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Archive 2001

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Friday, September 7, 2001

RCDC guard, inmate arrests formally made

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- A former Reeves County Detention Center employee and three inmates were arraigned yesterday on drug charges, resulting from federal indictments returned on Aug. 30.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt set a bond on the defendants yesterday and the former RCDC employee is out on a signature bond.

A federal grand jury had indicted two former guards at the Reeves County Detention Center for allegedly accepting bribes from inmates to smuggle drugs into the facility.

Three inmates were also indicted along with the guards on charges of offering bribes and attempting to smuggle cocaine and marijuana into the Pecos prison facility in early July.

RCDC guards Jerry Hernandez and Pearl Ramos were indicted on separate charges _ Hernandez for conspiring with inmate Raul Carrillo-Lozano to smuggle cocaine into the prison and Ramos for conspiring with inmates Frederico Echeverri-Gomez, Alejandro Rocha-Mendoza and Reinaldo Ramirez-Vangrieken to smuggle a pound of marijuana into the prison.

Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officials reported the arrests in the Ramos case on Thursday, but provided no information in the incident involving Hernandez.

The three inmates are being held without bond, while Ramos is out on bond on a signature bond.

"This investigation started on July 12 of this year," said Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Lieutenant Lorenzo Arredondo.

He said that it was a joint investigation with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, the Office of the Inspector General out of El Paso, the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office.

"This operation led to the arrest of Ramos and three inmates," said Arredondo, who added that the arrests concluded the undercover investigation the group had been working on.

Ramos, 43, 2417 S. Eddy, Pecos, a former RCDC employee, was arrested for possession and smuggling of one pound of marijuana into the prison.

"This was a successful operation which led to the arrest of several individuals and through the cooperation of several agencies," said Task Force Commander Gary Richards.

"Working together we can bring the individuals to justice and hopefully get some of these drugs off the streets," he added.

Ramos' indictment stated that she was working at the prison under the authority of Hernandez, and had previously accepted bribes totaling $1,600 to smuggle contraband into the prison. In the latest incident, the grand jury charged that Carrillo-Lozano, Echeverri-Gomez and Ramirez-Vangrieken solicited Ramos to smuggle the marijuana into the facility in exchange for a payment of $500.

Ramirez-Vangrieken and Ramos engaged in a conversation about the plan on or about June of this year, the indictment said, and the inmate provided Ramos with a drop location for the marijuana. Ramos then went to that location on July 2 to drop off the marijuana after it had been brought into the prison.

Ramos, 43, of 2417 S. Eddy St.; Echeverri-Gomez, 38, of Miami, Fla., Rocha-Mendoza, 29, of Mexico and Ramirez-Vangrieken, 30, of Mexico all are charged on Count One of the five-count indictment. The three inmates are charged in Count Two with offering Ramos the bribe and in Count Four with attempting to smuggle the marijuana into the facility, while Ramos is charged in Count Three with accepting the bribe and in Count Five with bringing the marijuana into the RCDC.

The grand jury also returned a five-count indictment against Hernandez and Carrillo-Lozano alleging that sometime in June and July of this year the inmate offered Hernandez $50 to smuggle cocaine into the prison. Count One of the indictment charges that the two had a conversation in the prison on or about June 30, after which Hernandez placed a call on July 2 to a person identified in the indictment only as "Manny" and that he spoke with that person on July 3 about obtaining the cocaine.

Carrillo-Lozano, 41, of Rio Bravo., Mex., was charged in Count Two of the indictment with offering the bribe to the RCDC officer, while Hernandez, 27, of 415 S. Oleander St., was charged in Counts Three and Four with agreeing to accept and accepting the $50 bribe. Count five charges both men with using a telephone to commit a felony of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

Office of Inspection employee Ron Holland was in charge of the internal investigation that led to the dismissal of the two employees involved.

In a separate incident last week, the drug task force arrested an Odessa man on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

Officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, the Midland County Sheriff's Department and Reeves County Sheriff's Department concluded a sting operation that led to the arrest of an individual from Odessa.

Guadalupe Aranda, 27, of Odessa was arrested for possession of over 100 pounds of marijuana.

"This also led to the seizure of $11,567 in U.S. currency," said Arredondo.

