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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Top Stories

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

Pecos man arrested in three-ton marijuana bust

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- A Pecos man is being held without bond in a Brewster County  Detention Center after having been charged with the attempted distribution of  nearly 1½ tons of marijuana, part of a three-ton seizure in the Big Bend  National Park area over the weekend

Jaime Fuentes Cazares was arrested on January 3, after a Big Bend National Park Ranger made a routine stop, according to a press release sent out Monday afternoon by the U.S. Border Patrol office in Marfa.

According to a story in today's Odessa America, Federal Magistrate Durwood Edwards denied a bond for Cazares, 20, Monday afternoon.

According to the Border Patrol press release, Cazares was stopped for speeding while traveling in a white 1997 Ford pick-up truck on the Park Road near the Panther Junction Ranger Station.

As a park ranger followed the 1997 Ford for several miles, he observed some blue 55-gallon barrels in the rear of the pick-up.

When the stop was made, the ranger exited his vehicle and approached the vehicle and asked Cazares for a driver's license. He then asked Cazares if he knew what the speed limit was and if his speedometer was working.

Cazares responded by telling the ranger that he thought he was going about 50 miles per hour and that he did not have a driver's license.

The report said that without further questioning, Cazares told the ranger that he was transporting marijuana.

At that point he was placed under arrest and the ranger then began to conduct a cursory search of the vehicle based on the information that had been provided by Cazares.

After finding what appeared to be marijuana bundles in the rear seat area, a built in toolbox and the rear of the pick-up in the blue 55-gallon barrels and under the barrels, the ranger contacted the National Park Service Dispatcher and requested assistance.

Park rangers later found a total of 2,854.31 pounds of marijuana in the White 1997 Ford worth $2,283,448.

The Park Ranger asked Cazares what he planned on doing on arrival at the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint. He responded by saying that he had been told that the checkpoint was supposed to be closed on January 3.

The ranger then asked Cazares where the marijuana had been crossed, Cazares responded that he had not better say anything else.

The report went on to say that as the ranger headed back to the Panther Junction Ranger Station, he over heard Cazares say to himself, "Damn, there is a speed limit."

After arrival, the ranger contacted the Maverick Entrance Station and was told by the attendant that they did not remember the 1997 Ford but did remember a red Ford that was occupied by two or three Hispanic males that had come through and continued east.

The information was passed on to personnel at the United States Border Patrol Checkpoint located on U.S. 385 north of Big Bend National Park. A short time later the U.S. Border Patrol Agents found a Red and White 1996 Ford Crew-cab pick up truck that had been abandoned approximately one mile north of the Persimmon Gap Entrance to the park.

Agents later found a total of 3,218.7 pounds of marijuana in the 1996 Red and White Ford pick-up truck. This amount of marijuana has a street value of $2,574,960.

The Border Patrol said the red and white pick-up is registered to Lorena Baeza of Pecos and also appeared to be traveling north on U.S. 385 towards the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint, the same route that Cazares indicated that he would be traveling.

During a further inspection of Cazares' pick-up, a Kenwood brand two-way radio with an overhead antenna and a Motorola cellular bag phone were found. However, no one was found at the scene and no other arrests have been reported in the case.

The packages of marijuana were small, approximately one pound blocks that were wrapped in brown cell phone wrapping tape.

A further inspection of the Red and White 1996 Ford pick-up uncovered identically wrapped marijuana packages, along with a Kenwood brand two-way radio and antenna. The rear seat of both vehicles had been removed to facilitate the transportation of marijuana in the cab of the pick-up trucks.

Both amounts of marijuana totaled 6,073.01 pounds, or just over three tons.

City's first tax rebate check of year shows decline

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- Sales tax rebated figures in Reeves County continued their downward trend from late last year, in the first tax rebate report of 2003 from State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office.

The comptroller sent out rebate checks today to cities, counties and special purpose districts across Texas, and Pecos' check for $53,927 represented a 2.81 percent decline from January of a year ago, when the city got back $55,487 from Austin.

Tax rebates for the city are based on its 1½-cent share of the state's 8¼-cent sales tax. The city's rebates were down slightly for all of 2002 compared with 2001 totals, with most of the drop coming in the second half of the year, following the closing on the Anchor Foods plant in Pecos that at one time employed 700 people.

The onion processing plant reopened under the ownership of TransPecos Foods this past fall, but with 500 fewer employees than at Anchor's peak, while Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD officials reported a drop of 200 students in enrollment from the fall of 2001 to the fall of 2002, both of which contributed to the lower sales tax collections in the final months of last year.

The Reeves County Hospital District also saw its sales tax rebates drop this month. The hospital got back $24,351 from Strayhorn's office, which was down 18.2 percent from last year's $29,771.

