Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Death toll mounts, suspects targeted
Victims reported alive in WTC debris
By BETH J. HARPAZ
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - As hospitals began the grim accounting of the dead and injured
from the airborne onslaught that toppled the World Trade Center, investigators
looked to Florida, Canada and beyond for answers to a single question:
Who could have done this?
The financial capital remained closed after the attack on the twin towers
and the Pentagon. Federal officials said they were not certain when a ban
on air travel, originally slated to be lifted about noon, would be ended.
Thousands were feared dead. On Wednesday morning, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
said there were 41 known deaths so far - clearly, a tiny fraction of the
dead - and 1,700 known injuries. He said 259 uniformed officers, including
police and firefighters, remained unaccounted for.
The mayor said rescuers were still in contact with one person buried in
the rubble. Several police officers were taken from the wreckage, alive.
Authorities gave reporters their first close-up look at the site, and
this is what they saw: Only about seven stories of the north tower remained,
its girders bent outward. The south tower was a two-story-high heap of rubble.
President Bush declared the attacks "acts of war." He said he would ask
Congress for money for recovery and to protect the nation.
The focus of the investigation was on Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden,
who denied involvement, though he "thanked Almighty Allah and bowed before
him when he heard this news" of the attacks, according to a Palestinian journalist.
FBI agents raided the Westin Hotel in Boston's Back Bay, and searched
a room believed to have been rented by some of the suspected hijackers.
Federal officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were
investigating whether one group of hijackers crossed the Canadian border
at a checkpoint and eventually went to Boston's airport, where the two airliners
that brought down the Trade Center were hijacked.
Law enforcement officials were said to be looking at possible bin Laden
supporters in Florida. They were aided by an intercept of communications
between his Florida supporters, and harrowing cell phone calls from victims
aboard the jetliners before they crashed.
The FBI executed search warrants in Davie in Broward County north of the
Miami area, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported, quoting
Miami FBI spokesman Judy Orihuela. The FBI was also seeking search warrants
in Daytona Beach, where a car was towed by authorities, and a nationwide
bulletin was sent out to all law enforcement agencies for two vehicles with
Florida license plates the FBI believes may contain people connected with
Tuesday's assault on American government and finance led the president
More clues pointing towards bin Laden
By JOHN SOLOMON
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Federal authorities are investigating whether suspected
hijackers of one jetliner used in Tuesday's devastating attacks entered
the United States from Canada and may be linked to Osama bin Laden,
law enforcement officials said Wednesday.
The officials cautioned the information, including raw intelligence, was
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were investigating
whether one group of hijackers crossed the Canadian border at a checkpoint
and eventually went to Boston's airport, where an American Airlines flight
was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center in New York.
The officials confirmed a car believed to belong to the hijackers was
confiscated in Boston and contained an Arabic language flight manual.
Law enforcement officials said a hotel room in the Boston area believed
to have been used by one of the hijackers was searched by the FBI Wednesday
afternoon but no arrests were made. The officials said the room was vacant
but included information linking it a name on the manifest of one of the
hijacked flights. They declined to identify the man.
A Venice, Fla., man who was interviewed by the FBI said agents told him
two men who stayed in his home while training at a local flight school were
the hijackers. Charlie Voss said the agents identified the men as Mohamed
Atta and one known as Marwan.
The FBI in Miami issued a national bulletin for law enforcement agencies
to look out for two cars. Records with the Florida Division of Motor Vehicles
show that one of the vehicles the FBI was pursuing - a 1989 red Pontiac -
was registered to Atta.
Authorities also were developing intelligence linking the suspected attackers
to a band of bin Laden sympathizers in Canada, some of Algerian origin, who
are suspected of planning an unsuccessful terrorist attack in the United
States during the millennium celebrations. The officials declined to be more
The FBI has already received more than 700 tips from a special Web site
seeking information on the attacks.
The FBI served search warrants on major Internet service providers in
order to get information about an e-mail address that may be connected to
Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Among those who received warrants was Earthlink,
AOL, the nation's largest provider, said it will comply with requests
The FBI interviewed Voss, the Venice, Fla., about two men who stayed with
him and his wife for a week in July 2000 while taking small-plane flight
training at the municipal airport.
