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Archive 2003

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Commissioners asked to OK shifting JP's office

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 13, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners discussed moving a Justice of the Peace office from Toyah to Pecos and discussed a settlement offer in connection with pending litigation against the county on Monday, during their regularly scheduled meeting.

During reports from various departments, commissioners listened to a request from Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Jim Riley to move his office to Pecos.

"I came to petition the court to move from Toyah," said Riley, who stated that his office is currently located in Toyah, which is about 20 miles from Pecos and that 95 percent of his cases are here in Pecos.

Riley won election to the post of Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace last year, defeating Toyah resident J.T. Marsh, who had served in the position for the previous 28 years.

Riley said along with serving the area of west-central Reeves County, his precinct also includes Pecos High School and other parts of the city that produce cases requiring him to use an office.

He said that he had found office space at 1223 S. Eddy St., for $325 a month. "I, along with my secretary have decided that we would forego our travel allowance and use it to pay for the office space," said Riley.

Riley said that his travel allowance at this time is really high, because of having to travel to and from Toyah all the time.

"There's not very many people that want to go all the way to Toyah, so I've been conducting a lot of my business at the sheriff's department," said Riley.

"On leasing space do we have to advertise?" said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.

County Auditor Lynn Owens said that they were allowed to negotiate without advertising.

Riley said that he has checked everything and this was the only office space he could find. "This office space is ready to move into, it has everything including a bathroom," said Riley.

He said that the main reason he wanted to move to Pecos was to better serve the people who voted for him.

"I want to do the best job I can for these people that voted for me, and I don't blame them for not wanting to travel all the way to Toyah to conduct business," he said.

Galindo said that there is office space at a building located on Highway 17. "The old annex building," he said.

"I know that the bathroom needs some fixing, but everything else is there," said Galindo. "We could go look at that and see if it might be suitable for your purposes," he said.

Galindo said that it would take about $3,500 to fix up the bathroom, but that the building itself was usable.

"Mr. (County Road and Bridge Supervisor Russ) Salcido is interested in the office I have right now, so it wouldn't go to waste," said Riley.

Galindo suggested they look into the building located on Balmorhea Highway and see if it could be fixed up.

Commissioners also met in executive session to discuss a possible litigation settlement as reported by the county's attorneys.

In open session the court announced the settlement agreement.

"After going into executive session and discussing this particular item, I would like to recommend that we go with our attorney's recommendation," said Galindo.

Galindo said that the settlement of $5,000 would be offered Javier Valles. "This is what our attorney's have recommended, an amount of $5,000 to resolve this particular case."

In other action, inmate transportation crew mileage payments in the amount of $2,368 were approved along with the deputation and oath for Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Campos.

City's tax rebate check slips, hospital's plunges

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 13, 2003 -- Sales tax collections in Reeves County dropped during March, slightly for the Town of Pecos City, slightly more in Balmorhea and Toyah, and by nearly three-quarters for the Reeves County Hospital District compared with a year ago, according to the state comptroller's office.

May sales tax rebate checks were sent out late last week by Carole Keeton Strayhorn's office, and they showed tax collections in Pecos continued their downward trend for the first four months of 2003. The city received $70,578 in sales taxes, based on their 11/2-cent share of Texas' 81/4-cent sales tax, which is down 4.63 percent from last May, when Pecos got $74,010 back from Austin.

For the first five months of 2003, the city's tax rebates come to 312,719, which is down 4.36 percent from a year ago. The decline has come at the same time as local unemployment has doubled from the same time a year ago, mainly due to the shutdown of the Anchor Foods plant at the end of May 2002.

Balmorhea and Toyah saw double-digit declines in their rebate checks. Balmorhea's $1,105 check was down just under 21 percent from last year, while Toyah's check for $313 was 23.28 percent lower than last year. For the first five months of this year, Balmorhea has seen its sales tax rebates fall 26.13 percent, and Toyah's have declined 27.14 percent.

Tax rebates for the Reeves County Hospital District had been running ahead of a year ago, going against the numbers reported by Pecos, Balmorhea and Toyah. That changed in a big way this month, as the comptroller's office sent the hospital district a check for only $8,198, down over $25,000 from a year ago, when the hospital got $33,553 back. The 75.56 percent decline left the RCH district down for the year in tax receipts by a little over $20,000, at $134,090. That's 13.12 percent behind last year's figures.

Statewide, sales tax rebates this month were up 0.82 percent, to $262 million, and overall, rebate checks were slightly higher in the Permian Basin.

Midland had the area's largest single check, at $2.01 million, which was up 24.26 percent Odessa also saw an increase for the month, as did Monahans, Van Horn and Wink. Fort Stockton and Marfa also reported increases, due to hikes in their sales tax rates during the past year.

Other cities reporting declines in their rebate check were Big Spring, Crane, Presidio and Andrews, which after sharp increases in their tax collections from April of last year until this past March, have dropped down to more normal levels the past two months.

First trial date set in border pot smuggling case

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., May 13, 2003 -- The first in a series of trials in U.S. District Court in Pecos has been scheduled for next month in a case involving a dozen people from the U.S. and Mexico on drug smuggling and money laundering charges in connection with moving nearly 300 pounds of marijuana into the United States during a 31/2 month period beginning late last year.

In the indictment of all twelve individuals it states that Samuel Gutierrez Carrasco, Alfonso Gavia Ybarra and Hector Adrian Flores led the marijuana smuggling organization.

Carrasco and Ybarra also known as "Pookey" were the purchasers of the marijuana. They then would obtain vehicles to be used to transport it and then recruited individuals, to include a minor, to drive from Midland to Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico to pick up quantities of marijuana.

