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Tuesday, December 5, 2000

New weapons charges filed against McLaren, followers

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 5, 2000 - Six Republic of Texas members _ including the Republic's self-styled Ambassador Richard McLaren _ face Federal firearms charges resulting from the 1997 armed standoff at the Republic's Embassy near Fort Davis.

On Nov. 14, a Federal grand jury sitting in Pecos, returned a 13-count sealed indictment against six Republic of Texas members including: Richard Lance McLaren, 47; Robert "White Eagle" Otto, 49; Robert Jonathan Scheidt, 46; Richard Frank Keyes, III, 25; Gregg William Paulson, 49 and Karen Simon Paulson (a.k.a. Karen Sperling), 37.

All six are now in custody after Robert Jonathan Scheidt, former Captain of the Republic of Texas embassy guard, was arrested Thursday in Albuquerque, N.M. The indictment was unsealed on Friday at the beginning of a combination transfer and detention hearing. That hearing was continuing yesterday in Federal court in Albuquerque.

Each defendant is charged with conspiring together to violate the National Firearms Act by making, transferring, receiving, and possessing unregistered firearms and firearms not identified by a serial number. Those items include destructive devices, namely explosive bombs, including pipe bombs and components intended for making explosive bombs.

The indictment also alleges the six deployed the destructive devices in tactical manner to cause death or serious bodily injury to law enforcement officers seeking to lawfully arrest the defendants.

Each defendant also faces six individual substantive counts, according to the indictment. They include possession of unregistered destructive devices; unlawful transfer of destructive devices; unlawful making of destructive devises; receipt and possession of destructive devices not identified by serial number; conspiracy to use and carry firearms during a crime of violence; and use or carrying a firearm during a crime of violence. Karen Paulson faces one additional count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.

The defendants were involved in a seven-day armed standoff with Texas Rangers and other law enforcement that began on April 27, 1997. After the defendants surrendered to authorities, a search of the premises revealed an assortment of firearms and numerous improvised destructive devices including pipe bombs, anti-personal explosive devices, a propane tank bomb and five-gallon gas cans wired with detonating devices. In addition, authorities discovered components intended for making explosive devices including black powder, pyrotechnic fuse, electrical wire, batteries, mercury switches (commonly used to detonate explosives) and steel trip wires.

If convicted of all charges, Robert Otto faces up to 70 years in Federal prison; Karen Paulson up to 80 years in Federal prison; and, each of the remaining defendants, up to 75 years in Federal prison, prosecutors said.

McLaren already is serving a 12½-year federal sentence handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Joe Fish in Dallas in 1998 for participating in a fraudulent scheme to distribute $1.8 billion in worthless Republic warrants, which resembled cashier's checks. His wife, Evelyn McLaren, of Fort Worth, and Jasper Edward Baccus, of Dallas, were also sentenced in the same case.

Credit card companies, banks and small businesses lost $426,800 in transactions prior to a federal investigation that shut down the operation.

Before that, McLaren faced a $1.2 million judgment in U.S. District Court in Pecos stemming from an April 1996 suit brought by Houston-base Stewart Title Co. against him for filing false liens on property in the Fort Davis area.

He was arrested by U.S. Marshals outside his house in the Davis Mountain Resorts in May of 1996, and spent a month in jail before agreeing to abide by conditions set by U.S. District Court Judge Lucius D. Bunton III. When McLaren violated those provisions, a warrant was issued for his arrest in December 1997, setting up the confrontation with law enforcement officials four months later.

McLaren and Otto were convicted in 83rd District Court in 1998 of kidnapping Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe from their home in the Davis Mountain Estates, leading to the standoff. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in El Paso later overturned part of that conviction.

No trial date has been scheduled on the latest charges.

The latest case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers. Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Carruth is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Christian Home seeks donations for Christmas dinner

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 5, 2000 - The Christian Home in Pecos needs the community's help once again.

Bruce Dury of the Christian Home said this year's Thanksgiving meal was a record-breaking success, and plans are now underway for the annual Christmas dinner in three weeks

"We had a record turnout for Thanksgiving," Dury said, saying that about 470 people were served at the Reeves County Civic Center two weeks ago, up from the 300 or so served in past years.

"I'm anticipating to top 500 meals at Christmas," he said. "We feed more at Christmas than Thanksgiving."

Dury said each year the Christian Home usually use what is left over from the donations at Thanksgiving for Christmas, but the turnout at Thanksgiving this year used up most of the food supply.

"We didn't have a lot left over," he said. "We used up what we had."