FBI agents "informed me that there
City's fiestas canceled, flight delayed, blood drive set
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- Plans for the 16th of September
Fiesta activities that were planned in Pecos this coming weekend have
been cancelled after Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and at
the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, the scheduled arrival of California pilot Dr. Carlene Mendieta
in her effort to re-created Amelia Earhart's 1928 transcontinental round-trip
flight across the U.S. was delayed again, as she and her 1927 Avro Avian
airplane remain grounded in Hobbs, N.M., under a nationwide ban on all air
traffic by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Father Ben Flores said on Tuesday that this weekend's fiestas, which are
sponsored annually by the Santa Rosa Catholic Churches to celebrate the 16
th of September, or "Diez y Seis," as Mexican Independence Day, will
not be held because of the circumstances the United States is facing at this
"It would be kind of hard on the vendors and everybody to just postpone
them from one week to the next, so we won't be having them next weekend either,"
The group decided to cancel the celebration following the tragedies that
occurred at the Pentagon and New York yesterday morning.
"Right now, we're just offering our prayers for those that are having
to face that personally," said Flores. "Even though we're many states away,
it affects us as well," he said.
Flores said that they would be planning a small ceremony in the future
to recognize the queen candidates and to announce the winners of the raffle
the group had begun to raise money for the church. "These young ladies worked
very hard and we want to recognize them somehow," he said.
"We want to thank all the volunteers and benefactors who worked so hard
to bring this about," he said. "We want them to come together in prayer and
thoughts for those who were so unfortunate," he said.
On that date in 1810, a Catholic priest in Dolores organized a group of
Indians and mestizos to declare independence from Spain and form a new government.
Though their rebellion was squelched and Father Miguel Hidalgo was executed,
others took up the cry for freedom. Within a year, revolution erupted throughout
Mendieta's flight originally was supposed to arrive in Pecos at 10 a.m.
Tuesday, but was delayed, first until 8:15 a.m. this morning and then to
12 noon today while the nationwide flight ban remains in effect. Once the
FAA ban is lifted, it is expected that her flight will take about an hour
to travel from Hobbs to Pecos, on the way west to El Paso and eventually
Blood drive scheduled for next week in Pecos
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- A blood drive is scheduled for next week in
Pecos following one of the most horrifying attacks on the United States
in its history.
People all over the nation have offered to donate blood for the estimated
10,000 to 50,000 victims of Tuesday's terrorist attacks, and Nancy Ontiveros,
Director of Program Development/Community Services at Reeves County Hospital,
said, "Right now we're working with United Blood Services to schedule a
blood drive sometime next week."
"Many individuals who have previously not donated or have missed out
on the last two blood drives that we have had, are eager to donate now,"
Ontiveros said she has had a lot of calls from people who have said that
they are willing to donate blood at this time, because of the national disaster
the country is facing.
"If they do wish to donate before next week, they can do so in Odessa,"
Ontiveros said that United Blood Services in Odessa would remain open
until 8 p.m. through Friday. The Odessa location is 3171 University Blvd.,
Suite 13. "However, if they do want to drive to Odessa to donate blood,
we've been told that there will be a long line," said Ontiveros. "There were
already about 180 people there," as of Tuesday afternoon, she said.
"We're very pleased that people are interested in helping them following
this disaster," said Ontiveros.
Butch Freeman, Community Relations Representation with United Blood Services
said, "They are really keeping us busy."
Freeman is in the Odessa office and said that there were about 200 people
who donated blood yesterday and that the group was expecting that many or
"We'll be scheduling one in Pecos in a couple of weeks, because physically
we just can't handle another there right now," said Freeman.
Freeman said that a group from United Blood Services was in Alpine today
at Sul Ross State University and another group would be in Andrews on Saturday.
"But these are blood drives that were already scheduled," he said.
"Recently we had one in Pecos at the prison and one at the hospital, and
that's part of the problem right now, that we already had some scheduled
in the surrounding communities," he said.
Freeman said that most of those showing up at the Odessa location are
doing so because of the national disaster. "It's great that all these people
want to help out, but we're completely overwhelmed," he said. "Normally we
schedule the individuals who are wanting to donate blood, but because of
this incident they are just coming in and some are having to wait one or
two hours, but they don't mind, because they are waiting that long to donate."
