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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Beer of Kings includes unnatural light powder

Task force officials jail couple after kilos of cocaine found in carton

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., April 1, 2003 -- A husband and wife are behind bars in the Midland County Jail, following the completion of a two-year undercover investigation conducted by the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.

At 10:15 a.m., Monday, March 31, officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, assisted by the Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Midland County Sheriff's Department concluded the two-year investigation that led to the arrests of the couple. They were identified as Luis Gonzales King, 47 and Adelia Pedroza King, 49, of La Vollia, Tx..

The Kings were arrested for delivery of three kilos of cocaine, which is 3,000 grams.

Street value for the illegal drugs was put at $180,000, according to Lt. Larry Arredondo of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force.

"This was a successful operation," said Arredondo. "Sometimes investigations can go that long, for two to three years."

Arredondo said that he was glad that nobody got hurt. "Thank God no one was hurt and things went smoothly."

The couple is in the Midland County Jail awaiting arraignment.

The cocaine was delivered in a Natural Light beer carton, which had been sealed and had about 4-5 beers in there with the three bricks of cocaine, according to Arredondo.

"We work really well together with the Midland County Sheriff's Office and it's thanks to the cooperation of all the agencies that we can do our job," said Arredondo.

West Texas reps push bill for Andrews N-dump site

From Staff and Wire Reports
West Texas lawmakers are pressing for legislation that would set up a low-level radioactive waste dump to hold Department of Energy waste and environmentalists are putting up a fight.

"Why do we feel the need to become the nation's dumping ground in order to manage our own waste?" said Erin Rogers of the Sierra Club. "Every radioactive waste dump in the country has leaked."

The most likely site for a waste dump in West Texas would be on land in western Andrews County, near the New Mexico state line. Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists has been awaiting approval of a bill in the Texas Legislature in order to apply for a permit to house the radioactive waste on part of its land near Eunice, N.M.

A House committee on Monday approved a bill by Sen. George "Buddy" West, R-Odessa, that would allow the Texas Department of Health to issue a license to a private company to handle the disposal of the waste. Sen. Teel Bivins, R-Amarillo, has filed similar legislation in the Senate.

Low-level radioactive waste is a byproduct of medical, research and industrial activities. It also is produced through the operation of nuclear power plants.

The bills would allow for two facilities to be set up. One would handle the waste under a compact that requires the state to dispose of Texas and Vermont waste. The compact is part of a nationwide plan to store low-level radioactive waste regionally.

A separate but adjacent facility would take Department of Energy waste, a provision that caused lawmakers some concern last legislative session. Then, the bill died in the House.

The risk of exposure to low-level radioactive waste, "I am told by scientists, is very low in terms of harming the human health and the environment," Bivins said.

While the bills do not say where the waste site could be set up, both Bivins and West say Andrews County residents support setting up a facility there. The bills state that the site cannot be located in a county where average rainfall is more than 20 inches a year, a standard that Andrews County meets, Bivins said.

West said he lives within 35 miles of the proposed site. "My entire family lives there," he said. "I think it's safe for me. I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize my family."

The waste is not "high-level stuff," said Tony Proffitt, a spokesman for Waste Control Specialists, which already operates a hazardous waste facility in Andrews County and has been identified by Bivins as an "economically solvent perspective licensee."

"It's not plutonium. It's not fuel rods," Proffitt said. "If a bill is passed, Waste Control Specialists will apply for a license, no question about that," Profitt said. "The county feels we've got a good site with low rainfall and deep clay. It's just ideal for this site proposal."

Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen's Texas office, said West's bill has significant flaws and said the Legislature's job is to look after the state, not just one county.

"The people of Andrews County will suffer the immediate impacts of a leaking dump," Smith said. Profitt disputed that, saying that the waste would be kept in concrete and would be buried in an area covering roughly 1,400 acres of WCS's 18,000 acre site on the Texas-New Mexico state line.

A new site has been sought since then-Gov. George W. Bush rejected plans to build a state-run radioactive waste facility southeast of Sierra Blanca in Hudspeth County in 1998. Fears about earthquake fault lines in the area were cited by Bush as the reason for rejecting the site.

Following that action, WCS announced its plan to seek a permit to store the waste at its hazardous materials storage site in Andrews County, but a few months later, another company, Envirocare, announced it had purchased land eight miles north of Barstow and would seek permits to store radioactive waste there. Officials in Reeves and parts of Ward County opposed the plan, though it did receive the backing of Ward County officials in Monahans, 30 miles to the east. However, in January of 2001, Envirocare's plan was abandoned as part of the settlement of a lawsuit with Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists.