Dury said because of that they need many more donations from the community. That includes plastic silverware packets, 36 gallons of sweet potatoes, eight-5 lb. bags of corn meal, 20 turkeys, one box of carry-out plates, two cans of cranberry sauce, 25 lbs. of flour, 20 lbs. of sugar, four cans of chicken broth and lots of desserts.

"We need to get the word out so we can start collecting this stuff," Dury said.

Dury said the Thanksgiving dinner was such a success because of the number of volunteers that showed up to deliver and serve meals.

"That's what really makes this thing work," he said.

Dury said anybody who wants to volunteer is welcome.

Christmas dinner would be served from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., on Christmas Day at the Civic Center.

Dury said anybody is welcome to come eat dinner with the Christian Home.

"There are no restrictions, no requirements just come hungry," he said.

Friday's Christmas Parade includes bands, floats Santa

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 5, 2000 - Santa Claus will be the leader at the Annual Christmas Parade scheduled for this Friday, starting at 6 p.m.

This year's event will begin at the Pecos High School parking lot on South Park Street. Line-up will be at 5 p.m. and an overall grand prize of $100 will be awarded to the best float.

Two bands will be in the parade this year, the Pecos High School Band and the Crockett Middle School Band. The Color Guard and SWAT Team from the Reeves County Detention Center will join the bands.

Floats already planned for the parade include those from Texas-New Mexico Power Company, Austin Elementary School, Reeves County Hospital, Reeves County, Zavala Sixth Grade Student Council, Pecos High School Student Council and the Lions Club train. Other entries will be the Pecos Volunteer Fire Department, whose trucks will be carrying the students from the Town of Pecos City Youth Advisory. Wal-Mart and the Reeves County Detention Center will also have floats in the annual event.

The Pecos Eagle Mascot will be decked out in holiday gear and will be "roller-blading" with the parade participants.

The parade will begin at the high school, and go east on Washington Street, then north on Eddy Street to Third Street. The parade will travel east on Third to Oak Street, and from there south to the Reeves County Courthouse.

The parade will end on the west side of the courthouse in front of the State Theater, after which the Fourth Annual Christmas Courthouse Lighting Ceremony will take place at 7 p.m., following the parade.

Christmas carols will be sung by the Pecos High School Band and area church choirs. Everyone is invited to come out and join them for hot chocolate and cookies, which will be served during the lighting ceremony and Christmas caroling.

Calls keep firemen busy on Monday

Staff Writer

PECOS, December 5, 2000 - Pecos volunteer firefighters were busy Monday, responding to calls at three different locations in Pecos during a five-hour period.

The first call the crew received was at 11 a.m. to a house in the 2200 block of Cothrun Street, across the street from the Texas-New Mexico Power Company's main office.

"They had an old antique stove and by the time we got there they had pulled it out of the house," said fire chief Roy Pena.

The house sustained minor damage to one wall, where the vents from the stove had burned.

"It burned a hole in the wall, but it was contained quickly," said Pena. "There was just a little bit of damage to the exterior wall," he said.

The group was just getting ready to head back to the main fire station located on Eddy Street when the second call came at 11:30 a.m., to the Dollar General Store, located at 1900 S. Eddy St.

"They smelled something burning in their storage room and called us because they didn't know what it was," said Pena.

The burning smell came from a ballast on the light which had gone out. "We spotted it with the camera and took care of it," said Pena.

The third call was the most serious of the three. It came in at 4 p.m. in response to a house fire on North Ash Street.

"There were two individuals in the home, who are the ones who called us," said Pena. "However, they were out of the house by the time we got there."

Firement was able to employ their new Rescue Cam to locate the main part of fire. "The majority of the damage was done to the west side of the house, that bedroom," said Pena.

Everything on the southwest side of the home burned, which was mostly the bedroom, in which the fire is believed to have started.

"We think it was an electrical problem," said firefighter Arturo Granado.

It took firefighters about 50 minutes to contain the fire at the home. "It took us that long because we stayed there in case there were any `hot spots,'" said Pena.

Enterprise seeking `Letters to Santa' Before Dec. 15

PECOS, December 5, 2000 - The Pecos Enterprise will be publishing its annual "Christmas Letters to Santa" sections in its Thursday, Dec. 21 edition. The deadline for submitting letters to be published is Friday, Dec. 15.

Letters can either be brought to the Enterprise, at 324 S. Cedar St., either on paper or on a computer floppy disk, or can be e-mailed to the paper at


PECOS, December 5, 2000 - High Monday 56.. Low this morning 40. Forecast for tonight: Cloudy and cooler, with a low around 30. Thursday: Cloudy and cool, with a high around 50. Wednesday night: Cloudy and cold, with a low in the upper 20s. Thursday: Partly cloudy and warmer, with highs in the mid 50s.

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Pecos Enterprise
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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