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PECOS, May 12, 1997 - Sixteen defendants were indicted Thursday by the
federal grand jury sitting in Pecos.
Two indictments named multiple defendants on marijuana possession
charges, three were felon in possession of a firearm and four were
Eliseo Rodriguez-Olivas, 22, of Fort Stockton, Joel Chavez-Gel, 38, of
Musquiz, Mex., Auden Bernal Cabello, 20, of Fort Stockton, are charged
with possessing 436.68 pounds of marijuana on May 7.
Carlos Mario Rodriguez, 31, of Terlingua, and Alberto "Beto" Arras, 19,
of Odessa, are charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with
intent to distribute 136.9 pounds of marijuana on April 24.
Herbert Hernandez, 26, of Dublin, is charged with possession with intent
to distribute 98.72 pounds of marijuana on April 22.
Manuel Aldaco, 20, of Fort Hancock, was indicted for alleged conspiracy,
importation and possession with intent to distribute marijuana on April
Jose Angel Obeido-Rosalio, age and address unknown, is charged with
possession with intent to distribute marijuana on April 11.
Charged with illegal entry after deportation are Joel Espinoza-Robles,
26, of Fort Stockton; Alfredo Santillan-Ceballos, 32, of Porvenir, Mex.;
Diego Rivera-Tarango, 33, Reeves County Detention Center; and Juventino
Lujan-Salgado, 39, of Monahans.
Lujan is also charged with making a false statement and false swearing
in an immigration matter.
Benigna "Chata" Aranda-Acosta is charged with failure to appear and
contempt for disobeying a court order to report to a pre-trial officer.
Jeffrey William Howard, 32, of Dallas; Jimmy Dee Potter, 47, of
Palestine; and Dudley Edward Vandergriff, 29, of Dallas, are charged
with felon in possession of a firearm.
Parks reopened since standoff settlement
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, May 12, 1997 - Balmorhea State Park and Davis Mountains State
Park are open for business and ready to serve the public after being
closed for a couple of days during the recent standoff with Richard
"We were just closed for two days to protect the public," said Maria
Trevizo, administrative technician at Davis Mountains State Park.
The park re-opened their doors to the public on Sunday, May 4 and have
been really busy since then, according to Trevizo.
"The park was closed for those days just for the safety of the public,
but we've had a lot of visitors since then, the bad publicity hasn't
affected us at all," she said.
Becky Baker, a clerk at the Balmorhea State Park, stated that the
Balmorhea Park also had reopened on Sunday. "They sent out memos telling
everyone it was closed, but they forgot to call back and let them know
we have re-opened," she said.
Baker stated that they also have been very busy greeting visitors since
"The swimming pool has also opened," said Baker.
Problems with the gate at the pool had kept them from opening earlier
this week, but the problem was solved and the pool open to the public on
Thursday, according to Baker.
While these two parks used precautionary measures during the standoff,
Indian Lodge located was kept busy throughout the ordeal.
"We're located about 15 miles from where the action was taking place,"
said front desk clerk Jan Alvarado.
Indian Lodge honored all reservations and were kept busy with a lot of
Department of Public Safety personnel and Texas Parks and Wildlife
"We were full to capacity with visitors and with all the law enforcement
personnel," said Alvarado.
Alvarado stated that business has been very good and the lodge is still
full with visitors.
"Even though most of the law enforcement personnel has left, we have had
a lot of visitors," she said. "This has certainly not hurt our
establishment," she said. .
But officers didn't learn just how dangerous the situation had been
until they searched the group's ramshackle home and discovered more than
enough firepower to ignite ``another Waco,'' just as ringleader Richard
McLaren had threatened.
``It could have been so, so, so much worse,'' said DPS spokesman Mike
Cox. ``It could've been terrible.''
After the quiet ending May 3, investigators found about 60 pipe bombs, a
5-gallon propane tank converted into an explosive, more than 700 rounds
of ammunition and 12 gasoline cans rigged to start a fire that could've
cut off roads and possibly destroyed much of the area.
McLaren and his faction of Texas separatists were persuaded not to
resort to the stockpile by Texas Rangers Capt. Barry Caver, the lead
negotiator throughout the stalemate.
Caver, who had witnessed the fire that killed 81 Branch Davidians to end
the 1993 Waco standoff, was backed up by a staff of up to 500 that
included practically every agency from local volunteer firefighters to
``Everyone is trying to give me all the credit, but there is no way I
could've done it without all the coordination and support between the
agencies,'' Caver said.
Only two officers, both with the DPS, were injured working the case.
That happened when they wrecked a squad car May 4.
``As many people as were involved, I'm glad we didn't have an officer or
volunteer go down to heat stroke or something even worse,'' said Larry
Todd, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which had
about 30 agents involved.
There were two deaths: McLaren follower Mike Matson, who ran away hours
before the surrender, was killed last Monday in a gun battle with
authorities; and a police dog was fatally shot by Matson. He also
wounded two other dogs.
And, another fugitive is still at large.
Still, the consensus among the law enforcement community is that the DPS
kept damage to a minimum.
``Give the DPS all the credit they're due,'' said Jim Robertson,
director of law enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife, which lent
24 officers. ``They did an A-plus job. I don't know how you could've
done it better.''
