Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, September 8, 2000
City seeks exemption to build new landfill
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - Town of Pecos City Council has approved allowing
Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil to continue negotiations with
several engineering firms on proceeding with an application for an Arid
Exempt Landfill Permit.
The vote was taken in the special meeting on Tuesday to seek the Arid
Exempt Landfill Permit, which allows the city to build a landfill without
Pecos was unable to receive this permit a few years ago because of a
shallow water table, which is contaminated. The lack of an exemption sharply
increased the cost of the city's then-new landfill trench.
Gil said at that time the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission
(TNRCC) believed the water table had been contaminated by a previous landfill.
Gil said they performed a source demonstration where they tested the
water and ground around it.
"We were able to prove to TNRCC that the water was not contaminated
by the landfill," he said.
After TNRCC saw that they have now allowed Pecos to pursue applying
for the permit.
Gil said the city is actually applying for two permits - one for a Type
I Landfill that accepts "household" garbage and another one for a Type
IV Landfill that accepts construction and demolition debris. He said operating
those without a liner is less expensive with less work.
"To operate with a liner, it would cost the city from $900,000 to a
million a year," he said. "It entails a lot of work."
"It would probably bring the cost of operation under $350,000 to $400,000
a year," Gil said.
The $1.2 million cost of a lined landfill trench built in the early
1990s led the council to opt against building a second trench. The city
instead contracted with Duncan Disposal to haul trash to the company's
regional landfill near Penwell, but a recent rate increase request by the
company led the council to take a new look at getting an arid exemption
Gil said TNRCC requires that an engineering firm submit the information
for the application and told the council he has discussed cost of putting
the information together with two firms, Spencer and Associates of Pecos
and Mid-Tex Engineering out of Abilene.
After discussing the fees with both firms, Gil said Mid-Tex gave a lower
The council approved Gil to go ahead and discuss fees with several different
Gil said he would have to negotiate with the firms and come back to
the council with his recommendations.
He said he is trying to save as much money as possible.
"What we're looking at is basically what's best for the city," Gil said.
"We're just looking to try to save the city as much money as we can."
The council also discussed the agreement with Corplan Corrections for
the construction management of the Municipal Law Enforcement Center with
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney.
McKinney recommended the city start with a 96-bed facility then look
again in about a year and consider any possible expansion to the facility.
The council tabled the item for lack of information until City Attorney
Scott Johnson is present.
Herrera given 11 years in bond fraud scheme
By ROSIE FLORES and PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - Former Pecos bail bondsman Joey Herrera was
sentenced Thursday to 11 years in a Tennessee state prison, plus a fine
of $80,000 for his part in a scheme to create false death certificates
for three men facing drug charges in the Nashville area.
Davidson County District Judge Cheryl Blackburn handed down the prison
term after hearing testimony in a sentencing hearing, said District Attorney
John Zimmerman. Several people from Pecos testified in the hearing.
Herrera, who also ran an insurance agency in Pecos and was a former
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board president, pleaded guilty in March to
several counts, for which the possible prison time is 8-12 years. As part
of the plea agreement, he stipulated a number of facts relating to the
crimes he was charged with.
Zimmerman said that he required the stipulation of facts to ensure that
Herrera could not later claim the state of Tennessee had convicted him
for something he did not do.
Zimmermann said in early March 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 District Clerk's office
said Herrera pled no contest to the last two counts, according to records
filed with them on March 3, 2000.
"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 at
the time. Herrera's trial had been scheduled to start on March 6 before
Blackburn, along with that of a co-defendant, Gilbert Wiebe.
Herrera was arrested in February 1999 and was charged with helping two
employees of Paul's Bonding Co. of Nashville produce death certificates
for four men, including Gilbert's brother, George Wiebe, with the final
incident coming as part of a sting operation by law enforcement officials.
According to records filed in Blackburn's court, Herrera contacted Paul's
Bonding Company to write bonds for several Hispanic individuals who had
been arrested and charged with crimes in Davidson County. In May, 1998,
Paul's Bonding Company was ordered, as surety, to pay a judgment for the
final forfeitures of Rosendo Ramirez, in the amount of $5,000 and Louis
Rodriguez, in the amount of $53,000, after Both defendants had failed to
appear in the Nashville court. The final forfeiture judgments had been
continued for a period of 30 days until July of 1998.
