Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Villalobos put on probation for four years
Ward County Commissioner Ben Villalobos was placed on
probation Thursday, a day after being convicted of theft by
a public servant in 143rd District Court in Monahans.
The jury handed down a sentence of two years in prison and a
$5,000 fine, recommending the sentence be suspended in favor
of four years probation, which visiting Judge Larry Fuller
Judge Fuller entered an order for the sentence, including
restitution of $1,564.19 to Ward County and 175 hours
Villalobos, whose Precinct 1 includes Barstow in western
Ward County, was convicted on eight counts of theft relating
to the theft of specific items purchased from an auto parts
store. Because he is a public servant, the violation is a
Villalobos can continue to serve as Ward County
Commissioner, pending an appeal of the jury's decision.
However, he will have to resign his position if Wednesday's
verdict is upheld.
Special prosecutor Tom Lee of Del Rio said that Villalobos,
his foreman Paul Valles, and a Big A Auto Parts clerk, Joe
Larry Lopez, operated a scheme to purchase parts for
personal use and falsify invoices to make it appear the
items were for county use.
Valles is also charged in the scheme, and his trial is
Tony Chavez of Odessa represented Villalobos.
Lawyers seek to lower bail in drug cases
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
District Judge Bob Parks set habeas corpus hearings for
Hector Pando, Yolanda Gonzales Pando and Daniel Saldico
Dutchover for 2 p.m. today in Monahans 143rd District Court.
All three were arrested in Balmorhea Nov.21 and jailed on a
variety of drug charges.
The Pandos, who live in the Lindsay Addition southwest of
Pecos, each have bail set at $80,000 for possession of
cocaine, $150,000 for possession of heroin, $25,000 for
delivery of marijuana, $25,000 for delivery of cocaine and
$50,000 for delivery of cocaine.
Odessa attorney Tony Chavez filed motions to reduce what he
termed excessive bail on the Pandos.
Dutchover's total bail on 11 charges in $425,000. His
attorney, Roddy Harrison, filed a motion to lower bail to
Their arrests came after an undercover investigation by
Pecos Police, Reeves County Sheriff's deputies, the Permian
Basin Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Border Patrol.
Jack Brewer, assistant task force chief, said they are
working toward filing the charges in federal court.
"We are taking it under advisement and contacting the proper
authorities," Brewer said today. "We should know something
in the next day or two."
Law enforcement officials estimated that over $120,000 in
heroin, cocaine and marijuana were seized in the Nov. 21
raid in Balmorhea, and an ensuing raid in the early morning
hours of Nov. 22 at the Pandos' home in Pecos.
Dutchover's bond cut, Pandos' bail stays high
By MARI MALDONADO
A Pecos couple's attempt to lower their bond in a drug
seizure fell short of their expectations, but a Balmorhea
man's bond was decreased by more than $300,000, but under
strict probation guidelines, during a writ of habeas corpus
trial Friday afternoon in Monahans.
The hearing for Daniel Salcido Dutchover, 46, of Balmorhea,
and Hector Brito, 43, and Yolanda Gonzalez Pando, 37, was
held at the Ward County Courthouse in Monahans after 143rd
District Attorney John Stickels was unable to travel from
Midland to Pecos in sufficient time for the case.
The hearing was held to allow the defendants to establish
probable cause for lowering their bondson charges filed
within Reeves County in connection with an alleged drug
seizure of over $120,000 two weeks ago in Pecos and
Each of the alleged drug dealers are also facing separate
charges and bonds bonds out of Ector County, which were
filed by Permian Basin Drug Task Force agents. Friday's
hearing was solely based on Reeves County charges.
Tony Garcia, an undercover agent for the PBDTF, stated that
Dutchover allegedly sold him different amounts of cocaine
and marijuana on eight separate occasions.
Garcia testified that on the night of Nov. 21, when a PBDTF
team entered Dutchover's home about 10 p.m., Dutchover had
sold him 4.5 pounds of what was believed to be marijuana
packed in a PVC pipe and about one pound of what was
suspected to be cocaine.
During questioning, Garcia told Stickels he had made a
recording of the sale and would be able to identify all the
voices. Judge Bob Parks allowed the tape to be admitted as
evidence, and a short excerpt of the tape was played by
Garcia for the court.
