Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, May 17, 2001
Eight plead guilty from March drug sweep
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 -- Several individuals have already pled guilty
and are awaiting sentencing on drug related charges in connection with
federal indictments returned in February, according to United States
Attorney Jeff Parras.
Parras said that eight individuals out of 11 named in an indictment and
that were arrested in March have already pled guilty and are just awaiting
The arrests were made after a Federal grand jury in Midland returned a
12-count sealed indictment on Feb. 21, charging 24-year-old Jose "Josecin"
Sanchez of Presidio, (the alleged leader of the organization) and 11 other
people with transporting some one to two tons of marijuana from Ojinaga,
Mexico to Odessa.
The indictment was unsealed in March by U.S. Magistrate Judge Durwood
Edwards in Alpine and contained a charge of conspiracy to possess with the
intent to distribute a controlled substance and substantive charges of possession
with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.
It alleged that the defendants, operating between June 1998 and December
1999, smuggled hundreds of pounds of marijuana at a time across the Rio Grande
at various low water spots near Presidio. After concealing the marijuana
inside vehicles, they transported it to Odessa. The indictment also alleged
that in carrying out their distribution scheme, the defendants would also
use "scout" vehicles to alert the "load" drivers to open checkpoints or law
enforcement presence on the highway. If convicted, the defendants face between
10 years and life in Federal prison.
Jose Sanchez, 24, and Yesenia Sanchez, 29 both have pled guilty and are
Carlos Molinar Sanchez, 23, and Isidro Sanchez, a.k.a. "Chilo", 42 both
have a trial set for June.
Christina Rios, 28, Rachel Borunda, 32 and Carlos Huerta, 24, all have
Carlos Molinar Sanchez, 23, Michelle Porras, 26, of Odessa will be going
to trial in June.
Jose Gonzales-Montanez of Midland and 20-year old Jose Sotelo of Odessa
both have pled guilty, while Clay Sanchez, of Chihuhua, Mexico remains a
The federal grand jury indictment in the Pecos case involved 21 counts
against 14 individuals for conspiring together to transport some three to
four tons of marijuana from Ojinaga, Mexico, through Presidio and into Pecos
The indictment contains alleges that this group primarily moved their
marijuana to Pecos where it was stored in underground concrete bunkers before
being distributed to various places in the United States.
This indictment contains charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent
to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to import a controlled substance,
and substantive counts of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled
substance. The defendants face between 10 years and life in Federal prison
in connection with the charges.
The arrested defendants named in the Pecos-related indictment included:
Jose Alfredo Jimenez, a.k.a., "Freddy" 26; Ariel Pando, 25; Yesenia Estrella,
24; Servando Sanchez, 48; Marcia Sanchez, 48; Catalina Gonzalez Sanchez,
33; Karina Acosta-Sanchez, 25; Jeannie Llanez, 28 and Arturo Valdez, 21;
Benjamin Montano, 22; Thomas Herrera and Gregorio Navarrette.
Benjamin Montano, 22 and Yesenia Estrella have already pled guilty and
are awaiting sentencing. Montano pled guilty to a lesser charge and will
receive 5-40 years in prison.
Ariel Pando will have a separate trial, while Javier Sanchez has pled
Two others, Thomas Herrera and Gregorio Navarrette will go to trial on
Unemployment rate for city, county reaches 101/2
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 -- Reeves County's unemployment rate dropped
by over 1 percent in April despite an increase of over 600 people in
the local workforce, with the local jobless rate falling below the
6 percent mark for the first time since December of 1990.
According to figures released today by the Texas Workforce Commission,
unemployment for April stoop a 5.7 percent, a decline of 1.1 percent from
March's 6.8 percent total. The TWC said the county's workforce grew from
6,899 people to 7,539 last month, but that was offset by an increase of 679
jobs, from 6,427 to 7,108.
The county's workforce is about 200 less than at the same time a year
ago, when the jobless rate was 8.8 percent, but the number of jobs in Reeves
County is up by 56 from the same time a year ago, the TWC said.
