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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Monday, June 9, 2003

Drug Task Force loses funding for coming year

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., June 9, 2003 -- A year after one of Pecos' leading employers shut its doors, the Pecos community will see a second institution closing its doors by the end of June.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said that he received a letter from the State of Texas Office of Government Criminal Justice Division on Friday afternoon informing him that the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force would not receive funding for the 2003-04 fiscal year.

"CJD appreciates your endeavors in narcotics law enforcement but declines funding of the application for the 2003-2004 grant period," the letter stated.

The funding was to be provided through the Edward Byrne Memorial Formula Grant Program, which they had applied for back on January 16, Gomez said. He also added that he did not know what would become of the Task Force.

"I will be going to Austin tomorrow or Wednesday to see what can be done," Gomez said.

The Trans Pecos Task Force has been in service since 1999 and has been running 12 officers, Trans Pecos Drug Task Force Commander Gary Richards said.

In its four years of operation, Richards said that they have seized numerous cars, and large amount of drugs and money.

"We have seized a significant amount of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines and heroin," Richards said.

Richards added that the task force had seriously disrupted drug trafficking in the area and had worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) during the Task Force's four years.

"We have also provided man power to smaller communities," Richards said.

Throughout the Task Force's four years, Richards added that they have only had two of their agents die while serving in the Task Force.

"We have had two of our officers die," Richards said. "One was from Andrews. He died while working for the Task Force but due to health problems and Jaime was the other officer." Task Force officer Jaime Rodriguez was killed in the line of duty during an operation aboard a Greyhound bus in Pecos in May of 2002.

Richards said that the Task Force has also participated in school rallies and has attended local organizational meetings such as the Rotary Club and the Lions Club to educate the community about drugs.

"We also have received support from the Sheriff and the Police Department," Richards said.

Richards said that the city and the county have made the 25 percent match required by the grants which provided the funding for the task force.

Richards said that in its first three months of operations in 1999 task force officers seized two vehicles, $7,685 and 11, 651.94 grams of cocaine. The cash value coming in at $1,061,522.

During that time the Task Force handled 29 cases, assisted in nine for a total of 38 and made 38 arrests.

In roughly the first year-and-a-half of operations the Task force seized 23 vehicles, $383,945, three estates and six weapons. Richards said that they handled 286 cases and assisted other agencies in 96 cases and made 266 arrests.

Drugs that were seized during that time were 696,820 grams of marijuana with a street value of $2,090,461; 1,628 grams of cocaine with a street value of $146,576; 6.30 grams crack cocaine with a street value of $693; 1,158.06 grams of methenphamines with a street value $133,176.90; 88.75 grams of heroin with a street value of $19,525; 12,859.27 grams of amphetamines with a street value of $1,157,334.30; and small amounts of other illegal drugs. The total amount of all the drugs seized brought in a street value of $3,548,182, Richards said.

From June 2000 thru May 2001 the total amount of all the drugs seized brought in a street value of $3,601,513.65.

In the fiscal year of June 2001 thru May 2002 the Task Force seized five vehicles, $196,398 in U.S. Currency and one weapon. It had 216 cases, assisted in 126 cases for a total for 342 and made 206 arrests, he said and the street value of illegal drugs seized was approximately $6,713,724.

In the past 12 months the Task Force has seized 16 vehicles and $108,145 in U.S. Currency. It currently has 164 cases, has assisted in 47 others and has made 70 arrests and intercepted illegal drugs with a street value of $5,015,121.

Saenz resigns as Balmorhea super

Staff Writer

PECOS, Mon., June 9, 2003 -- A lot has happened at the Balmorhea Schools in the past three years under the leadership of the superintendent, but now she will turn the reins over to someone new.

Elizabeth Saenz has resigned from her position as the Balmorhea School Superintendent to continue her education and already several individuals have expressed their interest in the post in the little community, located just 30 miles from Pecos.

"I've been accepted into a very prestigious program and it was just something I couldn't say no to," said Saenz.

Saenz will be attending a two-year program at the University of Texas in Austin. "I've been accepted into a doctoral program," said Saenz.

There were only 18 individuals accepted into the Cooperative Superintendent's Program (CST), a very prestigious leadership program, she said.

"One of my professors recommended me for the program, but I really never thought I had a chance of being accepted," said Saenz. "You go into a very intense assessment and it's an honor to just be nominated," she said.

After reviewing all the applications, there were 148 that applied, there were about 30 that were called in for interviews. "They only selected 18 of us and I just feel very honored," said Saenz.

"It was an honor to do both, serve as superintendent and be accepted into this program," said Saenz. "But this program is so intense, you have to really concentrate and not do anything else," she said.

Saenz said that she felt excited, but sad at the same time to be leaving the little community she has called home for the past three years. "I hate to leave, but this is just an opportunity I cannot pass by," she said.

Saenz said that opportunities like this don't come every day. "If I don't do it now, it will be another two years before I can be nominated again and then I don't know if I would even be accepted," she said.

Saenz said that a lot has happened in the past three years. "We've had a lot of construction, a lot of bond issues pass, the new computer systems," said Saenz. "It's thanks to a great board that all of these issues passed and were accepted and implemented," she said.

Saenz said that whoever takes over the position will be very lucky. "They'll have a great board behind them that really cares about the children and about their education," said Saenz. "They're easy to work with and care about the same issues," she said.

"It's been very rewarding and I think we're doing a lot and I hope that the next person that comes in will do the same," said Saenz.

Saenz said that she has had a lot of people come up to her and thank her. "It makes me very happy and it's very rewarding when someone comes up to you and tells you that they're going to miss you and thanks you for what you have done," she said.

Saenz said that she would miss the Balmorhea and surrounding communities.

There are currently 17 applications on file for the position in Balmorhea and the board will review those on Monday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 17.

"They'll pick out one or a few depending on the applications and then narrow it down," said Saenz.

Saenz said that a new superintendent will be named probably on Tuesday afternoon, after all the finalists have been interviewed.

Balmorhea ISD announces Summer Food Program

PECOS, Mon., June 9, 2003 -- The Balmorhea ISD announces the Summer Food Program being sponsored at Balmorhea ISD.

Meals will be provided at Balmorhea ISD at First and El Paso Streets, in Balmorhea. This program will run from June 3 through June 28. Meals will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

School age children are eligible for the program.


Marriages for May 2003, as filed with the Reeves County Clerk's Office.

Eduardo Rodriguez Pando and Elpidia Romo Sanchez.

Elias Subia Carrasco and Amanda Joanne Tremble.

Ruben Hernandez Valdez and Nancy Gonzales Muro.

Pedro Barragan Jr. and Guadalupe Mendoza.

Armando Sauceda Martinez and Gloria Hernandez Orona.

Moses Martinez and Romana Guzman Topete.

Gaylon Booth Doan and Tina Rhoads Hendrick.

Marty D. Parks and Linda Smith Burley.


Divorces for May 2003, as filed with the Reeves County District Clerk's Office.

Maria Estela Duenas and Martin Duenas.

Usbaldo Baeza and Elsa Madrid.

Monica Puente and Raul Puente.

Julie Ann Davenport and James Robert Canon.


PECOS, Mon., June 9, 2003 -- Sunday's high was 89, lows 65. Today becoming partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 90s. South winds 10 to 20 mph. Tonight partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Lows near 70. South winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 90s. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Wednesday partly cloudy. Highs in the mid90s. Thursday partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Highs in the mid 90s.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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