Bond for Aranda was set at $40,500 and he is still in the Midland County Jail.

"He's originally from Kansas, but the sting took place in Midland County," said Arredondo.

Arredondo said that this concluded the investigation and no other arrests were made.

Tax rollback rejected in first area election

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- Voters in the first Texas school district casting ballots in their 2001 tax rollback election have opted to maintain the district's proposed tax rate.

Voters in eastern Upton County voted to keep the Rankin Independent School District's tax rate the same as approved by the Rankin ISD board during voting on Wednesday, in the first of 17 rollback elections for Texas school districts between now and early November.

Rankin ISD voters approved by a 144 to 47 margin keeping the district's taxes at the suggested rate of $1.45 instead of the rollback rate of $1.18 per $100 in valuations.

Joyce Ebridge, Rankin ISD business manager and election clerk, said that the school district is happy with the election results.

"We get to keep what we wanted," she said. "We're delighted it passed."

Ebridge said that Rankin has a certain level of education that the community is used to and if the voters passed the rollback the district would have to consider cutting some programs.

"If this had not passed (the $1.45 tax rate) we would have had to go in and look at some changes and take out certain programs," she said.

Ebridge credits Rankin Superintendent Carolyn Pierel with informing the community of the necessity of the higher rate.

Ebridge said that Pierel met with numerous civic groups and organizations to inform them.

"She did an excellent job," she said.

Three other area school districts - Grandfalls-Royalty ISD, Monahans-Wickett-Pyote ISD and Buena Vista ISD _ have tax rollback elections are scheduled for Saturday, while the tax rollback election for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD is scheduled for two weeks from Saturday, on Sept. 22.

P-B-T voters in northern Reeves County and western Ward County will decide on whether or not to keep the current rate of $1.50 per $100 in valuations or approve the rollback rate to $1.18. The rollback election was triggered automatically under state law, after an increase in mineral valuations in the past year raised projected tax revenues for P-B-T by $2 million, under the $1.50 tax rate.

P-B-T superintendent Don Love said that the state's school funding plan will reduce the district's state funding in 2002 by the same $2 million it will rise this year, and state law also allows tax increases of only six cents per year, if the rollback rate is approved by voters on Sept. 22.

Early voting is currently open for P-B-T voters at the Pecos Community Center on South Oak Street weekdays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. through Sept. 18.

Three jailed following morning drug raid

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- Pecos Police officers were busy this morning executing a search warrant at a home on the east side of town, arresting three men on drug charges.

"We've been receiving a lot of complaints about the activities going on in this house," said Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

Deishler said that the officers had gathered up enough evidence for a search warrant signed by Justice of the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Amonario Ramon.

The officers executed the search warrant at about 11 a.m. at the east side house, where police said the men allegedly were injecting heroin.

"Right now we have three individuals who are being taken into custody," said Deishler.

Arrested at the house located at 315 S. Mesquite St. were Victor Prieto, Alonzo Munoz and Raul Barrera, according to police.

"They were in the process of injecting the heroin when we got here," said Deishler.

Deishler said that the officers found a substance believed to be heroin along with some cash and paraphernalia commonly used in the packaging of the deadly drug.

"After we found the individuals with the substance we found some more heroin inside," said Deishler.

Deishler said that the information the officers gathered led them to believe that this was a major distributing point of the drug. "We found packaging materials and the individuals will be charged with possession with intent to distribute," said Deishler.

The subjects were in a room located behind the main house at the time of their arrest, according to Deishler.

If anyone has any complaints or concerns about illegal activity or the use of drugs in their neighborhood they can contact Crime Stoppers at 445-9898 or the Pecos Police Department at 445-4911.

"They can call us and we'll look into it and they can remain anonymous, no questions will be asked," said Deishler.

Commissioners to vote on golf course expansion

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- Reeves County Commissioners are set to meet and discuss an interlocal cooperation agreement between the county and Pecos Housing Authority (PHA), during the regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday in the third floor courtroom of the Reeves County Courthouse.

The agreement involves land owned by PHA that they agreed to allow the county to use for the expansion of the Reeves County Golf Course.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo has met with the PHA Board of Commissioners several times to discuss the agreement, which would allow the county to develop two new golf course holes on PHA land on the south side of Interstate 20.

