Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, August 2, 2001
McLaren group set to begin trial in Midland court
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- Jury selection and jury trial has been set
for Monday for members of the Republic of Texas, including their leader
Richard McLaren on federal weapons charges.
A trial on charges of violating the National Firearms Act against McLaren,
his assistant, Robert "White Eagle" Otto, and three other Republic members,
Richard Frank Keyes, Greg Paulson and Karen Simon Paulson is scheduled to
begin before U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson in Midland on Monday. The
federal weapons charges are separate from the state charges for which McLaren
and the others were later convicted of following the standoff.
The former Republic of Texas leader Richard McLaren and several of his
associates declared themselves prisoners of war, before U.S. Magistrate Durwood
Edwards in U.S. District Court in Pecos during their hearing in May.
Edwards ordered McLaren and four others detained pending their August
trial on federal weapons charges, stemming from the 1997 standoff with Texas
Rangers and other state law enforcement officials near Fort Davis.
May's bond hearing was held at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse
in Pecos. It was the same site where McLaren's run-in with Judge Bunton five
years ago over illegally filed liens on property in the Davis Mountains helped
spark the week-long standoff at McLaren's compound southwest of Fort Davis
between April 27 and May 3, 1997.
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
a provision of 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 was ordered arrested by Bunton in April 1996 after failing to
respond to a judgment against him for filing $1.8 billion in false property
liens. When he failed to abide by the terms of his agreement with Bunton
that allowed his release in June of 1996, a second arrest warrant was issued
in December 1996. McLaren remained at his compound for the next four months,
until neighbors Joe and M.A. Rowe were kidnapped on April 27, 1997, leading
to the standoff with law enforcement officials.
Kidnapping convictions against McLaren and Otto were overturned by the
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in El Paso, and are pending an appeal by
the state in Austin, while the Eighth Circuit's judges upheld the kidnapping
conviction of Keyes.
Spilled food from crashes on interestates
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- Overnight accidents on Wednesday and early
this morning 40 miles east and 40 miles west of Pecos damaged some
food products causing a delay in shipments within the past 24 hours.
The first accident occurred at approximately 5:30 a.m., on Wednesday when
a portion of the Ben E. Keith tractor-trailer carrying various food products
flipped on its side on Interstate 20 near Monahans.
Pecos Health Department Director Armando Gil said that the truck, which
had two trailers attached, was traveling from Abilene to Pecos when the accident
"The back trailer uncoupled from the main trailer and just flipped over
on its side," he said.
Gil said that some of the food packages broke open during the accident
so only 90 percent of the total load was salvageable.
He said that the driver of the truck was not injured in the accident and
the tractor-trailer and food was sent back to Abilene for redistribution.
The second accident occurred at just after midnight today when a tractor-trailer
carrying canned sliced jalapenos rolled on its side at mile marker 192 on
Interstate 10, about 12 miles west of Balmorhea.
Gil said that the truck belonged to Hothi Trucking Company out of California
and he believes the truck was coming from Monterrey, Mexico, where the jalapenos
are canned. But Gil said he did not know where it was going.
Gil said that none of the canned jalapenos were damaged in the accident
and are able to be redistributed.
"The product was not damaged at all," he said. "It was 100 percent salvageable."
Gil said that the tractor received most of the damage from this accident,
while, "The trailer is in fairly good shape," he said. The driver of the
vehicle was reported to have been slightly injured in the accident.
The Hothi tractor-trailer is currently at B&B Wrecker until the company
can send another tractor to continue the journey, according to Gil.
Pair protests arrest, denies federal marijuana charges
By JENNIFER GALVAN
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- After almost two months in the Reeves County
Jail, Luis Ernesto "El Negro" Valeriano-Valles continues to wait to
see what will happen with his case.
Valeriano-Valles had been a fugitive since 1999, when he was charged with
possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a major federal conspiracy
He was named on four counts in the 15-county indictment and appeared in
court in late June after being arrested in Presidio. Following a detention
hearing before U.S Magistrate Judge Durwood Edwards at the Lucius Bunton
Federal Courthouse in Pecos, Valeriano-Valles was ordered held without bond
pending trial in U.S. District Court in Pecos on federal drug charges.
He denies the charges and said he was illegally taken from Mexico and
turned over to the Presidio County Sheriff's Department
On June 14, Valeriano-Valles was taken from his son's home in the colonia
de Emilano Zapata in Mexico while barbecuing, and taken across the border
to Presidio, then returned to the U.S. after running back across to Mexico.
"I was at home when the two Federal Agents from Mexico came to get me,"
Valeriano-Valles said. "They had some drugs they wanted to sell. I told them
that I did not do that any more."
Valeriano-Valles said that they then took him to the Rio Grande border
where a Presidio County Sheriff's deputy was waiting for them. He asked the
two agents what was going on and at that point the three men asked him not
to move, aimed guns to him and handcuffed him.
"The two federal agents from Mexico then handed me over to the Sheriff
deputy and walked off," Valeriano-Valles said. "When the deputy had me, I
was able to get loose and still handcuffed I ran back across the border to
When first hand cuffed, Valeraino-Valles said that the asked them what
they were doing and as he spit on them and called them dirty pigs they began
to hit him.