Reeves County Narcotics Investigator Clay McKinney then took
the stand and testified that the Dutchover residence, which
is located on Route 1, Box 2B, in Balmorhea, had been under
surveillance after he recieved numerous tips that cocaine
was allegedly being stored at that address.
"I believe he is involved in drug trafficking to a large
degree," McKinney said.
Dutchover's attorney, Roddy Harrison, objected to McKinney's
statement, but the judge allowed it based on McKinney's
expertise as a narcotics investigator.
A lifelong resident of Balmorhea, Dutchover then took the
stand. He testified that he was not employed at the time of
the raid and he helped his wife run Dutchover's Restaurant
and helped raise his "baby kids."
Dutchover testified he was not financially able to meet the
$425,000 bond set against him by both Reeves County Justice
of the Peace for Precinct 3 Joel Madrid and a magistrate in
He affirmed that the PBDTF seized the house he lives in, his
father's home, three cars, land, and a trailer and barbecue
pit he used to make money with by cooking for social
"Do you have any physical assets left in your possession?"
Harrison asked Dutchover.
"No," he said.
Dutchover told Stickels he would be reluctantly willing to
submit to electronic monitoring, and Dutchover's uncle,
Manuel Salcido, owner of Salcido Sand and Gravel of Pecos,
later testified that he would be willing to make his
Judge Parks ruled that a bond of $50,000 for the Reeves
County charges, which the state will prosecute as a
continuing criminal scheme. He established the probation
regulation to be: Dutchover will remain in his home or
restaurant between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., he
should ask for permission to travel outside Reeves County,
report to his probation officer once a week and submit to
drug and alcohol testing.
The Pandos, who have been married 23 years and have lived in
Pecos for the past 12, are facing bonds of $50,000 apiece
for delivery of cocaine, $25,000 each for delivery of
cocaine, $25,000 each for delivery of heroin, $125,000 each
for possession of heroin and $150,000 each for possession of
Garcia was again called to the stand and testified that on
the night of Nov. 21 the couple arrived in Balmorhea after
Dutchover called them on his cellular phone after the
alleged sale of marijuana and cocaine.
Garcia said after they drove up to the house, Dutchover
walked over to the car and picked up a PVC pipe packed with
what he believed to be marijuana and two clear plastic bags
of what he presumed to be cocaine.
He stated that PBDTF units were then notified and arrived at
the premises with a search warrant. U.S. Border Patrol
agents aided in the search.
McKinney testified that as a narcotics agent for more than
eight years, and having attended a training session by the
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration on black tar heroin,
there is a black tar heroin problem in Reeves County.
"Large amounts of our (local) arrests," involve the drug, he
Stickels told the court the question about McKinney's
expertise in black tar heroin and the problem in Reeves
County with it was relevant to the Pando's cases.
The search warrant for the Pando residence on the southwest
side of Pecos was obtained by McKinney soon after the
Dutchober seizure, and was based on evidence provided from
the earlier incident.
The local narcotics entry team, comprised of Pecos Police
officers and Reeves County deputies, entered the home of
Hector and Yolanda Pando about 3:00 a.m., November 22.
McKinney testified on where the seized evidence was found,
including various amounts of black tar heroin found in the
master bedroom of the main house.
Also seized were two handguns, $3,310 in cash, cocaine, a
cullular phone and four weighing scales.
McKinney also said the team again entered the Pando
residence last week, after they received a tip that the
couple were storing money there.
The subsequent search took place last Wednesday about 8:15
p.m. Uncovered and seized was $996 and a Ford Bronco blazer
after investigators allegedly found what was believed to be
marijuana seeds in a zipper compartment in the back of the
seats. THe vehicle was registered to Anival Pando and Hector
Anival Pando, 21, was arrested during the Nov. 22 raid, in
an apartment located in the back yard of the Pando
residence. He is free on a $25,000 bond after being charged
with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
During questioning by Stickels, McKinney said Yolanda Pando
was a resident alien and Hector Pando a naturalized citizen.
Based on his investigation, he stated that in his opinion
the Pando's were, "major drug trafficers," whose network
extended outside of Reeves County.
He noted that the team found a picture of Hector Pando in a
uniform believed to be of a federal Mexican agent or police
uniform and phone records of the household indicate several
phone calls to Mexico.
Hector Pando, Jr., 22, then took the stand. He was
questioned by Stickels about his parents' financial status,
and said they did not have sufficnet means to meet their
bonds of over $200,000.
