Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, August 23, 2001
Canadian company, Heinz to buy Anchor
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A Canadian frozen food company that
produces some major brands sold in the United States has announced a tentative
agreement to buy Anchor Food Products Inc., and its Pecos processing facility.
McCain Foods Limited announced yesterday that the company will acquire
Anchor Foods in a three-party transaction, a deal that also involved the
H.J Heinz Company.
Jeff Richmond, vice president of manufacturing for Anchor, said that
the Follett family, who started and built the company, had been seriously
looking to sell Appleton, Wisconsin-based Anchor since January of this
"The family has really had an interest in selling the business for some
time," he said.
Richmond said that the family had some personal reasons for deciding
to sell, and the offer from McCain and Heinz came at the right time.
"It was really a private decision for the family," he said.
He said one reason for agreeing to t he McCain and Heinz offer was the
family would like to see the company grow.
"They realize in order for the company to really grow they would have
to hook up with a larger corporation," he said.
Richmond explained that Anchor has been in business for 30 years and
started with the founder, Bob Follett, selling frozen fish to restaurants
Since then, Anchor has become a booming business that reached sales
of $503 million in 2000. It opened its Pecos plant in 1990, primarily to
process onion rings for sale to restaurants across the United States. Since
beginning operations in the old Pecos Cantaloupe Co. building, Anchor has
expanded its facility several times and is now Reeves County's largest
employer, with over 750 workers from Pecos and surrounding cities.
Richmond said that the Follett family believes that the company will
continue to grow with the McCain ownership.
"They just wanted to keep seeing it grow," he said.
According to a press release from McCain, the company is the world's
largest manufacturer of French fries and an international producer of pizzas,
appetizers and other frozen foods.
Richmond said that McCain and Pennsylvania-based Heinz have had a partnership
for many years.
He said that McCain produces the food products and Heinz markets those
same products to supermarkets all over the U.S., including Ore-Ida French
Richmond said that as of right now, McCain has no plans to change any
of Anchor's operations in the plants, located in Pecos and Cuauhtemoc,
Mexico or the main production facility and headquarters in Appleton, Wis.
"The plan is to take over the current plans and production," he said.
Richmond said that McCain buying Anchor is a very positive thing.
He said that McCain and Anchor have been competitors for many years
and since 1991 Anchor has increased sales by more than tenfold.
Richmond continued that McCain had become impressed with Anchor and
believed that its operations would be an asset to the company.
"Anchor being sold is a great thing for the company," he said. "It signifies
the great success the company has had."
Richmond said that all three companies are looking forward to the future.
"We look forward to greater things in the future," he said.
According to Richmond, the sale has not been finalized and the sale
should close sometime this fall.
Delay gets RCDC sex case charges dismissed
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A federal court case against two women,
who were terminated from their at the Reeves County Detention Center after
being accused of having sex with inmates at the facility, was dismissed
by U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson on Wednesday.
Furgeson's ruling came following a motion made by the attorneys of the
accused to have their charges dismissed without prejudice because of a
delay in bringing the case to trial. However, Furgeson said the U.S. Attorney's
Office could re-file the charges against both women in the future.
Jay Miller, prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office, told Furgeson
that the case was never put on the docket following the arrests of the
women in early May.
"Both have been out on bond and we really have a strong case," said
Miller said that 115 days had passed without approval for a preliminary
"Basically, nothing has happened and other cases that have occurred
at that location have already gone to trial," said Stephen's attorney,
She said that Stephens has suffered tremendous emotional pain. "This
has been a big strain for her and her family. She has cooperated with the
investigation," said Thurmond.
"We ask that you dismiss this case without prejudice, other cases that
have occurred there have been tried and this is a violation of due process,"
Levario's attorney, Merry Worley, told the judge that it wasn't fair
for this case to be treated unfairly. "My client has been having to seek
protection from her husband and he has been badgering me about when the
case will be resolved," said Worley.
Worley said that Levario can't even live in town anymore and is undergoing
counseling. "She is under a tremendous amount of strain and we really need
to resolve this matter," she said.
"There was a discussion about other cases at the RCDC that have been
brought forth and tried," said Miller, "I think all cases are important,
it's not that we don't think this one is not," he said.
Miller told Judge Furgeson that the two had been arrested with the crime
based on information filed in the courts and following an investigation.
Complaints were filed in federal court against Levario, of 1517 Katherine
St., and Stephens, of 1744 Washington St., in May of this year. Both women
were charged with violating Title 18, United States Code, Section 2246(2)(A)(B),
which makes having sex with an inmate an offense.
