Pecos Country History
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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, May 24, 2001
Hearing held on Republic weapons charges
By SMOKEY BRIGGS
PECOS, Thurs., May 24, 2001 -- Five members of the Republic of Texas were
back in U.S. District Court in Pecos today, four years after their
week-long standoff with law enforcement officials near Fort Davis and
five years after McLaren's first court battle with the federal government
McLaren, the self-styled Ambassador of the Republic of Texas, was brought
to court today along with his assistant, Robert "White Eagle" Otto, and three
other Republic members, Richard Frank Keys, Greg Paulson and Karen Simon
Paulson for a detention hearing in connection with the standoff, which occurred
in late April and early May of 1997.
Today's detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Durwood Edwards of the
Pecos Division was on charges that McLaren and the four other Republic of
Texas members violated the National Firearms Act by receiving component to
make bombs, the creation of the explosive devices, possession of destructive
devices not identified by serial numbers and deployment of those devices
for tactical purposes to cause injury or death to the law enforcement officers
who surrounded the compound during the 1997 standoff.
The hearing was delayed 15 minutes this morning pending arrival of all
of the defendants' attorneys. A final ruling by Judge Edwards had not been
returned as of press time.
This morning's hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday before Judge
Edwards. U.S. Attorney Gerald Carruth out of Austin re-read the charges
at the start of the hearing, in which the government stated that Texas Rangers
found nail bombs, a propane tank bomb, gasoline bombs and black power explosives
wired to be set off along a dry creek bed and along the road leading to McLaren's
compound southwest of Fort Davis.
Along with the bombs and bomb-making equipment found by law enforcement
officials following the end of the standoff, Carruth said three handguns
and 11 rifles, some semi-automatic, were found at the compound.
He said in an agreement reached with Karen Paulson in October of last
year, she provided evidence about the chain of command of the Republic of
Texas members, and told federal officials her job was to guard the front
gate to the compound and to defend it if necessary by touching the firing
button for the wired explosive devices.
Paulson said that McLaren and Otto were the Republic's ambassadors, Robert
Scheidt received a rank of captain, Keyes was listed as a lieutenant, Greg
Paulson was a sergeant and she was a private.
Shortly after Karen Paulson gave her statement, Carruth said Greg Paulson
admitted his involvement in connection with the firearms violations, saying
he helped train Republic members in firearms and in the detonation of the
destructive devices. Paulson said he was also involved in discussions on
how to set up the pipe bombs.
During the hearing McLaren and the other defendants' arguments centered
around a lack of jurisdiction by the federal court claiming that they were
prisoners of war and as such were due a hearing under an international court
as provided for by the Geneva Convention.
The detention hearing is required by federal court rules once a person
is taken into federal custody. Until recently the defendants were in state
custody, either serving sentences from state convictions arising from the
1997 standoff in the Davis Mountains, some of which are pending appeal.
McLaren and Otto had their state kidnapping convictions in connection
with the abduction of Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe reversed by the Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals in El Paso, a decision current being appeals by the state
before the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. The two were kidnapped from
their house next to McLaren's compound. Keyes' conviction on the same charge
was sustained on appeal by the El Paso court, while Greg Paulson is serving
an aggravated life sentence and Karen Paulson a 30 year sentence on state
charges related to the standoff. The state cases were tried in 311th
District Court in Marfa.
McLaren also is serving a 12-year federal sentence for mail fraud filed
in the Northern District of Texas, and was cited 1996 by U.S. District Court
Judge Lucius D. Bunton for filing $1.8 billion in false liens against properties
in the Davis Mountain Resort area in a lawsuit brought be Houston-based Stewart
McLaren was arrested by U.S. Marshals in May of 1996 and spent a month
in jail before agreeing to Bunton's conditions for release. When he failed
to live up to those conditions, another arrest order was issued in December
1996. McLaren remained inside his compound near Fort Davis for the next four
months, before the standoff began when the Rowes were taken hostage on April
County, P-B-T cautious on use of tax windfall
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thurs., May 24, 2001 -- Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo doesn't
see any major changes in county spending, despite the pending windfall
in property taxes due to the increase in oil and gas valuations during
the past year, because he's not sure the higher oil and gas prices
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Don Love also plans no major changes
due to the school district's potential tax revenue increase, and added that
even if oil and gas prices stay up, the schools won't see any benefits after
Preliminary valuations released by Reeves County Appraiser Carole King
Markham show Reeves County's valuations are up $134 million this year, while
the P-B-T ISD's valuations grew by almost $150 million due to the rising
oil and natural gas prices. Based on current tax rates, that will translate
into an additional $750,000 for the county, and nearly $2.25 million more
for the school district.