Hector Pando stated that his mother had visited Mexico
recently to see a doctor and that his brother, Anival, looks
Stickels then surprised Pando, questioning him about a fake
Mexican identification card the district attorney displayed
to the court. Pando told Stickels he needed to consult with
his attorney twice before answering any questions on the
card bearing his picture with Anival's personal data.
"Does your probation officer know you have a fake
identification card?" asked Stickels.
"No sir," replied Pando, who is currently on probation after
having been arrested for possession of marijuana at the
Presidio County border checkpoint near Marfa.
Tony Chavez, Jr., attorney for the Pandos, requested that
the couple's bonds be reduced to $5,000 for each count on
the grounds that the bonds were excessive and the Pando did
not have the financial means to make the bonds.
"Every Hispanic will have traveled to Mexico and have ties
in Mexico," argued Chavez, and added that the reduction
should not be denied because they have relatives in Mexico.
"Because of their long and strong ties to Pecos, and if the
court is concerned about them going to Mexico, order them
not to go to Mexico," as a probation restriction he said on
the effort to lower their bonds.
However, Stickels replied that the Pandos "have extensive
motivation" to leave town if put on probation. He also said
no evidence presented to the court had proved how a bond
reduction would protect the citizens of Reeves County, and
Parks ruled the bonds would remain at $100,000.
Wal-Mart fatality case opens new courthouse
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Questions raised in the first trial to be held in the new
federal courthouse in Pecos may set a precedent for "Good
Samaritan" cases throughout the country.
Perry Williams, Jr., and Virginia Pendleton are suing
Wal-Mart for negligence in the death of their father, Perry
They claim the store refused to allow bystanders at the
store to render immediate aid to the elder Williams, after
he suffered a heart attack and fell face down in Wal-Mart on
Nov. 9, 1993. Efforts to resusitate him were unsuccessful.
Medical records on file with the court show Williams to be a
black male, age 70. He was suffering from congestive heart
failure, the records show.
Williams' children allege that a Wal-Mart employee refused
to allow a customer to attempt to resusitate him before the
Once on the scene, ambulance attendants appliled suction,
CPR and intubation to Williams. When he arrived at Reeves
County Hospital, emergency room personnel applied CPR for 40
minutes with no response, records show.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Louis Guirola, Jr., will preside for
the trial before a six-person jury.
Court personnel are busy today reveiving new furniture and
placing files on the shelves in their new quarters. Their
move from the old courthouse was completed Saturday.
"It's wonderful!" said Karen White, deputy district clerk of
her large office. With at least four times the space as her
old office the quarters are already beginning to look
White has a private office with a view of the front counter
so she can see when customers come in. "Maybe I can get some
work done now," she said.
Jamie Weatherman's desk, with new computer and printer, are
in the outer office.
"It's wonderful to have an actual desk," she said. She has
used a small table in the file room, which she shared with
Terrazas, deputy clerk for Judge Guirola, has an office by
himself for the first time. He had elbowed district court
files along one wall, law books on the other, a copy machine
and fax, and Weatherman's small table.
"It feels great," he said. "I feel like I don't have enough
shelf space. We are a little short on furniture."
Records are stored in a file room, and a vault stores
evidence and files closed to the public.
Deputy Marshal Billy Johnson said the best part is the
security the new building provides.
"It is a very safe and secure place to work, as far as
prisoners and everything," he said. "We can hold and move
prisoners without them coming in contact with the public."
Crash on I-20 near Barstow kills woman
By MARI MALDONADO
A Virginia woman was killed and an Amarillo man injured in a
two vehicle collision Friday afternoon on Interstate 20.
Catherine Elizabeth Clark, 26, of Springfield, Va., was
pronounced dead at 12:04 p.m. by Ward County Precinct 1
Justice of the Peace Pascual Olibas following an accident on
I-20 between mile markers 57 and 58, about eight miles east
Trial opens in Wal-Mart fatality suit
by PEGGY McCRACKEN
Perry Williams Sr. died of a massive heart attack at
Wal-Mart Nov. 9, 1993, and a pathologist believes
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) would likely not have
saved him, two lawyers said in federal court this morning.
Williams' children, Perry Williams Jr. and Virginia
Pendleton, sued Wal-Mart for negligence, claiming a Wal-Mart
employee prevented a bystander from performing CPR
immediately after Williams fell face-first to the floor.
