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WASHINGTON - The Southwest border is under siege from armed Mexican drug
traffickers who use sophisticated equipment such as night vision scopes
to sneak into the United States, a Texas border police chief told
Washington needs to devote more resources to fighting drug trafficking,
Eagle Pass Police Chief Tony Castaneda said Tuesday.
``Our area is desolate. We're understaffed and it's a big drug haven for
the drug lords moving in,'' Castaneda told the House Government Reform
and Oversight Committee's panel on national security, international
affairs and criminal justice.
Castaneda was accompanied by Rep. Henry Bonilla, a San Antonio
Republican whose district spans nearly a third of the 2,000-mile border.
After a Border Patrol agent was gunned down last year during a firefight
with suspected drug traffickers outside Eagle Pass, the feds dispatched
Reinforcements to Eagle Pass's 58-officer police force had a big effect
on drug seizures and arrests, Castaneda said. ``However, that help was
only short-lived,'' he said.
Asked what's needed from the federal government, Castaneda replied:
``Total commitment. If you're going to go to war, you need to dedicate
to the cause.''
Three-fourths of the cocaine smuggled into the United States comes
through Mexico, according to U.S. estimates.
As U.S. law enforcement has beefed up its presence at heavily traveled
border crossings, drug traffickers have been seeking out more remote
border entry points.
Bonilla said ranchers and farmers in his district ``live in fear as
armed smugglers cut down their fences and pass right outside their
``No American citizen should have to live under this threat,'' he
Bonilla was more vocal in his complaints that Washington is giving short
shrift to the border.
He blamed the Clinton administration for playing politics with federal
law enforcement, moving Border Patrol agents from Texas to California
temporarily last year.
Bonilla said the agents' reassignment smacked of election-year politics
- a charge the administration has denied.
``The drug lords understand the administration's message,'' Bonilla
testified. ``That message is, `Smuggle along the Texas border; there are
fewer resources here to stop you.'''
Administration officials say resources are deployed along the border as
needed. They also note an unprecedented surge of personnel and such
tools as motion detectors, night vision scopes and aircraft have been
devoted to the Southwest border in recent years because of congressional
and presidential funding priorities.
The Border Patrol has grown from just under 4,000 agents in 1993 to
nearly 6,900 agents last year. By October, the Border Patrol should be
up to 7,400 agents.
Law enforcement has made some strides in the war on drugs because of
increased cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement
in the 3-year-old Southwest Border Initiative, deputy assistant attorney
general Mary Lee Warren told lawmakers.
Among the accomplishments she cited were the arrest, extradition and
conviction of Mexican drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego; and the arrests last
year of some 150 people and seizure of six tons of cocaine in Operation
Zorro II, an attempt to break up a coast-to-coast Mexican-Colombian
cocaine smuggling ring.
Lee Sleeper, SRSU public relations officer, said the first call at 12:35
p.m. warning that a bomb on campus would go off in 20 minutes evoked a
lot of joking about which administrator or faculty member they were
after - or which student had a tough test scheduled.
"But the humor wore off pretty quick," Sleeper said, after
administrators, faculty and students stood in the snowy, icy 25-degree
cold outdoors for awhile.
"The second time we went out, we made sure we had plenty of coats with
us," Sleeper said.
The last call came at 4 p.m. Night classes were canceled, and everyone
was sent home. Students who live in the dorms either went home with
friends or to the Alpine Civic Center, where the food services
department served the evening meal.
Sleeper said that law enforcement officers and firemen made a visual
search of every building and office, completing the futile search about
11 p.m. Students were allowed back in the dorms at 7:30 p.m.
"We were in a situation where we were certain it was a crank call, but
you can't gamble on that," Sleeper said. "Someone said it might be
Richard McLaren (Republic of Texas `ambassador'), and federal officers
would come in and help us. We didn't want that, so we dropped that idea."
All three calls were from females, but since they were to different
parts of the campus, it was impossible to determine if one, two or three
persons made the calls, Sleeper said.
Two suspects were questioned Tuesday night by investigators for the
Alpine Police Department, but released when it appeared they were not
involved, he said.
"Our university police officers are comparing notes with the Alpine
Police Department and trying to determine any patterns," he said.
Sleeper said that bomb specialists at Fort Bliss in El Paso and Midland
were contacted. Fort Bliss could not provide a search dog, and Midland
had only one.
"We decided not to bring it down because we had to search such a large
amount of property and it was not realistic," Sleeper said. "We got all
the volunteers associated with law enforcement agencies and made a
building-to-building, office-to-office search and went through drawers
and filing cabinets."
With the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering starting up Friday, Sleeper said
everyone is hoping no more calls come in.
"Without a doubt there is some nut out there that says, `Gee, wouldn't
it be fun?'" he says. "We are wondering what to do if a call comes. We
are hoping that it is over with."
The Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico was adopted during a
special convention at Washington-On-The-Brazos, a small community carved
out of the woodlands on a hill overlooking the muddy Brazos River in
Zavala Middle School students are planning an array of activities in
observance of Texas Independence Week and are urging the public to join
Throughout the school year, the students study their Texas history, but
for this particular week they will be focusing more on Texas
Independence and Texas trivia.
