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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Tracks lead police to beer, game thieves

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- Twice in the past three weeks Pecos police officers tracked down suspects in burglary cases, using skills learned during SWAT training.

Officer Oscar Machuca, a five-year veteran of the force, and Sergeant Cosme Ortega, a 16-year veteran, tracked perpetrators in two separate instances, leading to arrests both times.

According to Patrol Lieutenant Juan Vasquez, the latest burglary occurred early this past Sunday at the Quik-Stop convenience store at Third and Eddy streets. The thieves gained entry to the store by breaking a window with a brick and made the rest of the way in with physical force. Once in, they took an 18-pack of Natural Light and a 12-pack of Bud Light from the convenience store.

Officer Machuca was on patrol a block and a half from the store, in the 500 block of South Palm Street, when he noticed a screen to a storage building lying on the ground and tracks leading away. After further investigation, Machuca noticed an empty can of Natural Light lying on the ground next to some of the tracks, and a multiple sets of footprints leading away. Machuca alerted Sergeant Ortega to the tracks, and the pair followed the footprints to the 900 block of W. Sixth Street, Machuca said.

The officers continued tracking to 1618 S. Eddy Street, where the tracks lead to shed behind the house that had the stolen beer sitting on a table in plain sight, according to Ortega. The owners granted entry to the officers, and once inside they discovered two juveniles and an adult in possession of more of the stolen beer. Arrests were made and the Pecos PD solved the crime in a matter of hours.

The first burglary occurred early Christmas morning, when a family in the 700 block of S. Pecan Street, came home to find that their child's room had been broken into and a Playstation 2 had been stolen.

The police were alerted, and Sergeant Ortega questioned the parents, who told him of a possible juvenile suspect that had been only been in town a couple of days and knew that the Playstaion 2 was at the residence. The officers spoke with the individual and decided that his story did not quite sound truthful.

Machuca and Ortega then returned to the scene of the crime and proceeded to track a set of footprints, from the broken window right back to the suspect's house. The parents granted the officers entry, and after a quick search, found the gaming system in the juvenile's possession and made the arrest.

According to Machuca and Ortega, the SWAT team has been trained in tracking during two different sessions. Every time the team trains, they practice tracking, to aid these types of investigations and in entry situations in which the suspect flees, they added. "Captain Kelly Davis' intensive training of the team is what has allowed us the opportunity to learn these skills."

KOL group seeks to boost look and attitude of Pecos

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- Pecos area civic leaders discussed issues that the group felt were crucial to the economic success of the Trans-Pecos area on Tuesday, during the periodic Key Opinion Leaders conference at the Technology Building for Pecos High School.

According to Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson, the group met to discuss how negative attitudes in the area pervades, and how for success, "we must adjust our own thinking. We cannot help what has happened previously, we can only work and plan for the future."

"We really need to be more positive. Not everyone can be physically involved in every project, but when we can't, we can at least support the project vocally," Gholson said.

The leaders also discussed how the expansion of the hospital bodes well for the economic health of the community. With the new wing of Reeves County Hospital bringing in more doctors and health care staff, the expansion is a positive sign for the community, according to Gholson.

She added that one of the pivotal points is that efforts must be made to get residents to spend more of their income with area businesses.

"Even though some of the merchants may not carry the desired items, they can typically order it for the person," Gholson said.

The group also said that even though Pecos is 75 miles away from a mall, some residents in those cities have to drive for just as long amount of time to reach the same mall due to traffic, adding to the appeal of small town life found here in the area.

The Main Street Program was also an area of discussion for the group. The clean up of the town's appearance in anticipation of the First Lady of Texas Anita Perry's visit was discussed, as well as the unveiling of a municipal project during her stop here in town.

"We have to stay focused," Gholson said. "We know we all care about our community and we know we all want to work for a better one."

The group also discussed their concerns over the employment situation in the area. The need for stable and well paying jobs is necessary to the continued life of the area, Gholson said.

"Plans are already underway to improve customer service here in town through training. Odessa College, the Texas Work Force Network and the Chamber have all been collaborating to supply the needed education to our clerks here in town," she said.

Rumors of business closings in the area were researched and the owners of those business assured Gholson that a closing was not in the near future, she said.

"All in all I think it was a really good meeting. All but four of our key players showed up, and two of those sent representatives in their place. The discussion I think was very successful and as long as we work together to find a solution, we can make this work," Gholson said.

Wisconsin escapee still in RCJ after chase along I-10

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- A Wisconsin prison escapee remains in Reeves County Jail today, after his arrest last week near Balmorhea following a high-speed chase on Interstate 10.

Christopher Krallis, 40-years-old, escaped from the Flambeau Correctional Center in Wisconsin last August. He was behind bars for multiple drunk-driving convictions and writing bad checks, according to the Reeves County Sheriff's Department.

