Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

Sports|Opinion|Main Menu|Archives Menu|Classified|Advertising|Monahans|

Republic of Texas

May 8, 1997


Action taken against three Republic members

Return to top
AUSTIN (AP) - Federal and state authorities continued a crackdown on
members of the Republic of Texas, suing one and jailing two others.

A state lawsuit filed Wednesday against Republic member Carolyn Carney
of Bulverde alleges she failed to pay about $32,000 in sales tax,
Attorney General Dan Morales said.

``State law applies to all Texas citizens regardless of their political
beliefs,'' Morales said.

Carney owes the state, city of San Antonio and the city's transit
authority for sales taxes, penalties and interest assessed against her
former San Antonio business, Contract Microfilm Co./Protek Archival
Labs, state officials said.

Ms. Carney is on the governing council of the faction of the Republic of
Texas led by Richard McLaren that ended a weeklong standoff with
authorities on Saturday. The Republic group says the annexation of Texas
into the United States in 1945 was illegal and that Texas remains an
independent nation.

There was no listing for Carolyn Carney in Bulverde. A message left at a
San Antonio listing for C. Carney wasn't returned Wednesday evening.

In Dallas, authorities arrested Mark A. Hernandez in connection with a
federal indictment charging him with conspiracy, mail fraud and aiding
and abetting. The indictment is in connection to alleged attempts by
McLaren to pass $1.8 billion in bogus financial instruments.

Officials said Hernandez charged airline tickets to Puerto Rico on his
American Express account, then later mailed a Republic-backed warrant
for $42,000 to the credit card company.

Hernandez was to have an initial hearing Thursday.

Donald Varnell, 65, of St. Hedwig was arrested earlier this week on two
counts of contempt of court as he was being evicted.

Varnell, his wife, son and another unidentified man were evicted from
the property after failing to pay the rent for several months, said
Bexar County Chief Deputy Constable Mike Blount.

Varnell, who was transported to Austin for his arraignment, is a
defendant in Morales' civil lawsuit against the Republic of Texas and 25
group members.

An injunction was issued in that case to prevent the defendants from
filing false liens against businesses and individuals. Morales claims
that thousands of liens filed by the group are clogging up the Texas
property records systems.

Morales said Varnell has been found in contempt of court for issuing
bogus documents to Texas financial institutions requesting that they
turn over state assets to the Republic's ``treasury.''

Varnell also was found in contempt for disobeying an order to appear in
court to answer the initial contempt charge, Morales said. His trial on
the contempt charges is set for May 12.

He was being held Wednesday in the Travis County Jail on a $10,000 bond,
according to Ward Tisdale, a spokesman in Morales' office.

David Johnson of Odessa, president of another Republic faction to which
Varnell belongs, said the group would file papers in state court to seek
his release.

Separatist Standoff

Residents ready to return to normal life

Return to top
Associated Press Writer

FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - Around here, empathy for jailed Texas
separatist leader Richard McLaren runs about as deep as the dry creeks
that snake across the rocky landscape.

When the self-styled ambassador of the Republic of Texas surrendered
Saturday, ``A lot of us cried,'' said Natasha Arzola, who moved with her
husband and seven children from the Texas coast last year to escape gang
problems and other pressures.

``We've wanted for so long to get him out,'' said Marjie Erkkila, who
operates the Wild Horse Hideout Art Colony in the resort.

McLaren and his wife, Evelyn, are being held in Presidio County Jail in
Marfa. McLaren faces state charges and has been indicted along with his
wife on federal charges accusing them of issuing $1.8 billion in phony
financial documents.

Two of the group's members fled into the mountainside from their
makeshift headquarters in remote West Texas, shortly before the standoff

One, Mike Matson, 48, was killed in a shootout with authorities Monday.
The search for the second man, Richard Frank Keyes III, ended Tuesday
night because authorities said he hasn't been spotted and the area is
too treacherous for search teams.

State officials and experts on the area's terrain say the elements will
be much harder on Keyes than the law would be.

``It wouldn't be surprising if deer hunters go into the mountains next
year and find Keyes' skeleton,'' Mike Cox, a spokesman for the Texas
Department of Public Safety, told the Houston Chronicle.

Said Dennis Miller, executive director of the Chihuahuan Desert Research
Institute in nearby Alpine: ``If you're active, walking around, the sun
will suck the moisture right out of you,''

Residents aren't thinking much about Keyes.

Sheriff Steve Bailey would like to bulldoze the filthy remains of
McLaren's travel-trailer embassy. Neighbors would like a return to
on-site mail service, which stopped in January when postal workers
refused to venture near the anti-American compound.

McLaren and his followers form one faction of the group, which believes
that Texas, formerly an independent republic, was illegally absorbed by
the United States in the 1840s. They maintain that Texas technically has
been independent since.

Ms. Erkkila, a sculptor, has been hosting Canadian painter Casey Bowman
during the siege. Bowman, an activist for aboriginal land rights in
Ontario, says he can understand someone who grows disenchanted with the
government's treatment of property.

His work in progress depicts the standoff. Images include a volcano,
swooping DPS helicopters, tank wheels crushing the Constitution and
McLaren himself.

Residents plan to discuss an urban-style neighborhood watch program
later this month, in part to prevent Republics of Texas from choosing
the remote resort for a base.

``We never thought we'd have to do something like that when we moved
here,'' Mrs. Arzola said. ``But none of us wants to go through this

Return to top

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. Neither these AP
Materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for
personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for
any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the
transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.

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
Return to Top

Return to Home Page