But Love explained that due to the `Robin Hood" school funding equalization
plan passed by the Texas Legislature six years ago, the state of Texas will
take out $2.25 million from the amount of funding they give the school district
in 2003, give or take any changes in the district's average daily student
attendance, on which part of the funding formula is based.
"We could be looking at with a $1.50 tax rate we will get $2.2 million,
but it's a one-year deal," Love said, explaining that the state aid to P-B-T
ISD, which totaled around $ 9 million this year, is based on the total weighted
average daily attendance (WADA) of students in the school district two years
"Next year if we get $2.2 million (in taxes from valuations) the state
will take $2.2 million away from us," he said.
Love added that the school district would have to raise the same amount
of money raised last year in taxes in order to receive the Tier II money,
and he said because of the boost in tax revenues resulting from the hike
in mineral valuations, the district would face an automatic tax rollback
election this year.
"We can't even get it (full state funding) unless we force a rollback
election," he said.
A rollback could cut the district's tax rate by about 15 cents per $100
valuation, but Love said that setting this year's tax rate at $1.50 would
be ideal, because the state will take back their $2.2 million next year.
Under current Texas law, the tax rate could only be raised by six cents the
following years, meaning it would be three to four years before the school
district could return to the present funding levels if voters approve the
rollback. And a sudden drop in oil and gas valuations could leave the school
district facing a $4 to $5 million deficit in 2003.
Love said P-B-T isn't the only school district facing the same potential
problem due to the sudden rise in valuations. "Andrews' valuations went up
by $486 million. That's an extra $7.27 million (in taxes) they'll get," in
2002, before the state takes away that $7.27 million in 2003.
Love said that whatever money the school district does get during the
2001-2002 school year he would focus the spending on improving the district's
facilities and maintenance.
He said that he would like to use the money to fix roofs, replace some
air conditioning and whatever needs to be done around the district.
"This is a golden opportunity to really fix up things that need to be
fixed up," he said.
Reeves County doesn't have to worry about school equalization funding
formulas, but Galindo said he also was looking at the extra funds as not
being a permanent change.
"Given the volatility of the products (oil and gas), it's very difficult
to make structural changes based on a market that could bottom out.
"We'll look to use any windfall to improve the quality of life," he said,
but added they would have to be one-time expenses.
"One of the things we desperately need is a good swimming pool, because
we're having trouble with the Northside pool and the city is having problems
with their pool," he said. "Maybe with us working jointly with the city we
can invest in an Olympic-sized outdoors pool right of U.S. 285.
"It would be something we need to touch base with our constituents on,
on what they would like to do with any windfall for this fiscal year. Others
may have other ideas," Galindo said.
He said that because of the oil and gas price changes over the past four
years — prices were at a inflation-adjusted historical low at the end
of 1998 — he didn't think cutting taxes right now was a good idea.
"We may do a temporary cut in taxes this year and find the oil money
is not there next year," he said. "We have cut taxes by a few cents since
I took office, and I think the community supports a gradual reduction in
taxes and then keep it that way, and not a flip flop where we have to raise
the tax rate back up."
Meanwhile, the Town of Pecos City doesn't have the same tax windfall situation,
since almost all the increase in oil and gas valuations came from land outside
the city limits. Due to the tax abatement Pecos gave Anchor West for it's
factory expansion, the city's tax base actually shrank slightly this year,
but City Manager Carlos Yerena said that he is not worried.
"It just reinforces our commitment to economic development," he said.
Yerena said that the city has been working towards economic development
in order to better the community and quality of life.
"We're going to try to do is be very aggressive with economic development,"
Yerena explained that the city wants to help local businesses and bring
more businesses and families into town.
"Economic development is very important to the community," he said.
Annexation is also one of the top priorities for the city, according to
He said that the city is working toward annexation nearby sections of
the county "so we can grow."
The Reeves County Hospital District's valuations also went up this year
by the same $134 million as Reeves County did, but Hospital Administrator
Robert Vernor said he has not had a chance to go over the valuations.
