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McLaren indicted on felony charge
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FORT DAVIS, (AP) June 9, 1997 - More than a month after walking into
custody to end an armed standoff with state troopers, separatist leader
Richard McLaren has been indicted of participating in a criminal scheme.
McLaren and followers Gregg Paulson, Karen Paulson, and Robert Otto,
also known as White Eagle, were each indicted Monday by a Jeff Davis
County grand jury on a single charge of engaging in organized criminal
activity. The first degree felony carries a penalty of five to 99 years
or life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A fifth person was charged in a sealed indictment. The suspect's name
was withheld but it presumably is Richard F. Keyes III, who remains a
The indictments allege the members of the Republic of Texas movement
participated in a plan to kidnap two neighbors in the Davis Mountains
Resort, a rough rural subdivision where the group had set up a makeshift
McLaren and his followers contend Texas was never legally annexed by the
United States and remains an independent nation.
The April 27 abduction, in retaliation for the arrest that day of a
group member on weapons charges, led to the standoff between the armed
separatists and 300 Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas
The siege ended May 3 after McLaren, the Paulsons and Otto agreed to lay
down their weapons. McLaren's wife, Evelyn, had walked into custody
Keyes and McLaren bodyguard Mike Matson fled into the Davis Mountains
wilderness. Matson was killed May 5 in a shoot-out with authorities.
No felony charges were sought against Mrs. McLaren or Robert Scheidt,
the group member arrested the first day.
"We did not have enough evidence in our hand to connect them to the
kidnapping," said James Jepson, first assistant district attorney for
Jeff Davis County and other surrounding counties.
District Attorney Albert Valadez said he was pleased with the
"I was really impressed that so many people and so many agencies were
able to work so well in harmony" to investigate the case, he said.
In a telephone interview with Dallas TV station KDFW, McLaren said he
hadn't even heard about the new charges against him.
"Well I haven't heard anything about that yet, of course the big problem
of it is, we still have a jurisdiction problem," McLaren said. "We have
an international agreement that these federal courts don't have any
jurisdiction. ... And I have an agreement that involves the president of
the United States and the governor of the state of Texas. I don't know
how they're going to get around that."
Valadez said McLaren's insistence that he should be treated as a foreign
diplomat - he is the group's self-styled ambassador - did nothing to
change his approach to the case.
"It was handled like any other," he said.
McLaren has also been indicted in Dallas along with his wife on federal
charges of bank and mail fraud and conspiracy.
Valadez said Richard McLaren and the others indicted in Jeff Davis County will be tried together in Fort Davis.
Balmorhea begins search for
new school superintendent
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PECOS, June 10, 1997 - Balmorhea Independent School district is
currently conducting interviews in an effort to find a new
The board of trustees has narrowed the list of job applicants for the
position to five individuals.
Finalists began interviewing for the position yesterday afternoon.
Finalists include, Mario Acosta, superintendent, Christoval ISD; Jack
Burns, principal, Bridgeport Middle School; Nolen Crow, assistant
superintendent, Needville ISD; Charles Curtis, assistant superintendent, Brownsboro ISD; and Carl Hoffmeyer, superintendent, Bloomington ISD.
County commissioners approve
RCDC architectural contract
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By MAC McKINNON
PECOS, June 10, 1997 - Reeves County Commissioners yesterday approved a
negotiated architectural services contract for expansion of the Reeves
County Detention Center (RCDC) during their first regular meeting of the
The contract with Dailey, Rabke & Gondeck, PLLC (DRG), the architectural
firm designing the buildings for the expansion, calls for payment of six
percent of $2 million for the cost of the expansion, even if the
expansion costs more. The cost of the project may run as high as $3
The contract will actually amount to about five percent of the total
project cost, as six percent of the $2 million is $120,000 but $27,000
has already been paid for work done by the company in making
presentations to the jail standards commission and $5,000 added for work
done on smoke and fire walls that had been planned before the expansion
came about. That plan will be used in the expansion.
The negotiated amount cuts about two per cent from what had previously
been asked, according to County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Unhappy with cost projections for the expansion of the RCDC Galindo
presented several methods to reduce costs in the project to
commissioners last month.
The proposed expansion of the detention center will add 300 beds to the
county jail by converting present day-room space to bed space and
constructing additional day-room areas. The expansion will bring the
total number of beds at the facility to almost 1,000.
Galindo suggested the additional day-room buildings be built to specs
according to a warehouse type building rather than more expensive prison
In addition to changing the type of building being considered for the
addition of day-rooms, Galindo suggested last month that the proposed
support and services building be constructed by a company specializing
in modular buildings. The support and services building would contain
facilities such as a kitchen and a laundry.
Documents provided to commissioners by DRG estimated the cost of both
the day-room addition and the support building at about $80 a square
Galindo said he had information that facilities such as the support and
services building could be built as low as $38 per sq. ft.
In a rather routine, three-hour meeting, the commissioners were asked to
reconsider their offer to the construction managers overseeing the
community development home rehabilitation project and give them $1,095
for each house under a housing rehab grant.
