Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 7, 2000
Herrera facing 8-year term, $90,000 fine
By JON FULBRIGHT
MARCH 7, 2000 - Pecos bail bondsman Jose T. "Joey" Herrera will have
to pay a $90,000 fine and faces a minimum sentence of eight years in prison
after agreeing to plead guilty to seven counts of fabricating evidence
and money laundering, in connection with a scheme to falsify death records
on drug suspects out on bail in Nashville, Tenn.
Senior Assistant District Attorney John Zimmermann said Herrera pled
guilty to four counts of fabricating evidence, one count of conspiracy
to fabricate evidence, and two counts of money laundering. The Davidson
County (Tenn.) District Clerk's office said Herrera pled no contest to
the last two counts, according to records filed with them on Friday.
"We were kind of surprised. We thought we were going to go to trial
and all of a sudden the defense lawyer contacted us," Zimmermann said Monday
afternoon. Herrera's trial had been scheduled to start on Monday before
Davidson County District Judge Cheryl Blackburn, along with that of a co-defendant,
Under the terms of the agreement, all the terms would run concurrently
and Herrera will pay the maximum fine, while Judge Blackburn will determine
the length of his sentence at a May 30 sentencing hearing. Zimmermann said
under the sentencing guidelines, Herrera would receive a term of between
eight and 12 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary.
Herrera has spent the last 11½ months in the Metro Nashville
Davidson County Jail. He was arrested a year ago in connection with an
alleged scheme to produce phony Mexican death certificates for suspects
who had been released on bond from the Davidson County District Court.
A sentencing hearing has been set for May 30 in Judge Blackburn's court,
according to the district clerk's office.
Herrera, who owns the Herrera Insurance Company in Pecos along with
his bonding business, was charged with three other people in the scam.
Two were former employees of Paul's Bonding Co. of Nashville, who allegedly
worked with Herrera to produce the death certificates, in order to persuade
local court officials to drop drug charges against three men whose releases
they had obtained.
Peggy Coleman, 53, former officer manager for Paul's Bonding, was granted
a delay in her scheduled Jan. 24 trial because of lung cancer and heart
problems that have developed since her arrest in December 1998, according
to the Nashville Tennesseean. Records in the Davidson County District Clerk's
office show Coleman also has accepted a plea bargain deal in the case.
The other ex-Paul's Bonding Co. employee charged, James Mitchell (Wolf)
Ferrell, 40, had been scheduled to stand trial with Coleman. A status hearing
on Coleman is still scheduled for March 24. Weibe, the other defendant,
went on trial as scheduled on Monday.
Dust storm blows into Pecos area
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - For the second time in two weeks, high winds
have forced the closing of State Highway 17 due to blowing dusts, while
blowing dust along Interstate 20 and U.S. 285 helped cause two accidents
just outside of Pecos early this afternoon.
Highway 17 was closed to southbound traffic at Locker Road at 11:45
a.m. because of the hazardous conditions, brought on when a cold front
blew into town shortly after 10 a.m.
Conditions were even more severe than on Feb. 22, when blowing dust
brought visibility down to zero along the highway south of Pecos and was
blamed for causing three accidents, one involving a Balmorhea school bus,
along a 15-mile stretch of the road.
A line of cars was backed up at Locker Road at noon today, and forecasts
indicated it was unlikely the road would be reopened until sometime this
evening. Drivers headed towards Balmorhea did have the option of taking
I-20 to Toyah and then going south on FM 2903, where the lack of plowed
fields lessened the blowing dust conditions.
"You can still go through Toyah. It's O.K.," said a spokeswoman for
the Texas Department of Transportation office in Pecos. "It's just highway
17. It's like the other day."
She said the only other problem area TxDOT crews were working on just
after 12 noon was in the construction zone on I-20 at U.S. 285, where a
new entrance ramp is being built. "They have not closed it in the exit
area, but they're going to try and water it down to stop the dust," she
However, the blowing dust also was causing near-zero visibility on I-20
to the west, leading to the early afternoon crash, involving two vehicles
in the eastbound lanes of the Interstate near Mile Marker 37. Ambulance
and fire personnel were called to the scene, along with the jaws of life
to free one passenger reportedly trapped in a car.