The 5.7 percent jobless rate is the lowest in almost 10½ years,
since Reeves County reported a 5.8 percent jobless rate in December of 1990.
However, the total number of jobs at that time in the county was 1,100 less
than the TWC reported last month, and the total number of jobs is up by nearly
1,400 from April of 1990, according to figures on the agency's website -
Unemployment for the Town of Pecos City also reached its lowest point
since December 1990, falling from 7.9 percent in March to 6.6 percent in
April. The city's workforce contained 5,870 people with 386 unemployed last
month, compared with 5,382 in March, and 423 people without jobs.
Unemployment in the city was last below 7 percent in December of 1990,
when the rate stood at 6.6 percent. Unemployment for Pecos in April of 2000
was at 10.1 percent, with a larger local workforce but fewer available jobs,
the TWC said.
Rising oil prices both over the past two years have helped cut the city
and county jobless rates by over 50 percent, along with lowering unemployment
across the Permian Basin. The decline in jobless rates 11 years ago also
was related to rising oil prices, as the pending Gulf War with Iraq in January
1991 sent the price of oil up to the $40 level at one point that winter.
Overall, the city and county both continue to have higher unemployment
rates than other parts of the Permian Basin and Texas as a whole. The state's
unemployment rate held at 4.0 percent in April, which was also the jobless
rate a year ago, while the Midland-Odessa area's jobless rate is now below
the statewide average, at 3.9 percent. It was 4.1 in March and 5.6 percent
a year ago.
Loving County and Crane County were the only ones in the area to show
increases in their unemployment rates. Andrews, Pecos and Ward counties showed
jobless rate drops of between 1/10 and ½ percent, while Presidio County
continues to have the state's highest jobless rate, but at 20.9 percent it
was down by one third from the start of 2000.
State to pass Balmorhea `oasis' resolution
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 -- Several representatives from Reeves County
and the City of Balmorhea are traveling to Austin today to meet with
the Texas State Legislature tomorrow at the State Capital in Austin.
Representative Gary Walker is scheduled to read a resolution during a
ceremony tomorrow morning stating that Balmorhea would be designated the
"Oasis of West Texas," according to Balmorhea City Secretary Mary Garcia.
"Representative Gary Walker is actually going to read the resolution so
that it would be formally recognized," she said.
Garcia said that several people would be present during the ceremony including
herself, two Balmorhea City Councilmen, Ike Ward and Ruben Fuentez, the City
Water Superintendent Louis Contreras, the Water District Manager Abel Baeza
and several members of the community.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo, Pecos City Councilman Ricky Herrera
and Galindo's assistant, Randy Baeza will also be in attendance.
The resolution states that being surrounded by the Davis Mountains and
nourished by springs and creeks "the area of Balmorhea has long sustained
human habitation and provided welcoming water for those crossing the arid
stretches of the Trans-Pecos."
The resolution goes on to state that the San Solomon Springs, located
southwest of Balmorhea, is the seventh largest group of springs in Texas.
It has also been the stopping place for many people through many years
dating back to prehistoric times including Spanish explorers and Native Americans
in the 1500s and teamsters traveling between San Antonio and El Paso.
"For millenia, the area of Balmorhea has supported people and wildlife
with its vital springs and creeks, and it is altogether fitting that the
exceptional importance of this locale be recognized," the resolution said.
Garcia said that there has been great response from the citizens to the
"Everybody is very excited," she said. "It'll be great publicity for
Garcia said that there are no city plans at this time to renovate major
parts of Balmorhea, but that several businesses and local people have been
working on cleaning up the town.
"There has been big involvement in the clean up committee," she said.
Garcia said that anyone who is interested in attending the ceremony in
Austin tomorrow is welcome to join.
For more information call the Balmorhea City Hall at 375-2307.