During a special called meeting June 2 the commissioners accepted the
proposals of two Reeves County men to manage the rehabilitation of 18
homes. Arthur Granado of Pecos proposed to oversee the construction
project for $1,500 per home. Norman Roman of Balmorhea said he would
manage the rehabilitation projects for $1,095 per home.
Both proposals were accepted on the condition that the commissioners
would negotiate with the men to manage the rehabilitation projects at
the lowest possible price. The commissioners also agreed that they would
require the construction managers to inspect each rehabilitation project
on at least a weekly basis.
In addition yesterday, the construction managers asked for a slight
increase for some of the houses where the initial work has already been
done by the previous construction manager, Augustin Hidalgo. The
requests were made by Roman and were approved although Galindo noted the
amount was slightly higher than the state had already approved.
In reference to an agenda item calling for performance bonds for the
construction manager of the grant, County Auditor Lynn Owens reported
that he has determined that bonds are probably not available without
extensive records of work which is not available in this case. The
matter is to be looked into further but was not discussed at length.
Commissioner Bernado Martinez asked for the bonds for the county's
protection. However, Martinez was sick and did not attend the meeting.
There was a great deal of discussion regarding personnel expense at the
juvenile detention center and the use of temporary employees rather than
full-time employees. That is to be discussed further by the juvenile
Also discussed at length was the county's personnel policy on pay
increases which came about during discussion of raises for personnel at
the RCDC. Pay is going to be better at the RCDC than at other offices in
the county, Galindo said, because it is a revenue generator and there
are more risks. He noted that any county employee is free to apply for
positions at the RCDC to take advantage of better pay. Those policies
are to be explored in depth in the near future.
Nine new employees were approved at the RCDC and there were four
Commissioners also discussed and heard reports from County Grant Administrator Mari Maldonado on septic tank installations.
PHS senior learns about government
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By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, June 10, 1997 - One of the top Pecos High School graduates of the
class of 1997 had the opportunity to tour Washington and meet several
important officials this year.
Lindley Workman was in Washington for an entire week through the
National Young Leaders Conference.
"I was nominated by John Barfield, a physics teacher at Pecos High. The
conference contacted me and sent me all the information about what the
conference was all about and what we would be doing," said Workman.
Workman was the only one from Pecos who attended this yearly event.
There were 357 students who went to Washington, 351 from different
states in the U.S. and six from different countries, according to
"I know there were about four from Switzerland, but I don't know where
the other two were from," said Workman.
The student had the opportunity to learn more about government through
mock sessions and exercises.
"They grouped us into different little clusters with about 20 in each,"
The groups would then reenact different aspects of government procedures.
"In one exercise we chose two lawyers and a Supreme Court Justice and we
had to argue a case," said Workman.
The group also had a mock congress, in which all 357 students were
gathered and voted like in actual legislation, according to Workman.
"We also had a session in which we chose a president and all of us
participated," said Workman.
During this exercise Russia was supposedly going to take over Alaska and
the group had to find a strategy to prevent his from happening.
"We took our recommendations to the president and figured out ways to
prevent this from happening," said Workman.
Workman received a tour of Washington including the Capital, the
Washington monument, the Arlington Cemetery, the Library of Congress,
the Federal Reserve and the New Zealand Embassy.
"We also got to sit on the floor of the House of Representatives," said
Workman. "We were busy all the time, from 7:45 a.m. until 11 at night."
Workman stated that the trip was not only educational, but a lot of fun
"We got to see so many different things and learn so much, I loved it,"
The group also toured the Smithsonian, which impressed Workman very much.
"If you had all week just to tour the Smithsonian it still wouldn't be
enough time to see everything there is in there," she said.
Workman met and visited with Congressman Henry Bonilla and several other
senators. Kay Bailey Hutchison was not available during this conference.
"Since I was the only from his district, I got to visit with him," said
Workman is the daughter of Jerry and Emma Workman of Pecos. She ranked
ninth in her graduating class with a 3.8913 grade point average and
plans to attend the University of North Texas in Denton. She plans to major in radio broadcasting.|
Boy confesses he beat man to death
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ODESSA, (AP) June 10, 1997 - A 12-year-old boy has told investigators
that he bludgeoned a man to death with a tire iron for his Social
Security check, police said Monday.
The boy was detained by Ector County juvenile authorities on a capital
murder charge. Ruben Benavides Hernandez, 45, was killed at his home
"He used a tire iron, and we have one that is being examined as
evidence," Odessa police spokesman Robert Hammerman said. "We'll get
some conclusive stuff at some point from the crime lab."
Authorities canvassed the neighborhood after a brother found the body of
Benavides Hernandez, who suffered facial wounds so severe that police on
the scene first thought he'd been shot.
"The crime scene looked like something out of a violent horror movie,"
said Hammerman. "The motive to the murder was simply robbery."
Several neighbors reported that the boy had been a frequent visitor to
the victim's house,
Hammerman said. The boy made a statement to police Saturday afternoon, he said.
