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February 27, 2001

Six stores caught in TABC weekend sting

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 27, 2001 - Six stores out of over two dozen targeted in a sting conducted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission face fines, citations and possible jail time for their employees after they were allegedly caught selling alcohol and/or tobacco to minors.

Sgt. Terry Parsons of the TABC office in Odessa said a total of 27 businesses were targeted in the sting, which took place during the late afternoon and evening hours on Saturday. Of those stores, 25 were in Reeves County.

"We went to one place in Winkler County we had received a complaint about while we were on the way over there," he said. "We went up to Orla and Mentone, but those places were closed, and we went to Balmorhea, but only one place was open, so we did not make buys in all the places we went to."

Of those stores that were open, Parsons said four sold alcoholic beverages to a minor and three sold cigarettes. "The minors were a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old, so it was not like we used someone close to 21. They were both juveniles," he said.

"Investigator John Deering is over there today serving administrative complaint notices to the stores," Parsons said. "We didn't tell them at the time what we were doing to avoid jeopardizing the case. Once you tell someone what you're doing word gets out pretty fast."

The businesses cited by Parsons were the I-10 Truck Stop in Balmorhea for selling alcohol to a minor, the Town and Country Convenience Store at 13th and Cedar streets for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors, the Flying J Truck Stop on I-20 for selling alcohol and tobacco to minors; Herrera's Grocery at 303 N. Cedar St. for selling alcohol to a minor; Raul's E-Z Stop and Third and Locust streets for selling alcohol to a minor and the Quick Stop at Third and Eddy streets, for selling tobacco to a minor.

Parsons said the other Town and Country in Pecos, on I-20 at Country Club Drive, refused to sell alcohol or tobacco to the juveniles sent into the store by the TABC, as did the other carry-out locations in Pecos checked out by the agency.

Parsons said the four stores that sold alcohol to the juveniles face administrative action, including a possible suspension of their alcohol sales permit. "Those cases will probably be presented the first part of next week to the county attorney's office," he said. "They'll have a hearing and they can take a chance on beating it, if they want.

"The clerks who sold the alcohol face a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a fine of under $4,000 and up to one year in jail," Parsons added. The clerks in stores who sold tobacco face a Class C misdemeanor, which should be filed in Justice of the Peace Court this week, and carries with it a fine of up to $500.

Action against the stores for the tobacco sales to minors will be forwarded by TABC to Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander's office, which handles tobacco-related sales violations, Parsons said.

Borger man jailed in I-20 pot seizure

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 27, 2001 - One man was arrested this morning and a total of 263 pounds of marijuana was confiscated after a routine traffic stop early this morning on the southwest side of Pecos.

Antonio Nabarro, 29, of Borger, was arrested at 3:30 a.m., today after Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Officer Arnulfo Rivas discovered 21 bricks of marijuana in his 1994 white Jeep Cherokee.

Commander Gary Richards said while conducting the traffic stop at mile marker 39 of the east bound lane of I-20 Rivas discovered the drugs inside the vehicle.

"While talking to the driver, Officer Rivas was overwhelmed by the smell of marijuana," he said.

Upon searching the vehicle, Rivas found three duffel bags and two burlap bags full of marijuana packages worth an estimated street value of over $130,000.

Richards said the discovery was a rare case for the Task Force because the drugs were "right out in the open."

"Basically the officer was just overpowered by the odor," he said.

It is believed that Nabarro was coming through this area from Mexico and heading toward the Texas Panhandle.

Nabarro has been referred over for federal charges.

The Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Pecos Police Department assisted in the arrest.

This morning's drug arrest comes following Friday's round-up of 15 people by local law enforcement officials in Pecos, 13 of those on drug-related charges and two others for probation violations. Local law enforcement officials were also involved in the arrest of three other people on Thursday in Ward County on cocaine possession charges.

The three were arrested in Monahans as a result of a joint investigation between the Ward County Sheriff's Department, the Monahans Police Department and the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.