Stockton woman's claims anger local officials
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 -- A letter circulated by a Fort Stockton woman
and published in the city's newspaper last week has angered officials
in Pecos by citing the city's "big youth problems with drugs, alcohol
Over the past few weeks Delfina Huerta has been pleading for support from
the community in getting the Fort Stockton Economic Development Board to
purchase the Apache Theater by demeaning the Town of Pecos City. As part
of her effort, Huerta circulated a letter around Fort Stockton and had it
published in the Fort Stockton Pioneer, stating that the Apache Theater would
close down on May 10 if the citizens did not show support and ask the Economic
Development Board to purchase it.
The letter states the "Apache Theater is closing down on Thursday,
May 10th, if you do not want our city to be like our neighbors
in Pecos, with big youth problems, with drugs, alcohol and gangs. Please
call this members of the Economic Development Board."
Huerta goes on and lists the members of the Economic Development Board
and their phone numbers as well as closing with "Please ask them to help
us to stay open, or for them to buy the theater and run it themselves."
A copy of the letter was first obtained by local officials in Pecos two
Fort Stockton Economic Development Board member and Pecos County Commissioner
Paul Valenzuela said that the FSEDB had nothing to do with that letter or
the letter to the editor in the newspaper.
He said that the board never saw the letter and in fact, until the
Enterprise contacted him, he did not know what was said in the letter.
"I never would have authorized a letter like that," he said.
Valenzuela explained that Huerta's husband was trying to buy the theater
and asked the Board for help.
He said that the Board was planning on helping them purchase the theater
until they found out from the state that they could not due to financial
reasons on the Huertas part.
"The EDC was very supportive of them," he said. "We tried to help her
every way we could."
Valenzuela said that he does not know what information Huerta based her
"She doesn't have her facts right on all of this," he said.
According to the latest criminal statistics given to the Enterprise by
both the Fort Stockton and Pecos Police Departments show that the two city's
crime rates are roughly the same, with Fort Stockton's rate is slightly higher
than Pecos' most recent numbers.
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez along with several employees of the County
responded to Huerta and her statements with a letter to the editor of The
Gomez said this morning that they wanted to respond to Huerta herself
because she acted solely in the circulation of the letter.
In the letter, signed by six other people, Garcia stated that the people
of Pecos did not appreciate Huerta's letter and that every town struggles
with different things.
"Every town has its own problems and in every town people strive to
find solutions," the letter said. "In doing so, we certainly avoid
degrading other people or other communities as you have done ours."
Valenzuela said that all the communities in this area are struggling with
their own problems and must work together in order to survive.
"We're all in the same boat," he said.
Valenzuela also said that he believes that Pecos and Fort Stockton have
a good relationship with each other a praises the elected officials here.
"You have some good leadership over there," he said.
In the letter addressed to Huerta, Garcia also informed Huerta that the
Pecos movie theater is "open and successfully running."
He goes on by stating that the owners and managers of the State Theater,
Lillian and Richard Creasy, are hard working people who are an asset to the
community much like many citizens of Pecos.
"This town consists of many such hardworking people who care for Pecos
and sadly, are not mentioned in your article," the letter said.
The Pecos Enterprise was unable to reach Huerta for this article.
Training session for school board scheduled Friday
PECOS, Thursday, May 17, 2001 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will have board
training beginning at 5:30 p.m., Friday in the boardroom, at 1304 S.
All board members are invited to attend. Four new members were elected
to the P-B-T school board in the May 5 local elections, and attended their
first school board meeting last Thursday.
High Wednesday 101. Low this morning 69. Forecast for tonight: Mostly
clear. Low in the mid 60s. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph: Becoming northeast
10 to 15 mph before sunrise. Friday: Mostly sunny and not as warm. High
in the mid 90s. East to northeast wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly
cloudy. Low in the mid 60s. Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight
chance of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper
50s to the lower 60s. Highs in the upper 80s to the mid 90s.
Frank Glier, Amelia Mora and Jeremiah Natividad
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