The Commissioners are also scheduled to discuss bid packages for RCDC-3 site utilities, water tank and site preparation.

Also on the agenda is a contract agreement between the county and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, as well as an agreement with Ector County Youth Center.

The Commissioners will also discuss numerous request of payments for various projects in the county.

City shuts park after rattlesnake bites Pecos girl

Staff Writer
PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- A teenage girl is in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, following a snakebite incident that occurred this past Sunday at a south side Pecos park, which has now been closed until the problem can be resolved.

"I just want all the parents to be aware that there is a rattlesnake loose out there and that your children might get bitten next," said Pecos resident Sylvia Rubio, the mother of 14-year-old Felicia Marie Chavez.

Rubio said that her daughter and her friends were at the "Rocket Park," located on Moore Street next to the Athletic Pool, on Sunday evening when the incident occurred.

"They never heard it, but once she got bitten, it started rattling," said Rubio.

Rubio said that the rattlesnake bit her daughter right above the ankle. "The snake bit her and she just kicked it out of the way and that's when they heard the rattling," said Rubio.

Rubio said that all the teens ran from the park as soon as they heard the snake and went home. Chavez went to Reeves County Hospital for treatment, but was later flown by AeroCare ambulance to Lubbock on Labor Day, the condition of her leg worsened.

"She was in the hospital in Pecos Sunday night and then Monday, they decided she needed more medical attention and they flew her to Lubbock," she said.

Chavez will be undergoing surgery Saturday and again the following day. "They'll do half of it, and then do the other half on Sunday," she said.

Rubio said that her main concern right now is that the snake is still loose at the park.

"I'm just worried because this can happen to someone else," said Rubio. "And the doctors told me that it was possibly a baby snake, which they think is worse than an adult snake bite."

"I'm just glad we got her here in time, because they said she could have lost her leg," said Rubio.

Rubio said that on that day city employees had been cleaning the park and had piled debris on one side, which means the rattlesnake could have been hiding in there.

Rocket Park is located on the southwest side of Maxey Park, and just east of the Pecos Municipal Airport runways. Along with the Athletic Pool, baseball and softball fields, along with several mobile homes, are located in the nearby area.

Town of Pecos City Health and Sanitation Director Armando Gil said that he didn't have any information on the incident, but that he was going to look into it.

"If it's a baby snake, then that means that there's a den somewhere there," said Gil.

Gil said that he and his employees would be out at the park this afternoon looking for the rattlesnake or a den of snakes.

"We'll go out there and look for it, but in the meantime we'll close the park and post some signs to let the public know that there is a dangerous rattlesnake out there," said Gil.

Gil said that he was going to take all measures and precautions with the situation. "We're going to try and not let this happen again," said Gil.

NRA banquet set Saturday in Monahans

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- The Sandhills Friends of the NRA Banquet will take place Saturday night at the Ward County Convention Center. Tickets are $20 each or $35 per couple. Representatives of the Pecos Rifle and Pistol Club will be attending.

Anyone interested can call Smokey Briggs at 445-5475 or to purchase tickets individually call 943-5248 or 943-7516.

TxDOT to offer toll-free reports during winter

PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- Winter may seem like a long way off with 100 degree weather in the Trans-Pecos, but the Texas Department of Transportation announced this week that drivers will have a new 800 number to call this winter to get condition reports on highways throughout Texas.

"Motorists can call a 1-800 number for information on road conditions statewide," said Glen W. Larum, the Odessa District Public Information Officer. "They will hear a narrative overview of road conditions throughout Texas, than can ask for a more focused regional report."

The hotline number is 1-800-452-9292. The TxDOT Odessa District number, (915) 498-4696, will also provide condition reports weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and computer users can get state road conditions over the Internet at


PECOS, Fri., Sept. 7, 2001 -- High Thurs. 105. Low this morning 75. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows around 60. SW winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat.: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 80s. North winds 5 to 15 mph. Sat. night: Partly cloudy. Lows 55 to 60. Sun.: Mostly cloudy. Highs around 80.

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Pecos Enterprise
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 2001 by Pecos Enterprise