In June of 1998 Peggy Coleman, the manager of Paul's Bonding Company,
delivered in the Clerk of the Davidson County Criminal Court death certificates
for Rosendo Ramirez and Louis Rodriguez reflecting that both individuals
had "died" in Mexico. Subsequent investigation revealed that the death
certificates were false and fraudulently made with forged signatures of
the public officials from Mexico.
At about the same time, George Wiebe was charged with possession of
over 300 pounds of marijuana and bond was set at $500,000. Paul's Bonding
Company again acted as surety for the bond at Herrera's request. Wiebe
was released from jail, and at his first court appearance on Sept. 30,
1998, an employee of Paul's Bonding Company presented a death certificate
for Wiebe, also apparently issued from Mexico.
Following an undercover sting investigation, co-defendants Peggy Coleman
and James Farrell were arrested and charged with money laundering and fabricating
evidence on Dec. 11, 1998. During the arrest of the defendant Farrell a
search warrant was executed at the Paul's Bonding Company office. Police
seized the office files for the cases of Ramirez, Rodriguez and Wiebe.
Copies of the Mexican death certificates filed in court for these individuals
were in the office file for Paul's Bonding Company. A "post-it" note was
found attached to the death certificate for Ramirez with a notation, which
read, "Good Luck, Joey." The defendant Herrera referred to himself in communications
with Paul's Bonding Company as "Joey."
Herrera was unaware of the arrests of Coleman and Farrell when he was
contacted by co-defendant Peggy Coleman, at the request of the law enforcement
authorities in February 1999. He was told that a final forfeiture was to
be paid by Paul's Bonding Company on Feb. 24, 1999, for the bail bond in
the amount of $50,000 in the case of State v. Reyes Castro, who had failed
to appear in Davidson County Court. According to court records, Herrera
volunteered to obtain a phony Mexican for Castro for a fee of $15,000,
the funds being paid from police department funds.
Herrera claimed that the money represented only half of what was to
be used to pay the requested fee of Mexican officials to prepare the phony
death certificate, the remaining half he said he would pay by himself since
he had recommended the bail bond.
Herrera then delivered a Mexican death certificate for Castro to Paul's
Bonding Company, by fax and UPS overnight delivery.
Along with the false death certificates, Zimmermann and the Davidson
County District Attorney's office said the money laundering charge was
based on evidence that discussions between Herrera and agents of Paul's
Bonding Company revealed that Herrera was going to receive a $250,000 fee
for obtaining the release of George Wiebe.
Wiebe is a member of a large-scale drug ring operating out of Mexico.
Court records show he is a fugitive from justice in Kansas City, Kan.,
pending a federal indictment for trafficking in marijuana, prior to his
arrest in Nashville, and he is a fugitive from justice from Davidson County.
George Wiebe's brother, Jonathan, was arrested on June 29, 1999, in
Presidio, during a border crossing from Mexico while transporting over
300 pounds of marijuana and is presently detained pending a sentencing
hearing for that offense. He also has been indicted with his brother, George,
in the federal indictment in Kansas City.
Herrera agreed to split the $250,000 paid by Wiebe's associates with
the agents of Paul's Bonding Company. Co-defendants Coleman and Farrell
would receive $125,000 of which $50,000 was to be reported as the premium
for the $500,000 bond, leaving co-defendants Coleman and Farrell with $75,000
to split as undisclosed and unlawful profits for making the Wiebe bond.
State law prohibits the bail bonding company and its agents from receiving
any funds in excess of the statutory premium of $50,000 plus a $25 administration
According to the court records, On July 1, 1998, co-defendant Farrell
obtained the release of Wiebe by signing as surety, though no funds had
been received for the premium. Co-defendant Farrell was instructed by defendant
Herrera to keep Wiebe in his office until he received a call from Herrera
that the money had been received as promised. Wiebe's son, Gilbert Wiebe,
also was present at Paul's Bonding Co. at the time.