According to Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco the investigation
was instigated by information gathered by the prison's internal investigations
"We contacted the Inspector General's Office and they finished the investigation,"
Special Agent Ronald L. Holland of the Department of Justice, Office
of the Inspector General filed affidavits supporting the complaints back
in May. The arrests were made following a check of telephone records, which
showed RCDC inmate Eddie Bonifacio had an "intimate conversation" with
Stephens and also discussed a wire transfer made by Stephens for Bonifacio,
the government alleged in its complaint.
The contents of the phone call led to a search of Bonifacio's cell.
The search revealed $500 and a partial receipt from a jewelry store. A
watch, a necklace and a bracelet were confiscated after the search.
Holland said that the phone call also revealed that Elsa Levario might
have knowledge of the crime.
Holland's further investigation revealed that two inmates, Bonifacio
and Hugo Bonilla, worked in the food service area and frequently did not
finish their tasks by the 7 p.m. deadline when inmates return to their
The two inmates would then stay late to finish and Stephens and Levario
would stay to supervise the inmates.
According to the affidavits it was during these times that the women
had sex with the inmates.
Holland stated that the women provided sworn statements admitting to
Both women were freed on $10,000 bond following their arrests.
At the start of Wednesday's hearing, Furgeson told the attorneys and
both women that he would listen to both sides and that the state, through
the prosecutor, would handle this case in an efficient manner.
"I know it takes a lot out of the defendant, it takes a toll," said
Furgeson. "This case has a unique factor that will put more strain than
the straightforward drug case."
Furgeson later ruled that the case motion to dismiss without prejudice
would be granted. "The state can always re-file, however," said Furgeson.
"If the case is refilled then we would like to move to have expenses paid
for counseling for the two defendants."
The judge said that he would approve the counseling in the amount of
$2,000-$3,000. "I think this will take the pressure off," he said.
"If it is re-filed, I'll approve the counseling and we will fund the
counseling to alleviate the financial burden," said Furgeson.
Amarillo man convicted in pot smuggling case
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- A U.S. District Court jury convicted an
Amarillo man last week of a conspiracy to import 124 pounds of marijuana
into the United States in September of 2000.
Robin Dwain Malena, 29, was found guilty of the charge following a trial
before U.S. District Court Judge Royal Furgeson in Pecos. Sentencing is
scheduled for October, and Malena's attorney, Thomas S. Morgan of Midland,
has filed a motion to withdraw as defense attorney in the case due to Molina's
expressed displeasure with Morgan's handling of the case.
Jurors convicted Malena after Furgeson denied a motion to suppress videotaped
statements made by his brother, Terry Malena, to a Department of Public
Safety trooper following a traffic stop just north of Presidio on Sept.
8, 2000, along with recordings of phone conversations between both Malena
and Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Kevin Cox on Sept. 8, 2000 and
Feb. 15, 2001.
According to court records, Terry Malena was stopped by DPS Trooper
Steve Brockman on U.S. 67 near Presidio for operating a rental trailer
without license tags. Malena told Brockman he worked for his brother's
company, West Texas Landscaping, and the trailer was being used to haul
his brother's pickup back from Presidio, after it had broken down there.
Malena told the trooper he did not have any drugs with him, but during
a traffic stop at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint south of Marfa, agents
uncovered the 124 pounds of marijuana.
Football tickets for Eagle games currently on sale
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- Reserve football season tickets for the
Pecos Eagles' five home games for the 2001 season are on sale for new ticket
holders at the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD business office, at 1302 S. Park
St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Season tickets are $25 apiece for all five home games. People wishing
to buy tickets who were not season ticket holders last year have from now
until the opening game on Friday, Aug. 31, to pick up a full five-game
package at the P-B-T business office.
Pre-district home games on the schedule for the 2001 season are Aug.
31 against Kermit, Sept. 7 against Fort Stockton and Sept. 28 against Monahans,
which is also the 2001 homecoming game. Starting time for those three games
is 8 p.m. Pecos' two home games in District 2-4A play are on Oct. 19 against
Fabens and Nov. 9 against San Elizario. Both of those games will be 7:30
p.m. starts at Eagle Stadium.
Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- Crime Stoppers is asking for the community's
help in locating a fugitive from justice on their "Most Wanted" list.
Sandra Hernandez Avila, 41, is wanted in connection with an original
charge of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
Possible sightings of this fugitive have been in Odessa.
The subject was born Nov. 23, 1959, is 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighs
about 170 pounds, has brown hair and brown eyes.
If you know where this subject is hiding it will be worth a "cash reward"
of up to $1,000 once the subject is in custody.
Call Pecos Valley Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 and you will remain
PECOS, Thurs., Aug. 23, 2001 -- High Wednesday 104. Low this morning 70.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with isolated showers and thunderstorms.
Low in the lower 70s. South wind 5 to 15 mph. The chance of rain is less
than 20 percent. Friday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. Southeast
wind 10 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 70s. Saturday
and Sunday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 70s. Highs in the 90s.
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