Most other area cities showed increases for January, including Balmorhea, which got back $351 in tax rebates, up 50 percent from last year's $347. But Toyah's $207 rebate check was down nearly 41 percent from the $350 it got a year ago.

Mattress fire burns shack

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- The Pecos Volunteer Fire Department responded to a structure fire  Monday evening at Fifth and Peach streets

According to Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal, Jack Brookshire, the fire broke out inside an abandoned shack where it appeared someone had been staying.

"The fire was inside the shack in a bed," Brookshire said.

Fire and EMS personnel were called to the site about 6:40 p.m. Brookshire said that the bed was the only item found inside the building, though firemen were called back to the site after 10 p.m. when the mattress reportedly rekindled.

Water field pacts on city agenda

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- The Town of Pecos City will hold its first regular City Council meeting of 2003 on Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The council will discuss and consider the offers to purchase several properties located at 1602 S. Alamo, 718 S. Locust, 233 S. Oak and 1407 E. Second.

Council members will discuss and consider awarding construction contracts for the development of South Worsham Well Field, Part C, water transmission line, Part E, electrical and telemetry, and Part F, swell pumps and motor.

Discussion and approval for new officers for the Volunteer Fire Department, the minutes of the regular council meeting held on December 12, 2002, of the accounts payable report and of the tax collection report for November 2002 will also be done by the members.

Glitch causes Internet outage

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- Bitstreet Internet users were out of the loop yesterday and will  not be able to get back online until later today, due to a problem with  a Southwestern Bell connection.

"Yesterday when the Internet went down, we found out that the circuit pipeline that bring in information from the World Wide Web was dropped in Southwestern Bell's communication (SBC)," said Allcomm President Dick Alligood.

Alligood said that he had spoken to SBC and that they are trying to re-establish connection and bring the Internet back up.

"They don't know if it's a human error or a computer," said Alligood.

Alligood said that this wipe out the circuit. "They're trying to find out who had authority to do it," he said. "When you first get on, they tell you it takes about 30 days to bring it up and get it active.

"It takes a while to get it back up, by they said they would try to get it back up again by noon today," he said. "This is what we're being told."

Alligood added that the damage was done in the main pipeline going into Bitstreet, which is the only Internet that is affected right now.

"They don't know if someone just disconnected it, or the computer had something to do with it," said Alligood. "That's the reason they're trying to establish who had access to it."

"But that's what they're working on and trying to find out," said Alligood, who urged all Bitstreet users to have patience while they work on this problem.

Year In Review -- July 2002

Many raindrops, one bomb fell on Pecos in July

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of stories on major events in the Pecos area during 2002. Today's story covers the month of July.


PECOS, Monday, July 1, 2002 — Night in Old Pecos & Cantaloupe Fest could not have gone any smoother, organizers said of Saturday night's event in downtown Pecos.

"I think everything went really well," said Linda Gholson, Executive Director of the Pecos Area of Chamber of Commerce. "It was a great night. The weather was fantastic."

PECOS, Tuesday, July 2, 2002 — Reeves County Hospital staff and several community members  said goodbye to a local icon last week during a special retirement  reception in the hospital lobby.

Dr. James Cam is retiring after working with RCH for nearly 13 years where he specialized in internal medicine. Many people gathered last Thursday to say goodbye to Cam and his wife, Tessie, who will soon be moving to Seattle, Wash.

PECOS, Tuesday, July 2, 2002 — TAAS scores for Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools were very  good for the 2001-2002 school year, but PBT-ISD Superintendent Don  Love said that they are still waiting to see if one of the Pecos campuses  would be "exemplary."

Every group must score 80 or better to be a "recognized" campus and all groups must hit 90 percent or better to hit "exemplary," according to Love. The dropout rate also must be one percent or less for exemplary.

PECOS, Wed., July 3, 2002 — Over 200 "old-timers" and young people attended the  38th Annual Old-Timer's Reunion held at the West  of the Pecos Museum this morning.

The reunion is held each year in conjunction with the West of the Pecos Parade and Rodeo.

Manuel Tarin, 90, of Toyah was recognized for being the oldest male at the reunion and Sannie Camp, 96, originally from Pecos, now living in Odessa, was recognized as being the oldest female at the reunion.

Hundreds of people showed up to enjoy the annual West of  the Pecos Rodeo Parade this morning, as it wound its way through town

The downtown streets of Pecos were lined with people eager to see the many horses and floats that were entered in the parade, which lasted about 45 minutes.

PECOS, Monday, July 8, 2002 — Rain was a welcome sight this weekend even when it delayed  the start of the final night of the West of the Pecos Rodeo by 45 minutes.

Rodeo fans and contestants patiently waited for the start of Saturday's show, as well as the dance, which had been rained on twice earlier in the week. The show was delayed about 15 minutes during the heaviest of the rains when the lights went out at the Buck Jackson Rodeo arena, and finished up about 45 minutes behind schedule.

