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Links to Republic of Texas pages:ROT|Richard McLaren
By MARK BABINECK
Associated Press Writer
FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP), April 29, 1997 - Armed members of a group
demanding independence for Texas and holed up in a mountain community
are defiant: They have no plans to surrender.
And a lawyer for the separatist group's leader, Richard McLaren, said
today McLaren ``will likely be killed'' if police try to arrest him. The
lawyer, Terry O'Rourke, said he was concerned with getting his client
``Clearly he's better off in the courtroom than he is in the
mountains,'' O'Rourke said this morning out at a police roadblock in the
Two miles from the group's remote sprawling community, a 15-member state
SWAT team watched and waited early today, joining at least 75 state and
federal law-enforcement agents for the third day of the standoff.
O'Rourke said the government has warrants for the arrest of McLaren, the
self-styled ``ambassador'' of one faction of the Republic of Texas
``If they attempt to execute those warrants he will likely be killed,''
``Nobody wants another Waco,'' O'Rourke said, referring to the 1993
federal siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco. He said
earlier that the group's members were well-armed and prepared to fight.
O'Rourke told KDFW-TV of Dallas that he spoke with McLaren early today
and planned to meet with him in person later. Authorities had refused to
let him into the area late Monday.
O'Rourke said McLaren retained him on Monday, but he has known the man
for at least four years. He called McLaren an environmentalist, saying
he opposed federal environmental regulations but had developed ``quite
innovative'' alternative proposals to protect wildlife and the land.
Earlier, Mike Cox, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety,
said negotiations with the Republic group were cordial, with topics
ranging from political philosophy to the weather.
``Some degree of progress has been made,'' he said, refusing to
Within hours of that statement, McLaren issued his own, interpreting the
FBI proposals as demands for surrender.
``Mr. McLaren states that they have no intention of surrendering -
they're only interested in getting the foreign agents off of Texas
soil,'' the statement read.
About 10 Republic members were believed to be entrenched in the rugged
6,000-acre Davis Mountains Resort community, located 175 miles southeast
of El Paso. The New York Times reported today that state officials said
they did not know the exact number and could not rule out the
possibility that there were children at the ``embassy,'' McLaren's
ramshackle trailer in the development.
Authorities believed group members were hiding out in or around the
As many as 80 residents of the area were urged to leave, but no one was
considered to be in danger.
Six Republic members were charged Monday with engaging in organized
criminal activity, a first-degree felony. Cox said three were also
charged with aggravated kidnapping for Sunday's hostage-taking that led
to the standoff.
Members held Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe hostage for 12 hours, demanding
the release of two jailed comrades and a referendum on Texas
Mrs. Rowe said she and her husband believed the attackers were willing
to kill them.
``It wasn't an empty threat. If somebody will come shooting in your
door, they mean it,'' Mrs. Rowe said at a medical center in Alpine,
where her husband was in stable condition with shrapnel wounds to his
The attack followed months of conflict between McLaren and Rowe, head of
the community's property owners' association.
Earlier Monday, the Rowes were exchanged for Robert Scheidt, identified
as the Republic's ``captain of the embassy guard'' who was arrested
Sunday on weapons violations. He has since joined the three people who
took the Rowes hostage.
The group also demanded the release from jail of Jo Ann Canady Turner,
but she remained in custody after her arrest in Austin last week on two
Scheidt initially was asked by a fellow Republic member to order the
Rowes' release and said he didn't have the authority, said Presidio
County Judge Jake Brisbin, who talked with Scheidt on Sunday at a jail
``I suggested to him that there are a few times in people's lives that
they can step up and do the right thing,'' Brisbin said. ``He said he
couldn't do that.''
About 20 minutes later, the judge said, Scheidt changed his mind. ``He
did not want any harm to come to the Rowes,'' Brisbin said. Brisbin
eventually released Scheidt to the custody of law authorities, who
eventually completed the swap.
Republic members contend they are the legitimate government of Texas,
which they say was illegally annexed as a state in 1845. They have filed
millions of dollars in bogus liens against Texans and public officials.
The group, founded in December 1995, has split into at least three
factions, two of which now disavow McLaren. ``It appears that Richard
McLaren and those acting with him have gone completely off the deep
end,'' said one Web site posting made by a rival Republic faction.
McLaren has threatened to resist any attempt to arrest him and compared
his situation to deadly government standoffs near Waco and at Ruby
``These boys are asking for a total military assault,'' he said in an
interview with The Associated Press earlier this year. ``Our defense
forces will fire because we would consider it an invasion.''What do you
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PECOS, April 29, 1997 - Guards at the Reeves County Detention Center
(RCDC) may soon present a more professional, kinder and gentler
appearance. Yesterday, county commissioners heard a presentation from
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco to outfit guards at the facility in new uniforms
with white shirts and tan slacks.
"The new uniforms will take away the stigma of a military uniform,"
While commissioners generally agreed that RCDC guards should switch to
the new uniforms, Franco agreed to return to the court with a more
complete financial plan to implement the change.
As presented by Franco yesterday each guard would receive a yearly $200
allowance to purchase the new uniforms. The maintenance and replacement
of uniforms would then be up to the individual guard, Franco said.
"This puts the responsibility of maintaining their appearance on the
staff," Franco said.
Franco's preliminary estimate indicated it would cost the county $31,000
to put the guards into the new uniforms. This figure would include the
anticipated hiring of 30 additional guard for the planned expansion of
the jail facility.
"The change in the uniform is part of the change from one culture to
another we are implementing at the facility," County Judge Jimmy Galindo
County Auditor Lynn Owens raised questions about how the uniform
allowance would be handled in the event a guard quit or new guards were
hired if the entire uniform budget was dispersed at one time.