After obtaining the release of George Wiebe and securing him in the
office of Paul's Bonding Company, Herrera was contacted by phone and notified
of the situation. George Wiebe then contacted someone in El Paso, and assured
them that he had been released from jail. Herrera then told Farrell that
he would call back as soon as he had gone across the border to obtain the
$250,000 in cash since the people paying the money did not want to bring
the cash across the border.
About three hours later, Herrera contacted Farrell and advised him that
he had the $250,000 in cash in U.S. currency and that he could release
George Wiebe from his office.
Arrangements were made for Farrell and another employee of Paul's Bonding
Company to meet Herrera in Midland, the following day to receive their
share of the money. Herrera later admitted to police that he did in fact
deliver the $125,000 in U.S. currency to Farrell in Midland and that he
had received this cash from across the border and smuggled the same into
The currency delivered by Joey Herrera to Farrell did not contain bank
wrappings, but rather was wrapped in rubber-banded amounts in various denominations
and constituted drug proceeds from the criminal organization that Wiebe
Farrell then purchased a car to drive the currency back to Davidson
County where a portion of the funds were posted on the company books reflecting
the statutory premium and the remaining funds were split between Farrell
Herrera has remained in custody of Tennessee officials since his bond
hearing on March 29, 1999. Documents filed in a pre-sentence investigation
revealed that Herrera had been convicted in 1991 of bribery. The conviction
was removed from his record after a pre-trial diversion.
Grass fire near Santa Rosa gets inside building
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - Firefighters were busy Thursday afternoon
putting out a structure fire on the east side of town that was first believed
to be a grass fire.
The call came in to the fire hall at 4:56 p.m. that a grass fire was
burning behind Santa Rosa Church on East Fifth Street.
"We only responded with two units, because at first it came in as a
grass fire," said Pecos Volunteer Fire Chief Roy Pena. "When we were on
our way, they stated that there was a structure involved."
"We usually roll all six for a structure fire," he said.
Pena then alerted two more units and the emergency unit to the site,
where grass around an old building being used as storage caught on fire,
and then ignited the building.
"It was just being used as a storage building, luckily nobody was inside
and nobody was hurt," said Pena.
The fire chief said the building was full of boxes of clothes, mattresses,
old television sets and other items.
"There was a big hole on the outside of the building and weeds and grass
were growing outside and towards the inside of the house," said Pena. "The
grass caught fire and spread to the inside of the house."
It took firefighters about 25 minutes to extinguish the flames and put
out the fire.
Earlier that day firefighters were called out to the 300 block of West
"They called us about 11 a.m., that smoke was coming out of an apartment,"
said Pena. However, firefighters didn't have to extinguish anything at
"Somebody had left something in the oven and when we got there everything
was okay," he said.
Pena added that his department is still seeking addition funds to buy
accessories for their new Rescue Cam, which would help in locating people
inside smoke-filled buildings.
"However, some of the accessories did not come in with the camera, they
weren't part of the package," said Pena. "We are still trying to raise
funds for the accessories and if there's anything left over, hopefully
it will go towards another one (camera)."
Firefighters will be having a drawing on Sept. 23, at city hall. Individuals
have a chance to purchase tickets for three different prizes including
$100 worth of gas, $100 worth of lottery tickets or $100 worth of groceries.
"We already paid the $15,500 for the Rescue Cam itself and now just
need more funds for the accessories," said Pena. "We hope to start raising
funds for another one."
Tickets can be purchased for 3 for $1 from any firefighter or by going
to the fire station located on Cedar Street.
Youngsters will also be going door to door to sell the tickets this
Pena stated that they are planning a presentation of the camera on the
day of the drawing. "We are still working on the location, so it won't
be a danger to the residents," he said.
Pena said that firefighters are willing to do a demonstration with the
Rescue Cam for anyone in the community who wants to see how it works.
Tarin seeks to get water to cemetery
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - Watering at the Balmorhea Cemetery will soon
get a little bit easier.
"I'm working on implementing a tank out there so it won't be a problem
to the citizens to go out there and water," said Reeves County Commissioner
Precinct 3 Herman Tarin.
Tarin stated that in the meantime, anybody wanting to water at the cemetery
can contact him and he will assist them. "They can just call me, I'm in
charge of it now, and I'll be glad to help out," he said.
Anyone wanting to water at the cemetery at anytime can contact Tarin
"We're working on getting a tank set up out there, and we hope to do
this soon," he said.