Krallis arrest came after he allegedly stole gasoline from a service station in Fort Stockton. He then led Texas Department of Public Safety troopers on a high-speed chase westbound on Interstate 10 from Pecos County into Reeves County.

Troopers used the "stop sticks" to blow out the tires of Krallis' vehicle at mile marker 206, just north of Balmorhea. When officers looked inside the truck they discovered what they thought could be a bomb, which forced the closure of the interstate for five hours. Officers investigated the item and eventually determined it to be a hoax, and reopened the highway.

"Department of Public Safety investigated this incident and we're holding him here in our jail," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "He was also under the influence and I think they found some heroin on him as well."

Krallis is five feet, 10 inches and weighs 195 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes and has a tattoo on his right arm.

Gomez said that the truck was also impounded in Pecos.

Year In Review

Rodeo events, RCDC budget woes marked July

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of stories recapping major news events in the Pecos area during 2003. Today's story covers the month of July.


PECOS, Tues., July1, 2003 As the West of the Pecos Museum celebrates its 40th Anniversary and the theme of this year's West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade theme, its only proper that one of its founders be the Grand Marshal of tomorrow's event.

Archie B. Scott is this year's designated parade Grand Marshal, and is the past president of West of the Pecos Museum Board of Directors However, Scott said that he also believed that he was chosen as the Grand Marshal because he served as Director of the Rodeo Association in the 1950s.


PECOS, Wed., July 2, 2003 Golden Girl nominee Bre'Ann Windham's float received first place from this year's West of the Pecos Parade judges, who included Jay Hendricks and Jessica Garate with KWES-Ch. 9 and Sam Conn from KOSA Ch. 7.

The parade was marred by one injury, when a 7-year-old boy child riding on a float had fell out and was been run over by one of the float's small tires at Third and Cedar Street.. The boy was taken to Reeves County Hospital for treatment of his injuries.


PECOS, Thursday, July 3, 2003 The young boy who fell off a float during Wednesday's West of the Pecos Parade was kept over night at Reeves County Hospital and was scheduled to be released sometime today.


PECOS, Thursday, July 3, 2003 After a little over two weeks from receiving a letter by mistake saying their funding would be cut off, the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force has received notification that they would be fully funded by the State of Texas for the 2003-04 fiscal year.


PECOS, Thursday, July 3, 2003 Reeves County has retained the services of a bond attorney out of Waco to advise the county of its options regarding the county's lease of the Reeves County Detention Center (RCDC) complex, Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo said this morning.

Galindo was talking to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons today in an effort to reach an amicable agreement, and added that payroll out at the facility had been met today.


PECOS, Thursday, July 3, 2003 The harvest season for Pecos Cantaloupe has already begun.

The sweet cantaloupe can already be found at the Pecos Cantaloupe Shed, with the first batch arriving in time for visitors to the West of the Pecos Rodeo to take some home with them this week.


PECOS, Mon., July 7, 2003 Trevor Brazile picked up his fourth West of the Pecos Rodeo All-Around Cowboy title, despite losing the lead in both the finals of steer roping and team roping on Saturday. Brazile, who is also the defending National Finals Rodeo All-Around Champion, was one of 10 cowboys in the 12-man finals of steer roping who were unable to come up with a legal tie, which allowed Mike Chase of Beloit, Kan., to come away with the victory.


PECOS, Tues., July 8, 2003 A report of a stolen vehicle led Pecos Police Officers and Reeves County Sheriff Deputies on a high-speed chase through the west side of Pecos and out to the Lindsey Addition late Monday night, which ended with the suspect eluding authorities for now.


PECOS, Wed., July 9, 2003 Fourth of July activities in Pecos were a big success and everyone was pleased with the outcome, according to Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce members.

"I attended most of the Fourth of July activities and was pleased at the number of people that were there," said chamber president Al Gomez. "Everything looked like it exceeded expectations."


PECOS, Thurs., July 10, 2003 The Town of Pecos City Council met this morning in the Council Chambers and approved a five-year tax abatement agreement with Trans Pecos Foods.

The council had tabled the abatement request at a previous meeting, while waiting on a report on the value of the land and fixtures before making a decision.


PECOS, Fri., July 11, 2003 Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD board members will maintain the school district's current tax rate for the 2003-04 school year, board members decided during their regular monthly meeting on Thursday.

The board received an update on Summary of Finances and approved a calendar to discuss the budget and proposed tax rate, and decided that the tax rate will be set at $1.50, the same as last year, according to PBT-ISD Superintendent Don Love.


PECOS, Fri., July 11, 2003 After being named as one of the three finalists last month, former Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD principal and current Balmorhea High School principal Mary Lou Carrasco has been named as the Superintendent for the Balmorhea Independent School District.

