Gary Richards.
“At the tender age of 15, Cynthia’s life was forever changes when she became a mother,” said Richards.
Pando had the courage to take on both the duties of student and mother. Instead of giving up her chance at an education as many have done before, she embraced her struggle and continued to pursue her dreams.
Just when Pando, felt she had surmounted the initial struggle of becoming a mother at a young age, life threw another obstacle in her path and she displayed another face of courage-selflessness.
“Cynthia’s grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and was told that she was dying,” said Richards. “Another member of her family has Down’s syndrome and because Cynthia’s mother had to work, Cynthia became the caretaker of four needy loved ones.”
Pando accepted the responsibility of caring for her sick grandmother, her uncle, her little sister, her own young daughter, and the maintenance of two households - cooking, and doing other necessary chores at both homes.
Through this ordeal, Pando continued attending school and despite all of her struggles at home, she excelled in her academic life.
While many her age or any age, would not see anything positive in this experience, she writes in her essay that though it was tough, she “enjoyed the time with them, especially her grandmother.”
In September of 2004, Pando’s grandmother died, leaving the uncle who suffers from Down’s syndrome without a caretaker. Again, Pando answered the call and rose to the challenge.
Pando picks up her uncle from school everyday and makes sure that he is taken care of until her mother gets home.
All the while, Pando maintained her academic pursuits and was ranked fifth in her graduating class.
She was a member of the National Honor Society, the Youth Advisory Commission, Student Council and the Spanish Club. She states that her number one priority is her education.
She plans to pursue a degree in education, so that she may have a chance at a better life, not only for her, but also for her family.
Gomez, Jones announce wedding plans
Monica P. Gomez and William W. Jones will be married on June 4, at St. Stephens Catholic Church, by the Reverend James Bridges.
The bride is the daughter of the late Pedro Gomez from Hobbs, N.M. and Mary Ellen Pena from Midland, she’s the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Eliborio Pena and the late Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Gomez from Pecos.
The groom is the son of Mr. Roger Jones and Ms. Linda Jones from Pecos; he’s the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Winstead of Latson, S.C., and the late Mr. and Mrs. Roger Jones Sr. of Mercedes, Tx.
The bride’s Matron of Honor, will be Joann Cromer, from Oklahoma City, Okla., the bride will also be attended by her sisters, Erica DeSouza, Annie Fuentes, Nichollette Pena all from Midland and her sister-in-law Christina Arreguy from Pecos; daughters of the groom, Katalina and Jennifer Jones of Midland, will also be attending. The flower girls will be the bride’s nieces, Alexa and Myra Arreguy from Pecos.
The best man will be Damion Arreguy from Pecos, brother of the bride; the groom will also be attended by sons of the bride, Jonathan, Jacob and Joshua Heredia as well as Seth Nichols, all from Midland.
All of the family will be living in Midland.
Montgomerys’ plan 50th anniversary
Mr. and Mrs. L.J. Montgomery, of Pecos, will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary on June 5.
They are the parents of Tina Montgomery of Dallas, David Montgomery of Fredricksburg Co., Victor Montgomery of Big Spring, James Montgomery of Yuma, Ariz., John Montgomery of Allen, Anita Bell and Alicia Johnson, both of Midland, Felicia Cleburn of Denton.
The couple have 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
To celebrate the special occasion, the family plans a picnic in the Davis Mountains.
Davis completes internship at Disney World
Kattie M. Davis, a junior at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, has just completed an internship at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The college program lasted for an entire semester and students earned college hours for successfully completing the program.
Davis worked at four different restaurants in the Magic Kingdom during the last five months including the “Pecos Bill Tall Tale Café.”
She worked side by side with people from all over the world.
Davis is planning to go in to Social Work after she graduates from the university.
She is the daughter of Kelly and Donna Davis of Pecos and a 2002 Pecos High School Graduate.
Acosta named honor roll award winner
The United States Achievement Academy announced that Maritza Acosta of Pecos, has been recognized for academic achievement as a United States National Honor Roll Award winner.
Acosta, who attends Pecos High School, will appear in the United States Achievement Academy Official Yearbook, which is published nationally.
“Recognizing and supporting our youth is more important than ever before in America’s history. Certainly, United States Achievement Academy winners should be congratulated and appreciated for their dedication to excellence and achievement,” said Dr. George Stevens, Executive Director of the United States Achievement Academy.