For instance, where does the word Texas come from and what does it mean
in Indian language? The word comes from "Caddo" and it means friends.
- Long before they flew over the theme park by that name, six actual
flags flew over Texas. What were they?
- Four U.S. States have the good fortune to border Texas. Can you name
- The American Indians who developed into great horsemen and frightened
the daylights out of early Texas Settlers were the ________.
The answers to these questions are:
- The six flags are from Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas and
the United States Confederacy.
- The four states that border Texas are Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma
and New Mexico.
- The Indians who frightened the daylights out of early Texas Settlers
were the Comanches.
One of the main activities Zavala students have planned for this week is
the Bean and Corn Dish Dinner which will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday
at the West of the Pecos Museum.
The public will have an opportunity to experience Texas cuisine from the
Dinner includes beans, a variety of corn dishes, corn breads, desserts,
coffee and tea. Students will be auctioning off an assortment of box
Tickets are on sale now for $2 each.
The students urge everyone to come to the museum and bring "the whole
Dr. David Lovett will fire his canon at 7 p.m. Thursday, during the
Another project currently underway is a big "Texas" welcome being
constructed on Interstate 20.
The New Mexico Department of Tourism has stockpiled nearly 800 events
into its new 1997 New Mexico Vacation Guide.
Weighing 2.1 ounces less than the 1996 annual, thanks to lighter paper
and fewer pages, the 184-page guide also salutes 1997 as the second year
New Mexico will be celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Santa Fe
The back of the latest guide's state highway map is a four-color SFT
brochure of New Mexico's 36 trail sites and attractions. The insert is
timely, since the city of Clayton in northeast New Mexico cohosts an SFT
Symposium in September.
The subject of the cover is Guadalupita Mesa in the Jemez Mountains by
Jemez Springs photographer David Baker.
For a free copy of the guide, contact DOT, Room 751, Lamy Bldg., 491 Old
Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, N.M. 87503, 800-545-2040, ext. 751.
Group against deregulation of power plants
Deregulation of Texas power plants may create air pollution that will
damage the citizens' health, says a report published by the Sustainable
Energy and Economic Development Coalition.
The report, "The Most Powerful Polluters in Texas," found that Texas
utility-owned power plants are the most polluting in the nation and are
a major source of industrial air pollution in Texas cities.
Power plants are a key reason that several cities violate federal air
quality standards, the report found.
"This industry is headed for deregulation," said Peter Altman, state
director of SEED and a report author. "On one hand, we have to make sure
that power plant emissions don't blow through the roof. On the other
hand, this is our chance to clear the air."
Reports are available for $3.50 ($2.50 each for two or more) from SEED,
1714 Fortview Road, Ste. 101, Austin TX 78704; e-Mail
Check the SEED Home Page at http://www.austin360.com/greenzone/SEED.
Section of a new food services director for the school district is also
part of Thursday's lengthy agenda.
The meeting is the regular monthly session for February, which was
postponed for two weeks by the board.
The district has been without a food service director since December,
when Calvin Howard resigned. Discussion/approval of a new person for
that post will following a closed session, during which board members
are also scheduled to discuss/approve job descriptions; and
discuss/approve professional personnel resignations, assignments and
Under audiences, trustees will: recognize career and technology students
and Lindley Workman.
Correspondence includes: acknowledgement of the Pecos Age Group Swim
Team donation; letters from the U.S. Department of Justice; Community
Justice Council representative and letters from TEA.
Agenda items under Old Business include: discuss/approve Pecos High
School Building B Roof Plan and solicit bids; discuss/approve band
uniforms; update on restructuring study; AEP/JDC report; high school
discipline report; telephone system report; PHS HVAC report and
Gifted/Talented program report.
New Business agenda items are: report from elections coordinator; order
school trustee election and appoint early voting clerk; discuss/approve
selection of election judges, alternate judges, early voting ballot
board judge and alternate and central counting officials for the May 3,
1997 school trustee election; election calendar; ratify dissolution of
CED; TAAS report; first reading of Policy Update 53; discuss/approve
1996-97 budget amendments;
Discuss/approve budget calendar; discuss/approve selection of auditor;
discuss/approve textbook committee recommendations; report on certified
board member training; discuss/approve dress code; discuss/approve bad
weather make-up day; discuss 1997-98 school calendar and discuss/approve
The board will convene at 6 p.m. at the district board room, located at
1304 S. Park.
Hu Buford Bryant, 56, died Monday, Feb. 24 in Jackson, Miss.
Services are scheduled for Thursday at St. Peters Episcopal Church in
He was born Oct. 10, 1940 in Pecos, was a member of the Presbyterian
Church and retired. He moved to Oxford in 1953.
Survivors include his wife, Kay Bryant of Oxford, Miss.; his mother,
Elizabeth Bryant of Oxford, Miss.; two daughters; one step-son; one
step-daughter; two sisters, Patsy McGuirk of Lancaster, Calif. and Marie
Sartor of Marks, Miss.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the
Leukemia Foundation or Hopewell Cemetery, Route 5, Box 280, Oxford,
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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