The rains were part of a storm front that caused flooding last week in the Austin and San Antonio areas, and on Saturday in the Abilene and Brownwood areas.

PECOS, Monday, July 8, 2002 — After dodging thunderstorms the first two nights of competition, rains struck the West of the Pecos Rodeo head-on Saturday night, driving  fans underneath the stands for cover and making things wet and muddy for cowboys during the final night of competition.

Rider Scott Frazer, who didn't have to worry about the rains, having competed on Wednesday, earned the All-Around Cowboy title by tying for first place in the Bareback Riding competition and placing second in the Bull Riding event. The combined finishes earned the Wilmington, Tx., cowboy $7,008.37, to finish about $2,400 ahead of runner up Brent Lewis.

PECOS, Monday, July 8, 2002 — After a long wait for a heart transplant, Texas Department  of Transportation's Corporal Emmit Moore, finally received his new  heart Sunday at Baylor Hospital in Dallas.

Moore received the news that a donor heart had been located at 1:45 Sunday morning, but surgery would have to wait awhile because the donor had other organs harvested from the person who had died.

PECOS, Monday, July 8, 2002 — A 16-year-old girl from Nashville, Tennessee, died Saturday at  Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, while two others suffered minor injuries  after being involved in a one-vehicle roll over on Friday.

Lisa Talent was pronounced dead at the hospital, about 16 hours after the accident on Interstate 20 in western Reeves County.

PECOS, Tues., July 9, 2002 — A Sul Ross State University employee pled guilty in the  United States District Court in Pecos on Monday and will receive a  probated sentence, after a "joke" got out  of hand and an anthrax hoax proved to be nothing more than Ajax cleanser   poured into an envelope.

Richard Villalba Portillo was arrested in June in connection with a false report of anthrax at Sul Ross State University as a result of the Halloween day hoax.

PECOS., Wed., July 10, 2002 — The victims of Tuesday's rollover on Interstate 20 that left four  people dead and three others injured were all from the Dallas area,  Texas Department of Public Safety officials said today.

The accident happened at 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, when the vehicle the seven were in rolled over while eastbound on I-20, one mile west of Pyote.

Ward County, Precinct 2, Judge Ronald Ray pronounced Stanley Barrance, 40, Amanda Barrance, 14, Morgan Barrance, 10 and Tynell Sims, 18-months old all dead at the scene.

PECOS, Thurs., July 11, 2002 — Town of Pecos City Council members voted in a split  decision today to keep the doors to offices at City Hall open, but to keep them  in place as well for the foreseeable future.

The doors, which were installed about a year ago for security reasons, seemed to have caused more discomfort rather then a feeling of security for citizens of Pecos.

PECOS, Friday, July 12, 2002 — Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members assigned two  current principals to new campuses and appointed a new principal to a  third campus Thursday evening, during their regular monthly meeting in  the Technology Center.

Cindy Duke, who was principal at Pecos Kindergarten during the past school year 2001-2002, was appointed as principal at Austin Elementary School, which houses the district's 1st through 3rd grade classes. She replaces Victor Tarin, who was named last month as the new principal at Crockett Middle School, replacing Juanita Davila.

Also changing campuses will be Zavala Middle School principal Benny Hernandez, who will move across the street to handle the same job at Bessie Haynes Elementary, following the resignation of longtime principal Mary Lou. Newcomer Robert Garrett will take over as principal at Zavala Middle School. He comes from Utopia ISD, west of San Antonio, where he had been teaching 4th -6th grades.

PECOS, Friday, July 12, 2002 — Turnout was higher than officials expected Thursday at  Reeves County Hospital, where local residents spent six hours  donating blood to help Texas Department of Public Safety's Corporal  Emmit Moore, who underwent heart transplant surgery earlier this  week in Dallas.

"United Blood Services was surprised because there were a lot of first time donors that were just doing it because it was for Emmit," said Nancy Ontiveros, Director of Program Development and Community Services at Reeves County Hospital. "There were also some people who had not donated blood in 25 years and again they were just doing it because it was for Emmit."

PECOS, Friday, July 12, 2002 — A Reeves County Detention Center correctional officer has  been charged with having sex with an inmate and was arraigned in  the United States District Court, Western District on Tuesday.

Anthony Baeza, a former Reeves County Detention Center employee, appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Durwood Edwards and was assessed a $30,000 unsecured bond.

PECOS, Wed., July 17, 2002 — What seemed at first to be a West Texas rainstorm to several guests  and staff of the Swiss Clock Inn early this morning turned out to be a  fatal accident involving a tractor-trailer.

Jean Winget, general manager of the local motel, said the accident that killed an El Paso man occurred just after 4 a.m., this morning and awakened several of the guests.