The marijuana was then concealed within the vehicles, which were then driven into the United States and back to Midland, where the marijuana was offloaded, broken down to smaller amounts for street sale.

The ring was broken up following the arrest of two individuals in mid-March in Presidio County. That led to the arrest of 10 others who federal prosecutors allege did knowingly, unlawfully and intentionally possess with intent to distribute approximately 28.76 pounds of marijuana, a scheduled I controlled substance in this case, and over 1,000 kilogram of marijuana (2,200 pounds) between Dec. 1, 2002 and March 16 of this year.

In a report by Drug Enforcement Administrator Raul Gonzalez, on March 16, a yellow 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer was observed by the United States Border Patrol Agents, as it entered the United States from the Republic of Mexico at an illegal river crossing near Redford, Texas.

The driver, Yvonne Marie Rizo, 25, her aunt Sandra Rizo, 36, and Sandra's two minor sons occupied the vehicle.

Noticing an excessive amount of dirt on the rear bumper and the trunk of the vehicle, the agents then stopped it.

All the occupants told the agents that they were all United States Citizens.

When the two women were questioned, they both said that they had crossed the border at the Port of Entry in Presidio.

The agents then questioned the two minors, whom told the agents that they had in fact crossed at a dirt road and not the Port of Entry.

Based on that information, both women were then told by the agents that their stories were inconsistent. The women then told the agents that they had crossed the border at a dirt road and not the Port of Entry.

At that point all subjects along with the vehicle were taken to the United States Border Patrol Station in Presidio for further investigation.

A canine search of the vehicle was conducted and the dog alerted agents to the gas tank. In a subsequent search of the vehicle, it revealed 14 bundles of green leafy substance that field-tested positive for marijuana.

Sandra Rizo then told agents that she was to receive $1,000 for helping Yvonne Rizo transport the marijuana.

According to the United States District Clerk's office in Pecos, the case is currently in the middle of its discovery.

As of now, both Rizo women, Samuel Gutierrez Carrasco, Alfonso Gavia Ybarra, Hector Adrian Flores, Daniel Gutierrez Carrasco, Frank Patrick Valenzuela, Racheal Torres, Joe Angel Zamarripa III, Miguel A. Lopez-Minjarez, Jesus Manuel Montanez and Arturo Barrientos-Rojo did combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other and others known and unknown to the grand jury to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Along with providing the funding for the purchase of the marijuana, Samuel Carrasco and Ybarra would also provide expense money for the drivers. Ybarra also used his girlfriend, who is a minor, to assist him in at least one smuggling venture.

Flores was the supplier of marijuana for the organization. He provided the workers to conceal the marijuana in the vehicles that were provided to smuggle the marijuana and received U.S. currency for the sale of the marijuana.

Daniel Carrasco, brother to Samuel Carrasco, assisted the organization by allowing his home to be used as a site for the off loading of marijuana. He also assisted in the transferring of U.S. currency for the purchase of marijuana and/or expense money for the organizational driver's to bring the marijuana - laden vehicles back to Midland. D. Carrasco was also involved in the street level sales of organizational marijuana.

Valenzuela, who is Ybarra's brother, assisted the organization by driving organizational marijuana from Mexico to Midland as well as wire money for the purchase of marijuana and/or for driver's expenses.

Torres, the girlfriend to Valenzuela, assisted the organization by driving organizational marijuana from Mexico to Midland.

Zamarripa, also known as 'Pelon' and 'Angel,' assisted the organization by driving bundles of marijuana from Mexico to Midland. He also assisted in the street sale of marijuana.

Lopez-Minjarez, Montanez and Barrientos-Rojo assisted the organization by obtaining wire transfers of money in Presidio, then taking the money to Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico either for the partial payment for the marijuana purchased and/or to provide the drivers expense money for their trip back to Midland with the drug laden vehicles.

The Rizos assisted the organization by importing and transporting marijuana for the organization and used minors to avoid detection.

The indictment filed in the U.S. District Clerk's Office for the Western District of Texas in Pecos, states that during the course of the enterprise, the organization imported to and distributed in the United States at least 296.36 pounds or over 134 kilograms of marijuana.

The first trial date has been set for Monday, June 16, for Jesus Manuel Montanez.

The U.S. District Clerk's Office stated that the plaintiffs have from now till June to either plead or go to trial.

Museum to hold 40th anniversary event on May 22

PECOS, Tues., May 13, 2003 -- West of the Pecos Museum will be holding its 40th anniversary celebration on Thursday, May 22 in the courtyard of the museum, at First and Cedar streets.

A reception will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and everyone is invited to attend. Dust off your 1960's duds and beat it to the patio party.


Marriages for March 2003, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk's Office.
Jesus Duran Lopez and Betty Jean Lozano.
Jose Sealtiel Munoz and Elvia Araceli Ornelas.

Marriages for April 2003, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk's Office.
Rodolfo T. Orona and Joanna Baca.
Miguel Carrasco and Sandra Fabela Medrano.
Dustin C. Parks and Joann Ranae Wein.
Pete Boone Liles and Arizona Mariah Rooney.


Divorces for April 2003, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk's Office.
Sylvia T. Abila and Sergio G. Legarda.
Hortencia Rodriguez and Jose Luis Mena.
Cynthia Armbruster and David Armbruster.
Edith Carrasco and Eric Daniel Carrasco.


PECOS, Tues., May 13, 2003 -- High Monday 94. Low this morning 63. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms, some may be severe with large hail and damaging winds. Lows in the lower 60s. South winds 10 to 20 mph. The chance of rain is 20 percent. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 90s. Northwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 60s. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 90s. Friday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the lower 60s. Highs in the lower 90s.


Jesus Montelongo

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Pecos Enterprise
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