February 3, 1998
200-mile trips may cause problems
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Two-hundred-mile trips are nothing
new for the Pecos Eagles. But too many 200-mile trips on
weeknights next season could cause eligibility problems for
Pecos' players, by the time the Spring semester rolls around.
The Eagles' varsity coaches were generally in favor of
yesterday's realignment by the University Interscholastic
League, which placed Pecos in a district with five El
Paso-area teams. But questions about non-district
scheduling, and about mid-week travel and the effect it may
have on player eligibility remain to be decided after a
meeting of the new district's officials later this week.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah superintendent Don Love said he hoped to
get the other five District 2-4A schools - Clint, Fabens, El
Paso Mountain View, Canutillo and San Elizario - to agree to
let Pecos play their home games in basketball, volleyball,
baseball and softball on Tuesday nights, and their road
district contests on Saturdays.
"That's one of those things you have to look at, when you're
the only one travelling 200 miles its something you need to
work out," he said, explaining that students can only miss
10 days of school for extracurricular activities under state
"The big thing you've got to look at is you can only miss 10
days. With our kids showing (livestock), and academics, band
and athletics, you've got to look at that," he said. "With
one of our three-sport girls, if you have five trips for
each one (sport), that's 15 hours and you're already over
Love said juggling the district's early-release days can
help solve the problem some, but he said the Tuesday home
game solution would be the best. "Since we're the only one
out here, those other teams would only have to make one long
trip, while we're making five."
Fabens, at 175 miles, is the closest of the Eagles' new
district rivals. Clint is 185 miles away, Mountain View and
San Elizario are 190 and Canutillo is a 225-mile drive from
The one-hour time difference between El Paso and Pecos will
allow the Eagles to leave a little later for their road
games than they currently do for their 210-mile trips to
Sweetwater and San Angelo. "That will help us going out, but
coming back you're going to lose an hour's sleep."
The other option, for basketball and baseball, would be to
skip playing on Tuesday and stay overnight in El Paso, for
back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. It's been done by
other Permian Basin schools, but Love said he hopes the
other 2-4A schools will agree to the Tuesday home option.
"We'll be doing our homework to find out what's best for us,
but we need some cooperation from the other schools," he
Aside from the distance, the cost of making so many 200-mile
trips figures to eat into the Eagles' athletic department
budget, and volleyball coach Becky Granado was concerned
about how the change will affect her pre-district matches.
"One thing that may affect us is if we're not allowed to
take long trips in pre-district that's going to hurt us in
trying to schedule games," she said. "We'd like to keep
playing some of the teams in our district."
Pecos has been in the current district alignment for nearly
two decades, and Granado said, "You're so use to playing the
same teams year after year. We'll miss the district and not
have the competition against Andrews, Big Spring, Fort
Stockton, Lake View and Sweetwater, but I think the change
will be good for us.
"I think the kids are excited about the realignment, but I
don't think it's going to get them until they have to do all
that traveling," she said.
Girls basketball coach Brian Williams said "I know the kids
are excited, and I hope they get to the point where they
want to get out here and get into the program. That's
already a plus right there."
The change will probably affect the girls' basketball
strength of schedule less than any other sport. Their new
district rival, Clint, already owns a early-season victory
over District 4-4A co-leader Andrews, and Williams said
"It's not like we're going to go out there and pick a bunch
of daisies. I know people think we're going to go out there
and win district, but you've got to go out and practice and
work hard no matter who you play."
Williams said he already has Andrews and Fort Stockton
tentatively set as pre-district games next season, and boys
basketball coach Mike Sadler said "I'd like to play those
people in our district if they want to play us.
"Not to take anything away from the (El Paso), but the track
record of Sweetwater, Andrews and Big Spring is they've gone
far in each of their sports when they make the playoffs.
"Against San Elizario, Mountain View and the others we're
still going to have to play hard and prepare to beat those
teams whether its football, basketball, baseball or anything
The Eagles' softball program, which held its first workout
on Monday, will be in the same situation as most of it's new
district rivals. Only Canutillo has had a program prior to
this season, but Clint, Fabens and Mountain View are also
starting up varsity teams this season, while San Elizario
will play a JV schedule this spring and a varsity one next
While the junior varsity teams will face long trips west
with the varsities in basketball and volleyball, Love said
the other JV teams, along with the freshman and junior high
squads, will be playing most of their games as close to home
"Just looking at the junior high schedule, we're going to
play east (Monahans, Kermit, Fort Stockton, etc.) and we're
going to play some intramurals. The only problem comes when
district starts, because a lot of those teams will already
have games," he said.
Snyder is taking Pecos' place in the new District 5-4A, and
Love said, "I know that Andrews plays them all the time, and
so does Big Spring and Lake View." That could leave the
Eagles hunting for area sub-varsity games in October and
Love said one sport that won't be affected is swimming. None
of the Eagles' new district rivals has a swimming program,
and Pecos will likely remain a part of District 4, which
already includes Class 3A schools Monahans, Seminole and
"We've got a district meeting Tuesday (today in Midland) to
discuss the UIL realignment, and since it's our turn to host
the district meet (in 1999) we're planning to stay here,"
Several graduate from firearms course
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Dave Alba, Federal Bureau of
Investigation's special agent in charge (SAC), handed out
firearms instructor graduation certificates Friday in the
visiting room of Reeves County Detention Center to eight
RCDC and three Ector County Sheriff's Department employees
in honor of their successful completion of the 40-hour
course in firearms instruction where they gained proficiency
with handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
The participants also drew up their own lesson plans,
practiced night shooting with flashlights, and gained
first-hand knowledge of the wrath of pepper spray.