Adolfo Pina, 65, of El Paso, died at the scene of the accident after being trapped in an Ormsby truck tractor-trailer he was driving.

PECOS, Wed., July 17, 2002 — A detention hearing was held today for two Midland teenage boys  involved in Monday night's high-speed chase and overnight search.

Probation Officer John Cook was in attendance at the hearing for the 13- and 14-year-old boys, who were arrested following an overnight search, after leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase through downtown Pecos Monday night.

The boys have been taken to the Ector County Detention Center in Odessa.

MONAHANS, Thur., July 18, 2002 _ U.S. Air Force personnel are looking for munitions  accidentally dropped in the area around Pecos, after dummy bombs also dropped  by accident smashed through the roof of a home in Monahans and into  a roadway near Maljamar, N.M. on Tuesday.

Officials from Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, N.M., are in Monahans today to check the site. The base issued a statement that said three inert training munitions were inadvertently released off of the normal range area.

PECOS, Thurs., July 18, 2002 — One day after a house in Monahans was damaged by a  dummy bomb dropped from a U.S. Air Force jet, personnel from Holloman  Air Force Base were in Pecos recovering another dummy bomb that fell onto  a front yard near the downtown area.

An ordnance crew from Holloman AFB, along with Town of Pecos City employees and officials, gathered outside the home of Evarista Mora Wednesday afternoon near the corner of Sixth and Hickory streets in order to recover one of three dummy bombs, which were inadvertently released Tuesday afternoon off an F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.

PECOS, Thurs., July 18, 2002 — Yet another complaint of sexual misconduct has been filed against  a former Reeves County Detention Center employee in the United  States District Court.

Former Correctional Officer Sierra Ramos was terminated from her position on Tuesday, the same day the complaint was filed against her by Ronald Holland, a special agent with the Department of Justice.

PECOS, July 19, 2002 - Reeves County jurors awarded the family of a Barstow man killed in a train collision last year just under $1.5 million in damages on Thursday, after finding both the man and Union Pacific Railroad equally liable in the July 10, 2001 incident.

The family of Lucio Florez, Sr. received the award late Thursday from the 143rd District Court jury, following a four-day trial before District Court Judge Bob Parks. According to the jury's response, they decided to award Florez' wife and six children with $1.485 million, which was divided among the seven members.

Florez died when his Ford F-150 pickup was struck by a Union Pacific train headed eastbound from Long Beach, Calif., to Memphis, Tenn., at the Brandt Street crossing in Barstow the morning of July 10, 2001. The accident occurred at a crossing that the railroad, the city of Barstow and Ward County had been in discussions over closing.

PECOS, Monday, July 22, 2002 — Final valuation totals have been returned to local governing boards by the Reeves County Tax Appraisal District, and they show most valuations lower for 2002 due to declines in oil and gas values during the past year.

The valuations are used by local taxing entities to set both their budgets and their tax rates for the upcoming 2003 Fiscal Year, and while the 2002 valuations are down from 2001's totals, overall they remain sharply higher from the same point two years ago.

PECOS, Wed., July 24, 2002 — Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD employees received some good  news in the form of a pay raise, following a special school board meeting,  while the board also voted to eliminate two administrative positions to help  fund.

PECOS, Tuesday, July 30, 2002 — The staff of KPTX has been celebrating since Friday after  they were notified that the Federal Communications  Commission approved their request to move their tower to a better location  and increase the signal strength for 98.3 FM.

The station, better known as 98X, will soon be operating under 9,500 watts of power once they are able to move their antenna tower to the top of the hill just east of Barstow.

PECOS, Wed., July 31, 2002 — The search for a missing 4-year-old Fort Stockton boy entered  its third day today, as officials widened the area of the search on the  north side of that city.

The little boy, Schyler Lee Fain, was last seen at 11 a.m., Monday, when he wandered into the back yard of his great-grandparents home in a rural part of Fort Stockton.

Sul Ross holding business training session

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- Sul Ross State University Big Bend Region Minority and Small Business Development Center is sponsoring a "Personnel Policies/Employee Handbook" at 6 p.m., next Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Pecos Community Center.

This seminar is designed to assist business owners and managers in developing, communicating and updating personnel policies and employee handbooks.

Learn about the resources that can assist your business to keep current on employment policies and procedures and address some of the new areas such as Internet use and e-mail policies, expectation of privacy, and impact of Sept. 11 on the workplace.


PECOS, Wed., Jan. 8, 2002 -- High Tuesday 57. Low this morning 37. Forecast for  tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s. West winds 5 to 15 mph.  Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Northwest winds 10 to 20  mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. Friday: Mostly  sunny. Highs in the upper 50s. Saturday: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of  rain. Lows in the mid 30s. Highs in the mid 50s.


Harold E. Gustafson

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