Carrasco is the former principal of Bessie Hayes Elementary. She had also been a teacher while living in Pecos, before taking over as Balmorhea principal at the start of the 2002-03 school year.


PECOS, Mon., July 14, 2003 Two new restrooms will be installed at the C.T. Gray Park in Balmorhea, Reeves County Commissioners decided this morning, and payments to different construction companies that worked at the site of the Reeves County Detention Center III were also approved during their regularly scheduled meeting.

Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin said that he had received an estimate from a man in Balmorhea who put the total cost for constructing the two restrooms at $1,500.


PECOS, Mon., July 14, 2003 Reeves County Hospital construction is on schedule and work on the addition to the 25-year-old facility is projected to be completed by March 1, 2004.

The addition is located on the north side of the existing hospital building, and hospital administrator Robert Vernor said that the construction is on schedule and everything is on track..


PECOS, Tues., July 15, 2003 A stolen pickup that eluded police following a chase on the southwest side of Pecos a week ago was recovered near the Pecos-Reeves County line two days following the incident.

The driver of the 1998 Chevy Z71 stolen pickup truck led Pecos Police Officers and Reeves County Deputies on a high-speed chase in the west side of town and out to Lindsey Addition, before disappearing in that area the night of July 8. The pick-up, minus its driver, was located on Interstate 10, about 30 miles south of the Lindsey Addition, according to Pecos police.


PECOS, Tues., July 15, 2003 A 28-year-old El Paso man pled guilty to four counts of transporting illegal immigrants on Monday at the Lucius D. Bunton III Federal Courthouse in Pecos.

According to a press release sent out by U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, Hugo Ricardo Ramirez pled guilty to four counts of transporting17 illegal aliens - two of those counts hand have an added charge of life endangerment. Ramirez was the driver of a moving van that had been stopped for speeding by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Arnulfo Rivas on May 27, 2003, near mile marker 33 on I-20.


PECOS, Thurs., July 17, 2003 The Town of Pecos City suffered a drop of over five percent in its population between July 1, 2000 and July 1, 2002, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city's population, which fell from just over 12,000 to 9,501 between 1990 and 2000, dropped to 8,945 as of July 1, 2002, the Census Bureau said. That represents a drop of 5.8 percent over the two-year period.


PECOS, Fri., July 18, 2003 A man who initially was believed to have had fired at a fleeing house burglar, but who was later charged with murder, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday after agreeing to a plea-bargain deal on a manslaughter charge.

Reuben Mills, 22, was sentenced to 10 years on the manslaughter charge on Thursday in 143rd District Court in Pecos. Mills was arrested on March 20 by Pecos police and charged in the shooting death of 21-year old Keith Leigh. He was found dead from a gunshot wound to the back two days earlier by officers in an alleyway two blocks south of Mills' house.


PECOS, Mon., July 21, 2003 A long-time Pecos dentist and former city councilman and school board member has died following a battle with cancer.

Dr. Elvia Reynolds, 78, died Friday at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

He retired from his dental practice on Feb. 28, after serving Pecos for 49 years as an orthodontist.


PECOS, Tues., July 22, 2003 A four-vehicle chain reaction crash at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint station in Sierra Blanca claimed the lives of five people, including two Pecos residents, while injuring four others Monday morning.

The Texas Department of Public Safety report the accident occurred at 9:50 a.m., MDT (10:50 a.m. CDT) in the eastbound lanes at mile marker 102 on Interstate 10, which is the location of the Sierra Blanca U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint.


PECOS, Wed., July 23, 2003 Former POW Jessica Lynch, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company, is planning to marry former Pecos resident Sgt. Ruben Contreras, Jr., also a member of the 507th Maintenance Company, Lynch's cousin, 1st Sgt. Dan Little, said in an interview Wednesday with Diane Sawyer on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Contreras' father and grandparent still live in Pecos. He is one of three members of the 507th Maintenance Division with local family ties. The two others, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Johnny Villarreal Mata and Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto were among the 11 soldiers killed in the firefight near Nasiriyah, in which Lynch was injured.


PECOS, Wed., July 23, 2003 Charges have been filed against the 61-year-old truck driver in connection with the Monday morning accident near Sierra Blanca that left two Pecos residents and three other persons from Arkansas dead.

Cecilia 'Ceci' Santana Carrasco, 27 and Jacob Carrasco, 2, both of Pecos, died in the wreck, while Carrasco's husband, Rudy, and the couple's 5-year-old daughter Bethany, are being treated for their injuries at Thomason Hospital in El Paso.


PECOS, Thurs., July 24, 2003 A 25-year old man who led local officers on a high-speed chase through the west side of Pecos and out to the Lindsay addition after stealing a vehicle from the Sonic Drive-In parking lot earlier this month was arrested in Odessa on local charges.