Perry warns price gougers to face fines
From Staff and Wire Reports
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- Price gouging for necessities is illegal after
Gov. Rick Perry declared a state of disaster in Texas following terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.
Mike Viesca, a spokesman for Attorney General John Cornyn's office, explained
that the Governor's declaration activated a portion of the Texas Deceptive
Trade Practices Act that outlawed excessive pricing of necessities including
food, medicine, lodging, fuel and other transportation-related services.
Prices for regular unleaded gasoline jumped about 30 cents in a matter
of hours in Pecos yesterday following the attacks.
Prices that had been hovering around the $1.50 a gallon level for regular
unleaded shot up to the $1.80 mark, while lines formed at stations as drivers
feared further increases today. Instead, prices dropped back down between
20 and 25 cents a gallon this morning, after several local stores were contacted
by the Attorney General's office.
"Most of the complaints we have received have involved gasoline retailers,
rental car companies and hotel/motels," Viesca said.
Viesca said that the Austin office had received more than 200 such complaints
at press time and that regional offices had received many more.
Viesca said that there was no magic definition of "gouging" but that common
sense was a good place to start.
"Anytime a consumer feels they paid too much in this type of situation
they should call the Attorney General's office," he said.
Any massive hike in prices in a short time was a red flag, he said, but
he could not say whether yesterday's prices in Pecos reached the point of
Viesca said that when the Attorney General's office received a complaint
it contacted the vendor and the vendor had to explain the reasons behind
the price hike.
Vendors that are found guilty of gouging face civil penalties leveled
by the Attorney General and criminal penalties that can be leveled by the
local district attorney.
Viesca said that consumers should be able to tell the office the name
and location of the business, the price that was paid and the time the price
was paid when they make a complaint.
He also urged consumers to call if they suspected gouging. To make a complaint
consumers can call 1-800-337-3928 or 1-800-252-8011. The main number for
the Attorney General in Austin is 512-463-2100.
Nationwide, people have been scuffling at the pumps and some have been
arrested as motorists fought in lines.
The Associated Press reported that a Texaco station in Oklahoma City had
increased the price on unleaded to $5 per gallon at one point yesterday,
and another station in Illinois had raised prices from $1.68 to $4 per gallon.
In Mississippi, Attorney General Mike Moore has asked the Governor to
declare a state of emergency so prosecutors there could pursue price gougers.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said that rising prices across the country were
discussed at a Senate briefing Tuesday night and he said that Congress could
take action to stop price gouging.
The nation's largest oil companies tried to allay concerns Tuesday by
freezing their prices and pledging to keep distribution steady.
In Washington, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group,
issued a statement reassuring motorists that there is no threat of a fuel
OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, stated that all
member countries are committed to ensuring that sufficient supplies are available.
Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum, the nation's two largest oil companies,
sought to calm energy markets, telling traders that supplies would not be
hampered, except around New York City.
Local WWII vets shocked by terrorists' sneak attack
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- As all of America stands in shock and attempts
to move on with everyday life some local veterans react to the tragic
events that brought down an American landmark early Tuesday morning.
After the terroristic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
people were terrified that such an act would happen in the United States
and the devastation from the attacks is now being compared to the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
All of the World War II veterans interviewed agreed that the attacks were
a terrible thing and reminded most of what they had seen during the war.
"I think it's terrible. I just couldn't believe it," said WWII Navy Veteran
Bill Davenport, who was at Pearl Harbor when the Dec. 7, 1941 attack occurred.
"If this doesn't pull America together nothing will."
Davenport, who was in the amphibious force in the Navy, said that he quit
high school with four other classmates to join the Navy.
"That was a good bunch of boys, they were patriotic," he said. "I think
that is what we need now it to stick together."
Mike Allison, who was a medic for the Marine Corps, agreed that patriotism
is what is needed right now.
"I think we should stick together my self," he said. "We have enemies
everywhere. And because it's going to get worse before it's going to get
Allison said that he was thinking about the bombing of the World Trade
Center in 1993 and that perhaps it was a warning.
He said that he doesn't know if yesterday's events would lead to another
war but he does believe that the enemy is not as easy to detect this time.
Allison explained that the enemy could be sitting right next to you on
a plane or train and you'd never know.
"You don't know who your enemy is," he said.