"They hit me not once, but several times," Valeraino-Valles said. "They
wanted to make it seem like a movie."
As Valeriano-Valles ran back, he said that the deputy yelled back to the
agents who where halfway gone that he had gotten way. The agents then turned
back and meet him halfway and brought him down, cuffing his feet and the
three men then put Valeriano-Valles into the car.
As Valeriano-Valles drove in the deputy's car, he recalls asking who the
deputy was and what was going on.
"The guy told me to be quiet and later he introduced himself as Fernando
Valenzuela," Valeriano-Valles said.
As the two drove down the road, Valeriano-Valles said the car that they
were in started to overheat so they stopped and waiting to meet another vehicle
carrying Presidio County Sheriff Marcos Baeza.
"When I saw Marcos, I asked him to call my family and let them know what
was going on," Valeriano-Valles said. "In English, Valenzuela told Baeza
not to call my family. I do not know how to speak in English but I can understand
it a little."
As the two left in one car, according to Valeriano-Valles, Baeza had to
return because the car started to heat up again.
A fourth man then took Valeriano-Valles to Alpine, where he had some charges
against him for marijuana.
However, Valeriano-Valles said that during his bail hearing before Judge
Edwards in Pecos they said that he was here because immigration had brought
At this time Valeriano-Valles said that the government of Mexico has found
one of the two federal agents who were involved in this matter.
"I have not had any legal problems in Mexico," Valeriano-Valles said.
"Every one has helped me in Ojinaga. I have had public official from Mexico
come and visit me."
Valeriano-Valles said that his family is taking the whole situation pretty
"It does not bother me what is happening to me here," Valeriano-Valles
said. "What bothers me is the way I was brought here. I feel for my mother."
Valeriano-Valles said that all he wants right now is his freedom and does
not care about the money that he may receive because it would not be money
"I am 44-years-old, I am not made for this any more." Valeriano-Valles
said. "Once you go try to straighten out, they try to find a way to bring
you back. Hopefully, I get sent back to Mexico."
Valeriano-Valles also said that he has heard that he has been accused
of laundering money.
"I can not be laundering money," Valeriano-Valles said. "I have a house
on a small ranch where I raise stock and harvest. You can say that I live
With three children going to school in the states, Valeriano-Valles said
that he always pushed them away from him when he was in the business and
he hopes the best for them.
Butterfield Festival in Monahans this weekend
By LINDA STEPHENS
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- The annual Butterfield and Wagon Festival
officially kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in Monahans with the
festival parade through downtown Monahans, while other events are planned
for the Ward County Coliseum.
The West Texas Trailriders, who will participate in Saturday's parade,
began their 30-mile ride through Ward County this morning, leaving from Barstow
and heading east along Business I-20.
Food and craft vendors and special games will be set up at the coliseum
on south highway 18. Contests feature Horse Shoe Pitching, Turtle Racing,
Washer Pitching, a Talent Contest and Sidewalk Chalk Drawing.
For those with a taste for real Texas barbecue, Melvin Craft is cooking
up the brisket. Plates, which will include beans, potato salad and cobbler
will be just $5 per plate, with half-portions available at just $3 each.
Serving is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday in the coliseum.
Entertainment, sponsored by County Judge Sam Massey, will feature cowboy
humorist, Biscuits O'Bryan, renowned cowboy poet, Mike Loving and Cowboy
Music Association Top Female Vocalist, Jean Prescott.
The rising stars of rodeo will be featured in a bull ride spectacular
at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Monahans rodeo arena, located next to the Coliseum.
Top college riders from all over the nation will challenge the bucking bulls
in an eight second duel. Following the initial competition, the top bull
riders will be featured in a short round. Professional rodeo clowns will
entertain the crowd all the while protecting the riders.
As a special "mutton bustin'" treat, Ward County's future cowboys will
saddle up their wooly steeds and take to the arena and an All-Kids Rodeo
is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night in the rodeo arena. It is open to ages
three through 20.
Tickets at $5 each will be available at the gate. For entry information,
call Jimmy Price at 943-5513.
After Saturday's bull rides, festival-goers can dance under the stars
to the country and western stylings of Jerry Duggan or just sit back and
listen. Tickets are $5 each for adults; children six and under are free.
Ticket information on all these events is available at the Chamber of
Commerce, 943-2187. Tickets may also be purchased Saturday at the Chamber
booth, located just inside the coliseum.
PHS orientation for school year set for next week
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- Pecos High School will be having Orientation/Registration
at the Pecos High School Auditorium next week.
Seniors will have orientation at 10 a.m., on Tuesday, Aug. 7; Juniors
will register at 1 p.m., on Aug. 7; Sophomores at 10 a.m., on Wednesday,
Aug. 8 and all freshman at 1 p.m., Aug. 8.
Students must bring completed registration form to receive a schedule.
Please bring your lunch application to orientation.
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 2, 2001 -- High Wednesday 103. Low this morning 75.
Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 70s. Southeast wind
5 to 15 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. High 100 to 103. South to southeast
wind 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear. Low in the mid 70s.
Saturday and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 70s. Highs 100
Christina Sanchez and Alberto Varela, Sr.
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