Although Galindo recommended the commission approve the new uniform plan
on a tentative basis until Owens' questions could be answered,
commissioner Bernardo Martinez opposed the action.
"I don't want to approve something I haven't seen," Martinez said.
"We've been making a habit of that."
Franco agreed to come back to the commissioners' court with a more
detailed explanation of how the new uniforms would be financed.
In other matters, County Treasurer Linda Clark told the commissioners
that new federal regulations would make it more difficult for her to
make last minute adjustments in county payroll figures.
Commissioners approved a recommendation by Clark that if payroll
adjustments such as new hires, terminations, automatic payroll
deductions are not received prior to 10 a.m. the Wednesday before the
Friday payday the changes would not be reflected until the following
Commissioner Felipe Arredondo also questioned Clark about the number of
paid vacation days county employees can carry from one year to the next
if they don't take all the vacation they are due. Clark said only five
days could be carried from year to year. If an employee was due more
than five days the additional vacation days are lost.
Clark explained that holidays and vacation days are not covered in
federal fair labor laws and implementation of such policies are under
the control of the employing agency.
"We should advise employees of this policy," Arredondo said. Clark
replied that regular notices are sent to employees advising them of
vacation and comp time they have accumulated and need to take.
PECOS, April 29, 1997 - Tax dollars spent on welfare programs in Reeves
County have been steadily increasing for the past six years, according
to figures from the Texas Department of Human Services.
While the cost of food stamps makes up the bulk of welfare dollars spent
in the county, that amount has been decreasing for the past six years.
In contrast, the total amount of dollars being spent on the aged and
disabled has increased dramatically.
"The state spent a total of $4,686,883 in 1996 for major welfare
programs in Reeves County," said David Maberry, Regional Administrator
for the state welfare department.
Records from the department indicate a steady increase in total welfare
spending in the coutny with $4,297,787 spent in 1995, $4,121,020 in
expenditures for 1994, $4,075,453 spent in 1993, $4,060,322 spent in
1992; $3,387,730 in 1991 and $4,431,571 spent in 1990.
Food stamps worth $2,293,715 were issued for fiscal year 1996 which
ended August 31, which is the lowest dollar amount for this category
since 1990. In 1995 $2,489,808 worth of food stamps were issued compared
to $2,467,937 for 1994, $2,590,214 for 1993, $2,649,297 for 1992,
$2,364,477 for 1991 and $2,217,997 for 1990.
Food stamps are funded entirely by the federal government, while the
department determines eligibility of applicants and issues the food
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) totaled $444,942 in 1996,
a decrease from $476,569 in 1995 but higher than the previous five
years. AFDC totaled $434,543 in 1994, $378,466 in 1993, $386,065 in
1992, $352,620 in 1991 and $366,752 in 1990.
The state and federal governments share in the cost of AFDC to families
where needy children are deprived of support because of the absence or
disability of one or both parents.
Nursing home costs of approximately $800,709 were paid for aged and
disabled residents in 1996, a large increase from year's past. Nursing
home costs amounted to $462,496 in 1995, $448,276 in 1994, $615,503 in
1993, $644,746 in 1992, $634,911 in 1991 and $450,837 in 1990.
Community Care for Aged and Disabled spent $860,173 for Medicaid related
services in 1996, another large increase from recent years. In 1995
$666,259 was spent in this category compared to $562,136 in 1994,
$447,366 in 1993, $380,214 in 1992 and $357,220 in 1991. Figures for
1990 were not comparable, according to the department.
Non-Medicaid related services totaled $251,683 in 1996, Maberry said.
This category also increased from $161,436 for 1995 and $163,222 for
1994 when such statistics were first recorded.
PECOS, April 29, 1997 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton sentenced a Nebraska
woman to 72 months in prison, and revoked supervised release on three
other defendants in U.S. District Court in Pecos on Monday.
Three other defendants are on trial today in Bunton's court in a
marijuana smuggling case, which is expected to conclude this afternoon.
Billy Mel Alford, Marvin Ray March, Jr., and Alex Monty Dawson III are
charged with importing and possessing marijuana for distribution on Nov.
27, 1996. The charges against March and Dawson were combined for trial
with that of Alford, who was convicted Feb. 15, 1984 in Judge Bunton's
court of conspiracy to possess over 1,000 pounds of marijuana and of 10
counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Because of his prior record, the enhanced penalty on the current charge
for Alford is a minimum of 10 years in prison, up to life and a $4
million fine if the amount of marijuana is less than 1,000 kilograms.
On Monday, Bunton sentenced Carmen Rios, 24, of Freemont, Neb., to
concurrent 72 month sentences for importation of cocaine and possession
with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine.
Rios had been found guilty of the charges in a non-jury trial on Dec.
23, 1996. She was also fined $100 on each of the charges. It was
recommended that Rios' time be served at the Federal Intensive
Confinement Center in Bryan.
Supervised release was revoked by Bunton on defendants Christopher
Wingate, Arturo Blanco Luna and Jack Ivey.
Luna's probation for a June 6, 1989 conviction in El Paso was revoked
following his conviction on a separate charge in Pecos federal court on
Mar. 3. He was given a six month sentence to run concurrently with his
new prison term.
Ivey's release was revoked for violating the terms of his Nov. 24, 1990
sentencing. He was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons
for a eight-month term, while Wright received a nine month term for
violating his probation agreement in a Mar. 16, 1992 sentencing. It was
recommended Wingate's term be served in a federal prison in the New York
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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