Allison said that with suicide bombers they are people who are willing
to die for their country and beliefs.
"It's a different situations because for them it's an honor to die," he
Allison explained that most people fight to live and that the kinds of
people that take their lives along with many others fight to die.
"When you're dealing with people who want to die it's hard," he said.
All the men agreed that actions need to be taken to punish whoever committed
these acts of terrorism but not before the government finds out for sure
who did do it.
"When you find the person, go get them," Allison said.
"I think they're going to find who did it and they're going to pay for
it," Ralph Reyes said.
Reyes was a photographer during WWII with the Army but he said he had
never seen anything like this attack.
"I didn't see anything that could be compared," he said.
Joe Gunn, a WWII Captain in the Air Force, said that this attack isn't
anything worse than what he and many other Americans had seen in the War
but he does believe that yesterday's events will change America.
"I think it's going to change our lifestyle in the U.S.," he said.
Reyes agreed that the attacks would change America by forcing people to
realize more things and start thinking differently.
"It's going to change but I think it's going to be for the best," he said.
Allison said that he agrees with the comparison to Pearl Harbor because
of the surprise of both attacks and the massive number of life lost.
"It was a sneak thing. It was a cowardly thing," he said.
As rescue workers and government officials continue to try and pick up
the pieces of yesterday's events, people across America are still trying
to comprehend what has happened to the nation.
"I still can't believe it," Davenport said. "It's the most cowardly thing
I have ever seen."
"I just don't know what to say. It's just an evil thing," Reyes said.
Tax rollback early voting is continuing
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- Early voting is still underway for the
tax rollback elections for the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD, an election the district
is required to have, following the adoption of the tax rate that will bring
in about $2 million in additional revenues to the school district this year.
The rollback election is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, but voters
who would like to take advantage of voting early can do so from 10 a.m. until
7 p.m., at the Community Center, located next door to the Pecos Police Department,
through Sept. 18.
Increases in oil and gas valuations between 2000 and 2001 is the reason
for the increase in tax revenues, but P-B-T Superintendent Don Love said
under Texas' school funding law, the district will lose that $2 million in
state revenues beginning with the 2002-2003 school year. As a result, Love
asked the P-B-T school board to maintain the current $1.50 per $100 in valuation
tax rate, even though to do so automatically forced this month's rollback
"They are either voting for what the school board has approved as the
tax rate, or they are voting against school board recommendations," said
Love said that the vote will either be for the $1.50 as the tax rate the
board set or against. "They are either going to support the board or not,"
Voting for the tax rate set will not mean higher taxes for homeowners,
according to Love. "They will be paying the same in taxes or maybe a little
bit less," he said. "The only ones affected will be the oil companies," he
Earhart re-creation at 3 p.m.?
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- The Amelia Earhart re-creation flight scheduled
to stop in Pecos yesterday is on hold pending the FAA lifting the nation-wide
ban on civilian flights. The latest speculation was that the flight might
touch down in Pecos around 3 p.m. today but officials do not know if the
FAA ban will be lifted by then.
Ex-Pecos resident convicted by jury on drug charge
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- A former Pecos resident was found guilty Monday,
following his trial on drug charges stemming from a 1992 arrest.
Luis Ernesto "El Negro" Valeriano-Valles was sentenced to 25 years in
prison and assessed a $10,000 fine on the state offense, four months after
being forcibly returned to the United States by federal law enforcement officials
"This is a state offense that stemmed from an incident that happened on
Sept. 4, 1992," said District Attorney Randall Reynolds, who was prosecuting
the case for the state. "The police received information and obtained a search
warrant for his home back then."
Defense attorney for Valeriano-Valles was Gary Hill of Midland.
Valeriano-Valles was arrested in 1992, following a narcotics search warrant
at his home in Pecos executed by the Pecos Police Department and the Reeves
County Sheriff's Office, in which 9.83 grams of suspected heroin were located.
"I understand that he is also facing federal charges," said Reynolds.
"This trial was for the 1992 incident, which is a state felony. "
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-count 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.
PECOS, Wed., Sept. 12, 2001 -- High Tuesday 89. Low this morning 68. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds 5
to 10 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 80s. Southeast
winds 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s.
Friday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the upper 80s. Saturday through tuesday:
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Highs in the upper 80s to the lower
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