A second ambulance call went out 15 minutes later to a wreck on U.S.
285, seven miles north of Pecos.
Today's windy conditions are the worst in the area since May, 1998,
when winds clocked at over 70 miles an hour blew through town, breaking
out windshields and overturning one mobile home near the Pecos Municipal
The wind was blown into the area in between the back edge of the cold
front that is expected to produce severe weather conditions in the central
part of Texas this afternoon, and the front edge of fierce winter storm
that coated the mountains of Southern California and Arizona with snow
and was blamed for at least five deaths.
Three of the dead were illegal immigrants caught unprepared in the high
country east of San Diego. Two other people died in Arizona.
Cloudy skies and warmer temperatures were forecast for today but another,
weaker storm was expected to hit the California coast on Wednesday, the
National Weather Service said.
For a second straight day, snow and rain spread widely and heavily across
Arizona on Monday, breaking up the driest winter on record.
A Phoenix hiker missing since Sunday morning, Jollie Rodman, 30, died
during the night after she and her brother, Charles Adams, 29, became too
cold to move in the Tonto National Forest. Adams was rescued Monday.
Near Casa Grande, about 30 miles south of Phoenix, a van overturned
after hitting a guard rail Monday in heavy rain. One of its 15 occupants
was killed, the Arizona state police said.
Snow pelted Flagstaff and continued through the night, with 15 inches
in the city and at least 21 inches on the San Francisco Peaks.
Schools in the area were closed, and the snow recorded at Pulliam Airport
set a record for the day, breaking the old record of 4.4 inches set in
1980, the National Weather Service said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Early voting for primaries nears 1,150 mark
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - Early voting for next week's primary elections
will come to an end at 5 p.m., Friday, so voters that want to cast their
votes early need to go to the Reeves County Courthouse by then.
So far, 1,142 individuals have voted early for the March 14 Primary
Elections, with 561 mail-outs and 356 mailed back. "We had nine Republicans
(vote early) and three mail-outs and no returns," said Reeves County Clerk
Voting ends on Friday for next Tuesday's primary election. A brief in
Monday's Enterprise incorrectly said early voting would also be offered
Saturday morning. Voters can also go to the polls to vote on March 14,
between 7 a.m and 7 p.m., Florez said.
All candidates in county races are running on the Democratic Party primary,
but Republican voters have the option to cast ballots in regional, state
and national primary races.
Florez also wanted to let voters know that the number on their registration
card does not represent the precinct they live in. Reeves County has 12
voting boxes, which do not correspond to the county's four precincts.
"The number on the voter registration card does not indicate that that's
the commissioner you're voting for," said Florez. "It indicates the box
number that you will be voting in."
Locations of the 12 voting boxes are listed in English and Spanish on
Page 8 of today's Enterprise.
If anybody has any questions regarding voting or their voter registration
cards, they need to contact Florez at 445-5467 or the tax assessor-collector's
Only two commissioners are up for re-election this time _ the seat in
Precinct 1 currently held by Felipe Arredondo and Commissioner, Precinct
3, a post held by Herman Tarin.
Each incumbent has three opponents in next Tuesday's election. Arredondo
is being challenged by Anita Baeza, Jesse Baeza and Roy Pena. Tarin is
opposed by James "Jimmy" Gallego, James H. Thomas and David Pattillo.
Only voters in Boxes 2 and 11 will be able to cast ballots in the Precinct
1 commissioner's race, while the Precinct 3 race is open to voters in Boxes
5, 6 and 10.
The two main countywide races are for sheriff, where incumbent Andy
Gomez is being challenged by Tony Aguilar, and Reeves County Attorney,
where Luis Carrasco is opposing incumbent Walter Holcombe.
Along with the presidential primary between Al Gore and Bill Bradley
on the Democratic side, most local voters will also be casting ballots
for state and area races, including the U.S. Senate, 23rd Congressional
District and 80th District in the Texas House. Voters in boxes
1-8 and 10-12 will be voting in the primary race for District 19 in the
Texas Senate, while Orla voters in Box 9 will cast ballots in the District
28 Senate race.
The primary winners will either advance to the November general election,
or to a runoff on April 11, if no candidate receives 50 percent of the
vote in that race.