Pamela Machuca Dominguez, a former Wal-Mart employee, will
testify that she was a customer in the store that morning,
that she was certified to perform CPR, and that she offered
to do so, said Abner Burnett, representing the plaintiffs.
But defense attorney Richard Bonner said several Wal-Mart
employees will testify they did not see Dominguez and that
she did not offer to perform CPR. He also said that
Dominguez's certification in CPR had lapsed.
Wal-Mart employees called 911 immediately after Williams
collapsed, and first responder Richard Thorp arrived at the
scene in about 2 1/2 minutes, Bonner said.
Pecos Ambulance Service chief Susan Starck arrived five
minutes after the initial call, and she said Thorp
administered CPR at the store and enroute to Reeves County
Hospital, Bonner said.
Doctors at the hospital continued resuscitation efforts for
40 minutes before pronouncing Williams dead of ventricular
fibrillation (disruption of electrical impulses that make
the heart beat).
U.S. Magistrate Judge Louis Guirola Jr. of Midland is
presiding for the jury trial, which is expected to continue
Seven jurors were chosen from among 19 summoned for the
first trial in the new federal courthouse at 410 S. Cedar
The panel was impressed by the courthouse.
Robert McClintock of Sierra Blanca said, "I think it is
marvelous; a splendid deice of work and workmanship."
Asked about negative publicity about the building being a
waste of taxpayers' money, McClintock said he heard Tom
Brokaw's report on NBC News.
"I don't believe it is a waste of money, considering where
the money came from," he said. "I think the idea of
forfeiture funds being used rather than tax funds is good.
That's what I have been led to understand."
Lucila Valenzuela of Pecos said the building is "so nice. It
is just so nice that here in Pecos we have it."
She didn't hear the negative report on ABC's Nightline, and
is glad she didn't.
"Who gives people the right to run down something they don't
know the needs?" she asked. "They give all this negative
publicity without knowing the people here, without knowing
the geographical area, without knowing real people involved
-- the people that are going to come here."
Valenzuela said she has heard Senior Judge Lucius Bunton
criticized for pushing for the building's construction.
"I think he is a wonderful judge," she said.
Wilson claims resignation forced by Gil
By MARI MALDONADO
Pecos' Animal Control Officer for over a quarter century has
decided to turn in his net after several months of
not-so-blissful employment since the transfer of his
position into the health and sanitation department.
Billy Joe Wilson, who has attended to the public's animal
control needs in Pecos for 26 1/3 years, said that the last
four months under the supervision of Health and Sanitation
Director Armando Gil have been unbearable.
Wilson is claiming that he was unjustly reprimanded by Gil
after a local resident and Reeves County sheriff's deputy
claimed that Wilson shot his dog and left the dead animal in
Wilson said he asked Reeves County Deputy Gilbert M. Rayos
to secure his dog after he spotted it roaming the
neighborhood two weeks ago. "I only gave him a warning.
Since he's a law enforcement officer, I figured he would do
it," he said.
Wilson said he was again notified by Rayos' neighbors of the
loose dog, and when he drove over to the area he found the
dog unsecured. He said he shot his rifle into the ground to
scare the animal back to the owner's yard, located in the
300 block of Peach Street. The dog scurried under Rayos'
trailer home and Wilson said he again issued a warning to
"I know I didn't kill the dog," Wilson said.
Wilson explained that it was his practice, whenever he had
to kill an animal, he would pick it up and take it to the
city landfill. "I've never left one in a yard," he said.
Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore, who was Wilson's supervisor
until the animal control department's transfer earlier this
year, said this morning that his office "had no accusations
of that type" while Wilson worked under the Pecos PD as
animal control officer.
"It's sure hard to believe," said Moore of Gil's accusation
towards Wilson. "We never had any problems like that."
Moore said he didn't have problems with Wilson's work. He
added that he did converse with Wilson in his office at
times, "but my method of supervision is participant, anyway."
Wilson said he did not take the matter to Gil's supervisor
because of earlier attempts he said were futile.
Wilson said that Gil verbally threatened him, stating, "I
better do it (follow his orders) and better not say anything
about it or I would regret it."
The former ACO said that he confronted Gil's supervisor,
City Manager Harry Nagel, and all three men met behind
closed doors in Nagel's office. Wilson said Gil denied
making the threat when asked by Nagel.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise