Pecos Country History
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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
February 26, 2001
Police continue hunt for suspects in drug round-up
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 26, 2001 - Local law enforcement agencies are continuing
to look for suspects in connection with an investigation that led to a
major sweep and over a dozen arrests around Pecos on Friday.
"We're continuing with the investigation and there will be more arrests,"
said Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney about the raids, which involved a
series of teams of area law enforcement agents who fanned out around Pecos
beginning just before sunrise.
The teams included Pecos Police officers and Reeves County Sheriff's
Department deputies, as well as officers from other area agencies, including
the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, 143rd District Attorney's office,
U.S. Border Patrol, West Texas Narcotics Task Force and the Lee County,
N.M. Drug Task Force.
"We're very pleased with the turnout in the apprehension of these individuals,"
Most of the arrests were separate incidents, where officers were able
to get in contact with the known drug dealers and smugglers within the
Pecos area and made drug purchases from these dealers, according to McKinney.
"These arrests will make a huge impact, because we're sending a message
to the drug dealers," said McKinney. "It tells them that we're always out
there, that there are dedicate individuals on the job."
McKinney said that there were also some weapons seized when search
warrants were served and that the individuals arrested are facing state
weapons charges at this time.
A full list of charges was unavailable at press time on Friday, but
Sheriff's Department officials today identified those arrested in the separate
narcotics search warrants as Diane Salas, 32, who was charged with delivery
of a controlled substance; Bobby Olivas, 25, possession of a controlled
substance; Jesse Ephriam, 50, possession of marijuana under two ounces;
Dewayne Walker, 38, possession of a controlled substance; Joel Mendoza,
19, possession of a controlled substance; Tressa Jenkins, 21, possession
of a controlled substance; Josie Varela, 43, delivery of a controlled substance;
Amelia Montes, 23 possession of a controlled substance; Enrique Sais, 49
was arrested on a Motion to Revoke for an original charge of burglary of
a building; Dorothy Smith Walker, 46, possession of a controlled substance;
Roberto Garcia Mendoza, 42 was arrested on a Motion to Adjudicate, possession
of a controlled substance; Fernando Orona, 41, delivery of a controlled
substance; Gabriel Martinez Ramirez, 30, Motion to Revoke and Grace Gurule,
29, delivery of a controlled substance.
Most of those arrested were picked up at their homes and then transported
to Reeves County Jail, though at least one was arrested at his place of
business Friday morning and a juvenile was arrested at the Lamar campus
on the north side of Pecos. The adults were transported to Reeves County
Jail, while the teen was taken to the Reeves County Juvenile Detention
McKinney said the motion to revoke charges resulted from earlier incidents
"There are more arrests coming, stemming from our investigation," said
McKinney. A total of 15 out of the 22 people sought by police were apprehended
"This investigation was an ongoing undercover narcotics investigation
that we've been working on diligently," said Trans Pecos Drug Task Force
Commander Gary Richards. "Most of these drugs are coming into the community
through Mexico, since we're so close to the border."
Richards said that their main goal is to stop the flow of drugs into
the community. "This will also impact the Midland-Odessa area, where there's
also a steady flow of narcotics," he said. A major round up of suspects
on drug charges was conducted on Thursday in Odessa.
Richards said they want to stop this flow and send a message to the
major drug dealers in the West Texas area.
City, county able to avoid post-holiday slump in jobs
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, February 26, 2001 - January's unemployment figures produced some
good news for Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City, as both was hit
only slightly by the normal post-Christmas trend of rising unemployment
rates, while adding over 175 new jobs to the local labor force.
The county's jobless rate was up two-tenths of a percent in January,
from 7.5 to 7.7 percent, while the city's unemployment rate rose from 8.6
to 8.8 percent last month, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce
Commission on Friday. That compared with an increase of half a percent
for the Permian Basin as a whole, seven-tenths of a percent for all of
Texas and eight-tenths of a percent for the Midland-Odessa area, which
saw the most layoffs in the region due to businesses cutting staff after
the Christmas shopping period.
Reeves County's labor force grew from 6,820 workers in December to
7,030 last month, while the number of jobs climbed from 6,307 to 6,488,
the TWC said. The local labor force is down by 150 from January of 2000,
but the total number of jobs in the county is up by 30, which has allowed
unemployment to decline from 11.3 percent a year ago.
In Pecos, the total number of jobs in January was 5,006, while there
were 5,491 people in the city's labor force. In December, there were 5,325
in the labor force and 4,866 with jobs, while a year ago the workforce
included 5,718 people, with 4,982 of those employed.
Continued improvement in the local oil and gas industry has helped
the area improve on its jobless rates over the past two years, and while
most cities and counties did see a rise in unemployment last month, all
are down sharply from January 2000's totals.
Midland has added 1,600 jobs in the past year and has seen its unemployment
drop 2.2 percent; Odessa's job total is up by nearly 1,200 from a year
ago while unemployment has fallen from 8.1 to 5.1 percent. Unemployment
rates for Andrews and Monahans are down four percent, Kermit was down three
percent and Fort Stockton two percent from last January, though all four
towns suffered a slight loss in jobs, the TWC reported.
Meanwhile, based on the Workforce Commission's numbers, Loving County's
labor force is booming. The nation's least populated county only had 106
in their workforce a year ago; that was up to 145 in January, while the
total number of jobs has grown from 99 to 138, dropping unemployment from
6.6 to 4.8 percent.
At the other end of the scale, Presidio County continues to have the
state's highest jobless rate. Unemployment there grew from 24.7 percent
in December to 26.4 percent last month, though that's still well below
the 31.8 percent reported in January 2000.
Employment within the county has fallen in the past year by over 400
jobs, but the local workforce has declined by more than 750 during that
same span. And January's numbers are up from December, when the county's
labor force was down by 1,000 and the total number of jobs was off by 550
from the start of the year.
Eagles take 7th at state swim finals
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, February 26, 2001 - Pecos was well represented at the state capital
this weekend when the Pecos High School Swim team made waves at the Class
4A & under State Swimming and Diving Competition.
Both the boys and girls teams traveled to Austin to compete in the
second annual state meet for non-Class 5A schools, with the boys finishing
seventh overall with 86 points while picking up a third place relay and
second place individual medal for the second year in a row.
"I thought we did a good job," Eagles' Head Coach Terri Morse said.
"I'm real proud of the kids."
Morse said she and the team had expected this year's meet to be faster
than last year's and were focused on going and improving their times.
"It was a little faster than we anticipated," Morse said.
The Eagles finished two spots lower than a year ago, when they placed
fifth in the inaugural Class 4A state championships. Southlake Carroll
won Saturday's finals with 192 points to runner-up Cedar Park's 169. Except
for Pecos, all of the Top 10 finishers were from big city or suburban schools.
"It's tough when you get down there," she said. "People are there to
swim and swim fast."
Morse said that the kids were able to go and seriously compete with
the tough teams.
Pecos was also represented the region well on the final day of swimming.
"We had the most kids in finals out of our region," Morse said.
Morse said she believes her swimmers have had a great year and believes
that next year the kids will push themselves more to get faster.
"I thought the kids had an awesome year," she said. "I think our kids
realized that they had to get faster."
"We got faster because we had to get faster," Morse said. "That's what
you have to do to compete."
Morse said that she hopes to raise the level for not only high school
swimming but also age group and junior high swimming.
Morse said she is real pleased with the way the swimmers competed at
state and also said that a few team goals were broken which not only pleased
her but also the team.
Balmorhea boys fall in playoffs to Westbrook
PECOS, February 26, 2001 - The Balmorhea Bears' boys' basketball team saw
the Westbrook Mustangs break open a close game in the third quarter on
Friday, and go on to score a 76-53 win over the Bears in the area round
of the Class A-Division II playoffs.
The Bears trailed by only one point after the first period and were
down by just a 35-27 margin at the half when they were outscored by Westbrook
24-8 in the third period, to balloon the Mustangs' lead up to 24 points.
Westbrook went on to claim the Division II-Section III title on Saturday
with a 74-61 victory over D'Hannis. Balmorhea ended its 2000-2001 season
with a 17-4 record.
PECOS, February 26, 2001 - High Sunday 74. Low this morning 37. Forecast
for tonight: Cloudy with scattered showers. Areas of fog after midnight.
Low 40 to 45. South wind 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain is 30 percent. Tuesday:
Mostly cloudy with scattered showers and a few thunderstorms. High 65 to
70. Southwest wind 10 to 20 mph becoming northeast late. Chance of rain
is 30 percent. Tuesday night: Cloudy with scattered showers. Low 35 to
40. Chance of rain is 30 percent.
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