Voters in Barstow wanting to cast ballots early in the primary elections
there can cast ballots between now and 5 p.m. Friday at the Ward County
Courthouse in Monahans. Voting next Tuesday will be from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.
at the Barstow Community Center.
Ash Wednesday services planned by area churches
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - Several area churches are preparing to observe
Ash Wednesday and the coming Lenten season.
First United Methodist Church will hold an Ash Wednesday Service offering
imposition of ashes at 7 p.m. The church is located at Third and Elm streets.
Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Barstow will celebrate Ash Wednesday
at 6:30 a.m.
Santa Rosa De Lima Parish, 620 E. Fourth St., will have services and
imposition of ashes at 7 a.m., noon and at 7 p.m.
St. Catherine Catholic Church, Plum and Walthall Streets, will celebrate
Ash Wednesday, at 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Christ the King Catholic Church in Balmorhea has set services for 6
p.m. and Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Saragosa will celebrate
Ash Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The pastor, the Reverend Joseph T. Fields, Jr., the Session and the
entire congregation invites the Pecos community to attend the First Presbyterian
Church's annual Lenten Study which began Sunday, March 5, at 6 p.m. in
the church's Fellowship Hall.
"This study is one of the more creative and informative ways I have
seen to get a better understanding of not only Calvinism, but also the
insights and character of John Calvin himself," said Rev. Fields.
The study was developed and written by the Reverend Harry C. Meissner,
pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Dallas, a good friend and colleague
of Rev. Fields. The original study was presented about 15 years ago, but
was recently revised and updated by Reverend Meissner.
In describing the content of the program, Rev. Fields said: "The study
will be informative, and dare I say, fun. You will learn about the basis
of Calvin's theology and hopefully come away with a better understanding
of what is meant b concepts like: predestination, election, irresistible
grace and the perseverance of the saints."
The study will be every Sunday evening at 7 p.m., from March 5 through
April 9. The First Presbyterian Church is located at 401 S. Plum.
Family in need of help after Friday arson fire
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - An arson fire which occurred late Friday evening
on the east side of town destroyed much of a family's possessions, and
now they are asking for the community's help.
The fire started at about 11:50 p.m., Friday, March 3, at the home of
Javier and Mandy Hernandez, 1223 E. Seventh St.
Nobody was home at the time and luckily nobody got hurt, according to
Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.
All seven fire trucks responded to the incident, and firefighters were
on the scene for about 90 minutes.
"The house was set on fire, so this is an arson case," said Brookshire.
The fire started in one of the bedrooms, traveled to the hall area and
the entire house sustained major heat and smoke damage, according to Brookshire.
The family lost everything in the bedroom, including furniture and clothing.
Mandy Hernandez said her children were left without any clothes, and
now the family is need of some help.
The bedroom furniture, blankets, the carpet, washer and dryer were just
some of the items lost in the fire, according to Hernandez.
The couple have three children, Arsenia, 5, Javier Jr., 4 and Yesena,
Any type of help will be greatly appreciated and the family has opened
an account at Security State Bank, for anyone wishing to contribute to
this young family.
Officials are also asking for help to solve this arson case. If anybody
has any information on this case, they can contact Brookshire at 445-2421;
the Pecos Police Department, 445-4911 or Crime Stoppers, 445-9898.
Herrera files for re-election to city council
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - The third incumbent Pecos City Council member whose
seat is up for election on May 6 has filed for a new two-year term.
Councilman Ricky Herrera joined Danny and Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot
Stafford in seeking re-election to the council. Herrera, who is seeking
his second term on the council, filed Monday with City Secretary Geneva
Martinez, while Rodriguez and Stafford filed last week to retain their
No other candidates have filed so far in the Town of Pecos City race,
and with two weeks remaining to file, only one race locally, for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
school board, is assured of being a contested election.