Jorge Martinez, 25, John Wells, 40, and Julie Derrick, 20 were arrested on February 22 in the 800 block of Gary Street in Monahans following a traffic stop.

All three were charged with delivery of a controlled substance, cocaine, over four grams while Martinez was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, one-gram of cocaine.

The three were arrested following a two-month investigation.

Martinez was released Friday on a $10,000 bond for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) under one gram-felony and a $25,000 bond for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) over four grams-felony two.

Wells was released on Friday on a $5,000 bond for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine)-felony two, and Derrick also was released Friday on a $25,000 bond for delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine) over four grams-felony two.

Council to discuss water field, annexation lawsuit at meeting

Staff Writer

PECOS, February 27, 2001 - The Town of Pecos City Council is scheduled to discuss a pending litigation between the city and local resident Hugh Box during executive session of a special council meeting at 8 a.m., tomorrow morning in Council Chambers at City Hall.

City Manager Carlos Yerena said that the litigation involves the proposed annexation sites the city has been considering.

Council members discussed annexation of lands within the current city limits during two workshops held March 13 and 14 at City Hall. During the second workshop, the council heard from attorney Walter Holcomb, representing several community members, who said they should consider dropping the annexation after hearing the public comments. He added that if they vote to continue the annexation plan, they should prepare for a lawsuit.

City Attorney Scott Johnson said that the city would not respond to threats and told Holcomb to begin the paperwork for the lawsuit.

In other action on Wednesday, the council will discuss approving the groundwater exploration report of the construction of seven test holes and one test production well in the South Worsham Water Field area as well as considering authorization to initiate negotiation with landowners for the acquisition of addition land as recommended by hydrologists. The city is currently trying to develop replacement water fields for the current Worsham and Ward County fields that supply Pecos with its drinking water.

The council was told in 1994 the two fields could only supply enough water to the city through the year 2008, and has been working towards development of a new water field since then.

RCH board to study policies on substance use, harassment

PECOS, February 27, 2001 - Reeves County Hospital District board members will discuss/adopt a resolution for a flexible benefits plan for hospital employees and discuss substance abuse and harassment policies for the hospital during their regular monthly meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the classroom at Reeves County Hospital.

Board members will also officially order an election for May 5 and name judges and clerks for the election during this evening's meeting. The positions in Precincts 2 and 4 held by Marcella Lovett and Holly Key will be up for election on May 5.

In other business, the board will:

· Discuss a transfer agreement with Pecos Nursing Home;

· Discuss conducting a feasibility study for providing dialysis services at RCH;

· Discuss TexPool Resolution amending authorized representatives;

· Discuss banking resolution;

· Advertise for bids on oil and gas lease for Sections 65 and 66, Block 112, W.N. Holder Survey;

· Discuss sale of properties at 605 N. Palm St., 1101 S. Locust, 2025 S. Eddy, 616 Ross Blvd. And Abstract 1831, Block 49-8, Section 10, T&P (495 acres farm land).

Also on the agenda are public comments, a report from the RCH auxiliary, the Joint Conference Committee Report, the monthly tax report and payment of bills, along with financial statements and budget amendments, the medical staff and administrator's reports.

Fed court to hear P-B-T student's suspension case

PECOS, February 27, 2001 - A scheduled 10:30 a.m. hearing this morning on the status of a temporary injunction against the suspension of Pecos High School student Cortney Freeman from extracurricular activities in Reeves County Court-At-Law was canceled and the case has been transferred to U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah Athletic Director Lawrence Williams suspended Freeman on Feb. 19 over his involvement in a Jan. 28 drug-related incident that occurred off-campus. The injunction blocking the suspension was issued last Wednesday by County Court-At-Law Judge Lee Green, and allowed Freeman to participate in this past weekend's Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, where he earned a bronze medal as a member of Pecos' 200 medley relay team.

No date for the federal court hearing on the case had been scheduled as of late this morning, according to the U.S. District Clerk's office.

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