X-Men saga comes to screen
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - X-MEN, a common name among children of all
ages, has now come to the big screen and can be seen and heard (halleluiah)
at the newly renovated State Theater today, Saturday and Sunday. Of particular
note is the greatly improved sound system that renders the softest whispers
audible to the audience.
This classic comic book series has been transformed into a visual wonderment
under the direction of Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) and Newton
Thomas Sigel (Apt Pupils).
The storyline seems to come right out of an X-MEN comic book but that
might have something to do with X-MEN creator, Stan Lee, being an executive
For those who don't know about X-MEN this movie is about mutants
with various powers and how they struggle with humans to be able to live
without fear of persecution. As the movie progresses it also deals with
the mutants own insecurities and fears of day-to-day living.
Lee's characters all come to life one by one with an elaborate display
of lighting, camera angles, costuming, dialogue and acting.
The opening scene introduces the audience to the soothing voice of…Captain
Patrick Stewart, who is better known as the Captain of the Starship
Enterprise in the television and movie series Star Trek: Next Generation,
plays the wheel-chair bound and telepathic Professor Charles Xavier more
commonly known as Professor X.
Stewart shows his extreme talent for acting by making one almost swear
that his character was specifically written for him.
Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters), who portrays the villain Magneto,
allows the audience the pleasure of hating him while understanding his
motives to his evil ways.
The most enjoyable performance, though, came from Australian actor Hugh
Jackman performs in his American debut as Wolverine, the solitary man
who possesses amazing healing powers and retractable claws.
Jackman's Wolverine, who is quite charming and somewhat cute if he would
just get a new haircut, seems to have all the funny lines in the movie
and pulls them off well.
This performance by Jackman could very well make him the next up and
coming leading man in Hollywood.
The male side of our species might be interested to know that Halle
Berry (Boomerang) plays Storm, who has the ability to manipulate and control
all forms of weather.
Other performances include Anna Paquin (The Piano) as Rogue, Famke Janssen
(Goldeneye) as Dr. Jean Grey, James Marsden (Gossip) as Cyclops, Rebecca
Romijn-Stamos (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) as the metamorph
Mystique, as well as former pro-wrestler Tyler Mane as Sabretooth.
The most interesting cast member is Ray Park as Magneto's flunky the
Now this is the interesting part _ Park recently made his motion picture
debut as Sith Lord Darth Maul in the 1999 blockbuster Star Wars: Episode
I The Phantom Menace.
The movie itself could have used a few more action sequences but more
than made up for it with the cinematography.
The lighting was wonderful with nice placement of shadows bringing more
anticipation to the storyline.
Camera angles and movements were exceptional. Tight close ups and scenes
shot at various angles brought more emotion and desperation to the scenes.
Overall the most exciting technical aspect of the movie is the special
These effects are seen every time a mutant uses their power and during
fighting sequences. For example, the filmmakers were able to turn Romijn-Stamos
into anything and anyone and showed Cyclops' power of destroying anything
with his eyes.
For all the die-hard X-MEN fans, the movie is left wide open for a possible
All in all, X-MEN is well done and worth seeing once if not twice and
leaves you wanting special power like the famous characters.
I know I left the theater wanting to be like Storm so maybe we could
get some rain here every once in a while.
Billy Lively Rochelle, 87, of Kermit, died Thursday, Sept. 7, 2000, at
Kermit Health Care Center.
Graveside services were held at 3 p.m., today, at Kermit Cemetery with
Rev. Trey Turner officiating.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Willie Rochelle in Carlsbad,
N.M., on July 2, 1992.
She was born Dec. 4, 1912, in Monroe, La., was a homemaker, a Kermit
resident for 43 years and a Baptist.
Survivors include one brother, Louis A. Lively of Monahans and one sister,
Daisy Roberts of Monroe, La.
Cooper Funeral Chapel, Inc., of Kermit is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, September 8, 2000 - High Thursday 106. Low this morning 67. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the upper 60s. Southeast wind 5-10 mph.
Saturday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. South wind 10-15 mph. Saturday
night: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 60s. Sunday: Partly cloudy. Low in
the mid 60s. High in the 90s.
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