Cocain gang pleads guilty
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
While eight defendants were pleading guilty Monday in federal judge
Lucius Bunton's court to possession with intent to distribute cocaine,
three others were being charged before Magistrate Stuart Platt with
possessing marijuana for distribution.
Cruz Muniz Jr., 30, of Alpine; Christopher Clemson Huff, 28, of Alpine;
Josephine L. Muniz, 51, of Alpine; Robert Anthony Rose, 39, of Alpine;
Jesus Franco Vega, 32, of Alpine; Irene Victorino Urias, 36, of Alpine;
Jose Luis Vega, 37, of Alpine; and Reyes Victorino-Perez, 39, of Alpine
each pleaded guilty to one county of a 29-count indictment.
The indictment alleged that the eight, along with William Ryan
Christopher, 19, of Crockett, conspired to possess cocaine with intent
to distribute. One or more of the defendants allegedly sold cocaine to
persons under 21, and possessed cocaine within 1,000 feet of a public
university and an elementary school.
Christopher was not arrested along with the others, and he did not make
an appearance in court Monday.
Republic of Texas member Jimmy Dee Potter pleaded guilty to possession
of a firearm by a felon. Judge Bunton ordered a psychiatric exam for
Potter's traveling companion and co-defendant, Dudley Edward
Vandergriff, after his rambling discourse on matters not before the
Juan Manuel Venegas of Van Horn and Luis Manuel Garcia were charged with
possession with intent to distribute marijuana. They were arrested by
Border Patrol agents who spotted them traveling north on Chispa road in
Venegas was in the pickup bed, and one of the agents saw him throw out a
bundle and jump out. The bundle turned out to contain 31.56 pounds of
marijuana, the complaint alleges.
Garcia told officers he had been to Porvenir, Mex. to visit a sick
Rudy Bernard Jr. of Monahans was charged with possession with intent to
distribute marijuana, and his 17-year-old companion was turned over to
state officials for prosecution.
Border Patrol agents stopped a 1980 Cadillac northbound on U.S. Highway
67 north of Presidio at 12:05 a.m. Monday. The Cadillac matched the
description of a vehicle sought by Customs officers in connection with a
narcotics violation, they said in the complaint filed with Judge Platt.
Bernard said he had stolen the car in Presidio. When a drug-sniffing dog
alerted to the trunk of the car, agents found the suspected marijuana.
Alejandro Lopez-Ayala of Kermit was charged with possession with intent
to distribute 294 pounds of marijuana after a Kermit police officer
stopped his 1979 Ford pickup for a traffic violation.
Noticing the shallow bed and Ayala's extreme nervousness, the officer
located a metal panel at the rear of the pickup, which concealed 203 bundles of marijuana.
Alpine man sentenced to 50 years for assault
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 10, 1997 - An Alpine man who disarmed Brewster County
Sheriff Jack McDaniel and escaped into the brush has been convicted of
aggravated assault on a peace officer and sentenced to 50 years in
Alvaro Hernandez was convicted Monday in Odessa on one count and
acquitted on the second count. The trial was moved from Alpine on a
change of venue. Testimony continued for a week.
McDaniel was attempting to arrest Hernandez on an indictment for robbery
when the escape occurred. Hernandez surrendered after a four-day manhunt
and a shootout at the trailer home of his mother in which he fired 10
shots at police.
He had previously served 16 years of a 99-year sentence for the fatal
shooting of a hotel clerk in Alpine. Paroled in 1991, he was arrested in
June, 1996, for robbing an elderly Alpine man. He was free on $50,000 bond at the time of his indictment.
County bookkeeper convicted of stealing
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EDINBURG, (AP) June 10, 1997 - A jury has recommended five years'
probation and a $10,000 fine for a former Hidalgo County bookkeeper
convicted of stealing county funds.
Jurors issued their recommendation Monday in the case of Irene Gonzalez
Ornelas, who was convicted of stealing $136,500 while employed at the
Hidalgo County clerk's office from 1991 to 1995.
State District Judge Noe Gonzalez will formally sentence Ms. Ornelas
Ms. Ornelas was accused of taking money from an account into which the
McAllen and Mission police departments deposited jail bonds. She then
altered receipts to disguise her actions, prosecutors alleged.
She was the latest among a string of Hidalgo County officials to be
accused of wrongdoing.
Last year, former Hidalgo County Judge J. Edgar Ruiz and four other
officials were acquitted of federal corruption charges stemming from
allegations that they took kickbacks in exchange for county business.
In July 1994, Hidalgo County Sheriff Brig Marmolejo Jr. was sentenced to
seven years in prison
for taking $151,000 in bribes for allowing a drug trafficker to have special privileges in jail.
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PECOS, June 10, 1997 - High Monday, 84, low this morning, 62. A weak
cold front extends across the southern South Plains and the Big Country
early this morning. A few showers and thunderstorms lingered over
portions of the Big Country near the front, but otherwise skies were
partly to mostly cloudy over most of the area. Early morning
temperatures ranged from the 50s to the 70s. There is a slight chance of
showers and thunderstorms tonight, but otherwise it will be fair to
partly cloudy through Wednesday. Lows tonight will be in the 60s and
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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