The USAA National Honor Roll Awards provide honor roll students with many benefits and services and is a great tribute to a student’s dedication, talent and ability.
Acosta is the daughter of David and Lupe Acosta of Pecos.
Grandparents are Felix and Cruz Llanez of Alpine and Cruz and Olivia Acosta of Pecos.
GEO honors McDaniel for RCDC III work
By ROSIE FLORES
A warden at one of the local prisons has been awarded one of the highest honors a top-ranking leader in the prison’s management company can earn.
The GEO Group, Inc. announced that Reeves County Detention Center III Warden Martin McDaniel has been named the Company’s ‘Warden of the Year” for his work at the facility, which was struggling to find inmates just over a year ago.
McDaniel has been instrumental in the successful operations of the 864-bed RCDC III, which signed a contract in February 2004 to house inmates from the State of Arizona.
McDaniel arrived at the prison the following month, and GEO officials said he has demonstrated a unique ability to overcome challenges and to effectively manage various operations tasks. In his tenure as RCDC III warden, McDaniel has often engaged in local activities becoming a true member of the community.
A reception was held for McDaniel in the visiting room at RCDC III this past Tuesday.
“It’s great to be a part of an organization like this, I’m glad to be in Reeves County,” said McDaniel, who credited his staff for his award and said that it was a combined effort.
“This was a wonderful surprise, I really appreciate all this and what they did in the corporate office,” he said.
McDaniel said that the group was going to concentrate on bigger and better things. “I plan for all of us to keep working together to make things happen,” he said.
RCDC Deputy Warden David Cole spoke highly of McDaniel and called him a “true leader.”
Several local officials were on hand to help wit the special celebration including Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo; Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce President Jimmy Dutchover; chamber of commerce director Linda Gholson; Town of Pecos City Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez and his wife; Pecos Police Department Captain Kelly Davis; RCDC I&II Assistant Warden Onfre Fernandez, along with many of the employees of the facility.
McDaniel was also joined by his family, his wife, Ramona and his two children, Meagan and Blake.
Galindo spoke about the many accomplishments the warden has obtained while serving in Pecos.
“He came in on a shoestring budget, with the largest private/public partnership in the world,” said Galindo.
He said that McDaniel participated in every facet of making the facility a success, from the most minor things to the bigger, more complex projects.
“He had a lot to do to make this place a success,” said Galindo. “On a shoestring budget, the warden was able to revamp up this facility and oversee the 180 staff and tried to make this turn as efficiently as possible.”
He said that the GEO group has acknowledged that they have selected an excellent team. “They have done an excellent job, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” he said.
“His work is impeccable,” said Galindo.
McDaniel has 18 years of correctional experience and has been employed with GEO since 1998, when he was Chief of Security at the Lawton Correctional Facility in Lawton, Okla.
In December 2000, he was promoted to Deputy Warden at the Grimes Unit in Newport, Arkansas. He transferred to the Central Texas Parole Violator Facility in San Antonio in July 2001.
The GEO Group Inc. began operating all three units at the 3,150-bed Reeves County Detention Center in November of 2003. RCDC I and II operate under a separate contract, staff and facilities from RCDC III, and house U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates.
“GEO” is a world leader in the delivery of correctional and detention management, health and mental health, and other diversified services to federal, state, and local government agencies around the globe. GEO offers a turnkey approach that includes design, construction, financing, and operations. “GEO represents government clients in the United States, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and Canada managing 41 facilities with a total design capacity of approximately 36,000 beds.
Marriages for March 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Mark Anthony Navarrette and Lilibeth E. Holguin.
Jose Juan Garza and Cynthia Hernandez.
Gabriel Aaron Orona and Rhonda B. Landa.
Marriages for April 2005, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk’s Office.
Manuel Salas Jurado and Paulita Rodriguez.
Ricardo D. Herrera Jr. and Rebecca Brito Dominguez.
John Almeida II and Vanessa L. Baca.
Divorces for April 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District’s Clerk’s Office.
Jose N. Varela and Mary Chavez Varela.
Lois Elaine McCray Muro and Manuel Guadalupe E. Muro.
Norma Ann Alvarado and David Lee Alvarado.
Blanca Estella Hernandez and Oscar Flores Hernandez.
Divorces for May 2005, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk’s Office.
Michelle R. Carrasco and Rodney Carrasco.
Josefina G. Salcido and Joe M. Salcido, Jr.
Manuela Gomez Garcia and Emilio Serrato Carrillo.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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