Vernor said that he and the RCH Board of Directors would discuss what
would be done with the money sometime in the future.
Reminder about juvenile curfew issued by police
PECOS, Thurs., May 24, 2001 -- Pecos Police Department would like to remind
the community that with school out after today, curfew hours for minors
are 10 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
and continuing until 6 a.m. on the following day; and 12:01 a.m. until
6 a.m. on any Saturday or Sunday.
Please assist the Department in the compliance of this ordinance.
If you have any questions concerning the curfew ordinance, contact Patrol
Lieutenant Tony Dawdy at 445-4911.
High Wednesday 102. Low this morning 60. Forecasr for tonight: Partly
cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low 55 to 60. East
wind 5 to 15 mph. Friday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of
showers or thunderstorms. High near 90. Southeast wind 5 to 15 mph.
Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers or
thunderstorms. Low around 60. Saturday: Partly cloudy. High in the
upper 90s. Sunday: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms.
Low around 60. High 90 to 95.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report
is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves
County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies.
The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either
traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered
arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were
paid. In such instanced we will indicate payment and release.
Edward Villalobos, 35, was arrested at 12:45 a.m., on May 14 in the
600 block of South Sycamore Street for public intoxication, evading arrest
and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Paul Marquez Abila, 21, was arrested at 1:24 a.m., on May 21 in the
100 block of East Ninth for driving while intoxicated.
Lionel Pando, 29, was arrested at 7:47 p.m., on May 19 at Seventh
and Martinez for driving with a suspended license.
Gilberto Hidalgo, 22, was arrested at 8:41 p.m., on May 19 at Washington
and Eddy Streets for two DPS warrants for speeding and failure to adjudicate.
Florentine Salcido, 38, was arrested at 11:21 p.m., on May 19 in the
500 block of North Willow for assault under the Family Violence Act, a Class
Imelda Garcia, 43, was arrested at 1:19 a.m., on May 20 at La Officina
on two warrants for Capias Pro Fine.
Rosa Hernandez, 37, and Gilberto Lopez, 63, were arrested at 1:45
a.m., on May 19 at La Officina both for public intoxication.
Maria Carrera, 33, was arrested at 9:50 a.m., on May 18 in the 800
block of Eddy Street on a warrant for parole violation.
Jose Flores Jauregui, 39, was arrested at 6:25 p.m., on May 17 in
the 1600 block of West Sixth Street for evading.
Annette Viscara, 30, was arrested at 3:48 p.m., on May 17 at Veterans
and Bickley Streets for driving while intoxicated refusal.
Mathew Armendariz, 20, Herby Armendariz, 49, Vicky M. Renteria, 39,
and Rhonda M. Renteria, 18, were arrested at 2:21 a.m., on May 23 in the
2300 block of Texas Street. Mathew Armendariz was arrested on an Ector County
Sheriff's Office warrant for motion to revote probation, driving while intoxicated
and failure to ID to a Peace Officer. Herby Armendariz was arrested for
public intoxication. Vicky Renteria was arrested for abuse of aerosol paint
and inhalant paraphernalia while Rhonda Renteria was arrested for abuse of
Jimmy Ray Patterson, 28, and Dell Ray Barney, 48, were arrested at
9:12 a.m., on May 22 at Flying J Truckstop both for disorderly conduct (fighting).
Both were issued fines and released.
Eric Armendariz, 19, was arrested at 8:51 p.m., on May 21 in the 2100
block of Johnson Street on a Sheriff's Office warrant for enticing a child.
Esmeralda Morena, 20, was arrested at 12:57 a.m., on May 22 at Anchor
West on a police department warrant for criminal mischief.
A male juvenile was arrested at 11:26 a.m., on May 21 at Pecos High
School for assault causing bodily injury (Class A).
Rigoberto Perez, 24, was arrested at 7:14 p.m., on May 23 at Walthall
and Oak Streets on a warrant for motion to revoke/assault causing bodily
Benito Salcido, 61, was arrested at 7:41 p.m., on May 23 in the Bob's
Thriftway parking lot a two warrants for seizure of vehicle and delivery
Anthony Dick, 20, was arrested at 11:20 p.m., on May 23 at the bus
station for public intoxication.
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