Along with the city and school, other elections on May 6 will be for
city council seats in Toyah, Barstow and Balmorhea, the Balmorhea school
board and the Reeves County Hospital District Precinct 1, Precinct 3 and
Cotton farmers have one week to destoy stalks
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - Cotton stalk destruction is well underway across
West Texas, and with the dry, open weather, Agriculture Commissioner Susan
Combs says producers should have no problem meeting the March 15 deadline.
Growers in Zone 9 must completely destroy cotton residue before midnight,
Wednesday, March 15 to comply with producer-established stalk destruction
dates to control boll weevils and pink bollworm. Counties in Zone 9 include
Pecos, Reeves and Ward.
"Weather has been excellent for field activities, and stalk destruction
is making good progress in most areas," Combs said. "We should not have
to grant any extensions this year for these counties," she said.
Deadlines for cotton stalk destruction are mandated by regulations adopted
under the Cotton Pest Control Law. Stalk destruction must prohibit any
live cotton plants from remaining after the deadline, and volunteer cotton
must remain destroyed until planting next spring. Shredding and plowing
are the standard destruction methods for Zone 9. Soil should be plowed
to a depth of two inches or more.
On a recommendation of the Zone 9 Cotton Producers Advisory Committee,
the Texas Department of Agriculture also granted the advisory committee
the authority to consider exceptions to the standard destruction methods.
The advisory committee has voted to allow producers with established grain
crops in previous cotton fields to qualify for an exception. An established
grain crop is one that has been irrigated for the purpose of grain production.
TDA regards irrigation of crops as an effective control of the pink bollworm
Growers who believe they may be unable to meet the deadline must obtain
an extension form to submit for an individual extension, postmarked on
or before March 15, to TDA's West Texas Regional Office. Forms may be obtained
from the County Extension office, Farm Service Agency office or TDA.
The request must include the farm operator's or landowner's name and
address, the Farm Service Agency farm and tract numbers, acreage involved,
physical location of the field, county in which the field is located, approximate
time needed to complete destruction of the crop and reason for the request.
For more information, contact the TDA West Texas Regional office at
AUSTIN (AP) - Results of the Cash 5 drawing Monday night: Winning numbers
drawn: 16-22-24-28-37. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner:
$39,610. Winning tickets sold in: Round Rock, Spring. Matching four of
five: 215. Prize: $553.
AUSTIN (AP) - The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Monday by the Texas Lottery,
in order: 5-2-1 (five, two, one)
Juanita S. Riojas
Juanita S. Riojas, 49, died Saturday, March 4, 2000, at Midland Memorial
Hospital, after a lengthy illness.
A rosary prayer service will be held at 7 p.m., today, at the Thomas
Funeral Home Chapel in Midland.
Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 8, at St. Ann's Catholic
Church with Father Artino Pestien officiating. Burial will be in Fairview
She was born Sept. 16, 1950, in Pecos and lived most of her life in
She was preceded in death by one son, Eric S. Hignojoz in 1997.
Survivors include her husband, Angelo Riojas of Midland; her parents,
Benino Sanchez Sr. and Eugenia C. Sanchez of Toyah; three daughters, Monica
L. Hignojoz of Abilene and Stacie Riojas and Kristen Hignojoz of Midland;
eight sisters, Adela George, Josepha Jimenez and Olga Lopez of Pecos, Maria
McComb of Smithland, Kentucky, Senaida Sutton of Corpus Christi, Cruz Millan
of Andrews, Eufemia "Mary" McKern of Salem, Ore. and Anna McIntyre of Lee
Summitt, Missouri; two brothers, Benino Sanchez, Jr. of Pecos and Ramon
Sanchez of Odessa; one grandson; 29 nieces and nephews.
Thomas Funeral Home of Midland is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, Mar. 7, 2000 - High Monday 87. Low this morning 59. Forecast for
tonight: Mostly clear and breezy. Low near 40. West wind 15 to 25 mph and
gusty. Wednesday: Mostly sunny. High in the lower 70s. West wind 10 to
20 mph. Wednesday night: Fair. Low around 40.
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 2000 by Pecos Enterprise