According to the Odessa Police Department report, Jesus Manuel Martinez, of Pecos was arrested Tuesday night on a capias pro fine warrant for theft under $50, failure to identify as a fugitive and for probation violation.


PECOS, Fri., July 25, 2003 Reeves County officials met with U.S. Bureau of Prison officials in Washington on Thursday, to discuss the financial crisis faced by the county at the Reeves County Detention Center.

County and prison officers along with representatives from different entities were in Washington this week, and met with U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla about the prison, which was expanded earlier this year to hold an additional 960 inmates, but which does not have a contract with the BOP to fill the facility with any new inmates.


PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 Reeves County will receive a slightly lower man-day rate for inmates at the county's detention center and will be looking to make budget cuts at the 2,000-bed facility, as the result of an agreement worked out with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons last Thursday.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo outlined the result of 13 hours of negotiation between the county and BOP officials in Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon during the regular meeting of county commissioners in the Reeves County Courthouse.

The meeting with BOP resulted in the reduction of the man-day rate from $47.47 to $47.33, and federal officials also requested that certain budget cuts be made out at the local facility.


PECOS, Wed., July 30, 2003 Reeves County has retained a Washington, D.C. lawyer and the lobbyist brother of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in an effort to help in negotiations with the Bureau of Prisons over the Reeves County Detention Center III project.

The announcement of the hiring of attorney Joe Summerall and lobbyist Randy DeLay came during a special Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting held this morning to discuss several items pertaining to the Reeves County Detention Center.

Commissioners also took steps this morning towards meeting the wage standards of the U.S. Department of Labor for at the Reeves County Detention Center, increasing pay scales for many employees at the facility to meet federal guidelines.


PECOS, Thurs., July 31, 2003 A 35-year-old Pecos man is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of arson Tuesday, by a jury in the 143rd District Court in Pecos.

Kacey Lynn Jordan was found guilty of arson, an incident that occurred on Aug. 21, 2002, after the home that his girlfriend and her children were living in was heavily damaged in an overnight fire.

Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said the following day that his deputies arrested Jordan for terroristic threats on his girlfriend, Crissy Florez. He was arrested at 906 S. Walnut St. by deputies, about 10 hours after the fire broke out at the Florez' Oak Street home.

Sheriff plans new search for missing teen

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- Law enforcement officials are planning another search of the Balmorhea area in hopes of finding for a teenage girl who has been missing since October of last year.

"We haven't forgotten about her and we plan to continue searching for her," said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez of Monica Cassandra Carrasco, who disappeared from her Balmorhea home three months ago.

Gomez said that he has been talking to some people from Houston that will come to the area and help them look again for the missing teen.

Carrasco, 16, disappeared sometime between the late evening of Oct. 1 and the early morning of Oct. 2.

She is described as 110 pounds, black hair with red streaks, brown eyes and 5-foot-5 in height. She has a small mole on her cheek and a chicken pox scar near her hairline on her forehead.

Law enforcement officials began looking for Carrasco the morning of her disappearance. Representatives from the Reeves County Sheriff's Office, the Border Patrol, the Fort Stockton-Lynell Unit and the Department of Public Safety all contributed to the initial search for the girl.

"We've already done a thorough search, but there are a few more places that I want to look," said Gomez. "There are different locations that we plan to check."

"We've already done a lot of things, including dragging the lake, looking in the mountains and throughout the Balmorhea area," said Gomez. "This is really hard for the family, but we want them to know that we will do another search and are still thinking of her," he said.

A reward of $1,000 has now been offered for information assisting officers in locating Carrasco.

Midland Crime Stoppers has offered the reward for information that can help solve the mystery of the teen's disappearance.

At the time she disappeared, officials said they suspected Carrasco just walked out of her home wearing only her pajamas. They also said she was believed to be taking anti-depressants.

"She's on medication right now," Gomez shortly after the initial search.

People are urged to call the Midland Crime Stoppers at 432-694-TIPS or 1-800-7-LOCKUP or any local law enforcement agency with any information that might be beneficial to the investigation.

Crime Stoppers would like to stress that callers will remain anonymous and that no caller ID is every used on a call.

Individuals can also call the Reeves County Sheriff's Office at 432-445-4901 or the local Crime Stoppers, 432-445-9898.

OC late sign-ups set for next week

PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- Prospective Odessa College students who still want to register for spring 2004 courses may still do so through Friday, Jan. 16.

OC will hold late registration and make schedule changes 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 12-Thursday, Jan. 15 and 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday Jan. 16.

New students will begin registration on the second floor of the Administration Building in the admissions office. For more information, contact the OC Admissions Office at 335-6432, or visit the OC Web site at


PECOS, Wed., Jan. 7, 2004 -- High Tuesday 45. Low this morning 27. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 40. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 70. West winds 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows near 30. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Northeast winds near 10 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Saturday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 60s to the lower 70s. Saturday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s.


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