Added Bobby Young, head of the Texas Forest Service's fire control
department: ``We feel the DPS did a magnificent job. I think the state
ought to be really proud of them because it could've turned out a lot
DPS officials haven't calculated the number of hours spent on this case
or the amount of overtime and expenses involved.
``We didn't have people sitting around with calculators figuring out the
cost,'' said DPS spokeswoman Sherri Deatherage Green. ``In a situation
like that, our responsibility of protecting lives and property moves to
Cox - who has extensively studied the history of the DPS, including the
Rangers - said he believes this was the largest-ever law enforcement
operation run by the state.
Waco involved more officers, but it doesn't count because the FBI was in
charge until the fire that ended the standoff.
``I said at the time Waco was probably the most involved DPS operation
in its history, outside of a disaster,'' Cox said. ``Certainly, in the
modern history of the Rangers, this would be one of the most complicated
``I think it's been a learning experience for all of us. But, generally,
from the director on down, we're very pleased with how this played
PECOS, May 12, 1997 - Have you ever received a letter from someone who
was dead? That's exactly what happened at the Pecos Enterprise last
week, if the letter is genuine.
The letter in point had a return address that indicated it was from Mike
Matson, Ft. Davis, TX Republic. The postmark was from Okland, Calif.
dated May 3, 1997.
Matson was killed in a shootout when law officers sought him out in the
Davis Mountains after he walked away from the besieged ramshackle
"embassy" of Richard McLaren. Matson, a 48-year-old former Marine, was
cremated last week, his ashes were taken to Chicago, where five sisters
The envelope addressed to the Enterprise contained copies of articles,
some written by Mike Matson, that appeared in a publication called
"AntiShyster." The articles detailed an ongoing court battle that
involved Matson. How the envelope came to be mailed from Oakland, Calif.
is not known to the Enterprise staff but it has been reported that
Matson wrote to others daily during his stay at McLaren's "embassy."
According to the articles, Matson believed a former employer of his, an
elderly woman, had been murdered and her estate robbed by a coalition of
lawyers, judges and distant relatives. Matson claimed that he and
another man tried to expose the alleged crimes for more than six years.
In the articles, Matson also claimed that at first his allegations were
ignored by the judicial system, then he was jailed to silence him.
Whether Matson's claims regarding the incident are true or not,
apparently his treatment by the judicial system contributed to an
"The judicial system of this country needs an over-haul, complete!"
His distrust of the powers that be were apparent as he spoke of his
campaign to expose those involved in the alleged crime against his
"The mail will continue, until such time as you can once again pay for
my arrest and perhaps arrange a fatal "accident" for me in prison," he
wrote. "Your warrant on me, does not scare me. I will fight you, until
one of us is finished, fair enough?"
It might be said that Matson was looking for a fight and he thought he
had found it with McLaren and the Republic of Texas in the Davis
Ralph Matson, 54, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said his brother had not
joined the Texas group before its week-long standoff in the Davis
Mountains, but had committed to the protection of Richard McLaren, who
called for Texas to secede from the United States.
"It must have been the nightmare of his life when McLaren told him that
he would give up," said the elder Matson. "He left my brother hanging.
My brother said, I will never again spend a minute in jail. I will fight
to the death with anyone who tries to arrest me.'"
The younger Matson had been jailed in Orange County, Calif., for eight
months late last year and early this year. He was confined for violating
a gag order in a probate case which evolved from the death of his former
employer whom Matson believed had been murdered.
Ralph Matson said that McLaren, the separatists' self-styled
"ambassador," had promised his brother he would not submit to law
However, McLaren laid down his arms and left Saturday, a week into the
standoff. Three people joined him, but Matson and Richard Frank Keyes
III, 21, refused. Keyes faces several state charges stemming from the
April 27 hostage-taking that sparked the stalemate.
The younger Matson wrote to his brother daily after his overnight
watches as McLaren's bodyguard.
"He duped my brother into thinking he was a freedom fighter," said
Matson. "He traveled halfway across the country to protect this man.
"He was willing to give up his life and take bullets for McLaren," he
said. "But after he capitulated, he is lucky that my brother didn't beat
the hell out of him and head for the desert.
Speaking of his brother's death in a telephone interview with an
Associate Press reporter Ralph Matson said, "It is especially hard. I
went to the mortuary to see my brother's remains. It is a lot harder
than I thought it would be."
Matson insisted his brother was pro-government and never would have
accepted McLaren's invitation to move from California to Texas if he had
known McLaren was a "paper terrorist."
PECOS, May 12, 1997 - District Attorney Randy Reynolds has dismissed a
charge of possession of more than four ounces of marijuana against
Miguel Lopez of Balmorhea.
Reynolds said in the dismissal motion that further investigation is
necessary before proceeding to trial.
Lopez's appointed attorney, Bill Weinacht, had filed a motion to quash
physical evidence and another to enforce an agreement between the
district attorney, two narcotics officers and Lopez.
After his arrest on the marijuana possession charge, Lopez agreed to
turn informant in exchange for a probated sentence. In the agreement,
signed by Reynolds, Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Clay McKinney and
Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler, Lopez was to provide
information leading to three or four felony arrests.
McKinney testified in a hearing Tuesday that Lopez failed to deliver on
his promise, although he was given more than the allotted 60 days.
Weinacht insisted that McKinney submit logs of his meetings with Lopez
and the names of persons he informed on
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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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