Profitt said he knew of no other plans to seek permits for radioactive waste storage facilities in the Permian Basin, and said a company would have to meet both safety and financial requirements in order to receive state approval.

West also said the state needs to have one central facility to store the waste generated in Texas, rather than have it spread out across the state.

"You hear a lot of talk about dirty bombs. A lot of this stuff could actually be used, I guess, in the composition of a dirty bomb if someone wanted to," West said.

He said the site would have adequate security but after the committee meeting, he said he did not know the level of security his bill provided.

Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, has proposed amendments to West's bill that would increase the financial security a company must put up as well as increase the physical security around the facility.

Smith said West's bill now does not provide enough financial security to "ensure that when the dump leaks, as almost all of them do, that Texans won't be stuck with a huge tax increase to clean up the mess left behind."

"There are about 1,700 licensed nuclear waste users, and this waste is beginning to stack up in garages and parking lots," Profitt said, while agreeing with West that those sites are not as secure as the company's Andrews County facility in case of some type of terrorist attack.

One other problem that - though unlikely to affect the WCS' proposed site, could cause some interesting reactions - is a lawsuit approved in March by the New Mexico legislature seeking the transfer of 603,485 acres of land along the state border from Texas to New Mexico. The proposal, filed by Sen. Shannon Robinson, D-Albuquerque, is based on what New Mexico officials said was an improper survey of the state boundary done in 1859.

If changed, the new state line would be three miles east of the current border, and would take in WCS's Andrews County waste dump, along with several small towns on the Texas side of the state line.

Profitt had no official comment on the possibility of WCS's complex ending up in the state of New Mexico.

The House and Senate low-level radioactive waste dump bills are HB 1567 and SB 824.

Registration ends on Friday to vote in May 3 election

PECOS, Tues., April 1, 2003 -- Friday is the final day a person may register to vote in the May 3 area elections, the last day to receive applications for early voting ballots to be voted by mail is April 25.

Applications to vote by mail are currently being accepted in the area's contested races. Early voting by personal appearance for Pecos voters will be held at the Pecos Community Center, 508 S. Oak St., from April 16-29, while Balmorhea ISD voters can cast ballots early at the Balmorhea ISD officer during that same period.

Only three area elections will be held this May, because the other races did not have any contested seats. The elections are for the Balmorhea and Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD boards, and for the Town of Pecos City Council.


PECOS, Tues., April 1, 2003 -- High Monday 82. Low this morning 39. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows near 50. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy and breezy. Highs in the lower 90s. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Windy. Partly cloudy with isolated showers or thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 50s. Thursday: Windy. Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 80s. Friday: Mostly clear. Windy. Lows in the lower 50s. Highs in the mid 80s.

Police Report

EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.


A male juvenile was arrested at 9:35 p.m., on March 31, in the 2200 block of Cactus for running away from home.


Joe Arthur Salas, 25, was arrested at 8:32 a.m., on March 29, in the 1900 block of Alamo Street on a Reeves County Warrant for motion to revoke - driving while intoxicated.


Daniel Ortega Campos, 34, was arrested at 6:57 a.m., on March 29, at the Town & Country, 1219 S. Cedar St., on a Reeves County warrant for failure to appear before the court on a driving while intoxicated charge.


Oscar Archuleta, 20, was arrested at 4:04 p.m., on March 29, in the 400 block of West Third Street on a capias warrant for prohibited fire and on a warrant for speeding, which he paid and was then released.


Kevin Hodges, 21, was arrested at 2:50 a.m., on March 29, in the 200 block of East Third Sstreet on a capias warrant service for default payment of minor in possession of alcohol.


Simon Jaquez, 36,was arrested at 10:45 p.m., on March 27, at the Kwik Stop at Third and Eddy streets on a warrant for parole violation.


Jose Smith, 36, was arrested at 11:46 p.m., on March 27, in the 400 block of Alberta Street on a warrant service for violation failure to appear on possession of marijuana issued out of Hidalgo County.


Antonio Martinez, 23, was arrested at 8:50 a.m., on March 26, at Flying J for theft over $50 under $500 - class B


Alfonso Reyes Gabaldon, 31, was arrested at 1:48 a.m., on March 27, in the 900 block of Cedar Street for public intoxication.


Eugenio C. Arenivaz

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