Trainers were Special Agent Walter Smith of El Paso, and
Special Agent Steve French from Midland. Smith said the
course was a success, with all 11 participants passing the
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco kicked things off by thanking
several of those present including SAC Alba for bringing the
course to Pecos, Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo for
participating in the ceremony, Associate Warden Tony Perez
("so he didn't feel left out," Franco joked), the FBI
instructors for their knowledge and training, and even
kitchen worker Laura Budlong for baking the cream cake that
was served along with coffee and sodas.
Galindo said that this was the first time officials from the
FBI had conducted training in Reeves County and it was
"definitely a step in the right direction."
Alba, a 1960 graduate of Pecos High School, prefaced the
ceremony by relating the intense moral responsibility that
comes hand in hand with being a law enforcement officer
dealing in matters of human life and death.
He told the crowd of officers and officials that he was in
his early twenties when he got his first weapon and still
remembered the first professional training he received.
Since those days Alba said he has seen many things. He said
that reports cross his desk often which chronicle police
"I realize now that this is a real and awesome power," Alba
said. "There is nothing higher than the duty to human life."
The use of deadly force, he said, is something that law
enforcement officers must face on occasion and an area that
cannot tolerate many mistakes.
"We all learn by experience," he concluded. And referring to
their new training, Alba urged the officers to "Use this
power to try to minimize these mistakes."
Alba concluded his visit to RCDC with a personal tour of the
facility, guided by Warden Franco.
RCDC employees awarded the firearms training certificate
include: Jose A. Baeza, LaVaughn C. Garnto, Rochelle Ybarra,
Ruben Dominguez, Lupe Jeter, Francisco Navarrete, Jose
Arturo Quintana and Tim Windham. Officers from the Ector
County Sheriff's Office receiving certificates include:
Keith Paquette, Debbie Watters and Brad Williams.
Police seize vehicle in drug bust
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - District Attorney Randy Reynolds
has filed notice of seizure and intent to forfeit a 1979
Ford 2-door taken in connection with an alleged drug
Notified of the seizure are Santiago Natividad Fuentes, 817
S. Alamo; Anna Barreno, 610 S. Eddy; and Geronimo Hignojos,
2207 Lindsay Rd.
Pecos Police Patrolman Cosme Ortega seized the vehicle Jan.
5 when he noticed it parked in the alley beetween Park and
Eddy streets. As he walked toward the vehicle, Fuentez threw
out small pieces of plastic commonly used to package heroin
and cocaine, Ortega said in the affidavit accompanying the
petition filed Friday in 143rd District Court.
Ortega said he saw Fuentez attempting to hide a white
plastic bag and asked him to get out of the vehicle. When
Fuentez refused to get out, Ortega took him out. Fuentez
threw the plastic bag into the back seat, Ortega said.
Also in the vehicle were two balloons rolled up in plain
view. Ortega said he seized the balloons before passenger
Barreno could get to them.
In the front floorboard of the vehicle Ortega found a
plastic bag which contained a white powdery substance. He
charged Fuentez with possession of a controlled substance.
Barreno, 36, and Fuentez, 40, were indicted in December for
alleged possession with intent to deliver cocaine on Sept.
19, 1997. Reynolds dismissed the charge against Barreno
Friday with the notation that he is not ready to proceed to
trial at this time.
Drug raid nets 44 arrests
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Ten local law enforcement officers
worked with officers of 11 other law enforcement agencies in
the drug raid in Van Horn last Thursday that resulted in 44
arrests and bonds being set that total in the millions of
According to Tom Finley, commander of the Permian Basin Drug
Task Force, there were 116 felony drug cases made on 53
defendants for delivery of marijuana, cocaine and heroin. As
of Friday afternoon, 44 of those wanted had been arrested,
and assistant commander Jack Brewer said this morning that
he believed an additional five defendants have been arrested
in the meantime, although he did not know who they were.
Of the first 44 arrested, bonds have already been set for
39. Those defendants and their respective bonds are: Daniel
Reed, $379,000; Alberto Ortega, $95,000; Jose Franco,
$300,000; Pedro Torres, $40,000; Jesse Carrasco, $55,000;
Rogelio Franco, $300,000; Roy Dale Clark, $310,000; Ray
Melendez, $250,000; Jesus Baca, $400,000; Jaime Valdez,
$25,000; Saul Urias, $200,000; Pedro Tarango, $200,000;
Elmer Melendez, $100,000; Justo Zamarripa, $100,000; Eleno
Mendez III, $100,000; Mark Cabezuela, $40,000; Daniel
Mendez, $200,000; Orlando Talavera, Jr., $100,000; Timothy
Peterson, $200,000; Maria Licon, $175,000; Juan Licon,
$50,000; Robert Brown, $75,000; Jose Garcia, $50,000; Margo
Schwender, $100,000; Melany Reed, $75,000; Barbara Dollar,
$200,000; Cindy Melendez, $200,000; Bernice Rojo, $100,000;
Angelia Guerrero, $95,000; Valerie Valdez, $500,000; Rosa
Valdez, $65,000; Sylvia Duarte, $200,000; Ismael Lopez,
$100,000; Gabriel Perez, $100,000; Abel Flores, $100,000;
Gilberto Rodriguez, $750,000; Michael Collins, $100,000 and
Heradio Torres, $20,000.
There was also a juvenile arrested, for whom there was no
bond amount available. Culberson County Sheriff Glenn
Humphries said that juveniles aren't bonded, and that
procedures for taking them into custody differ from those
used for adults.
Also arrested were Enrique Rodriguez, Jr., bond $150,000,
Victor Franco, Adalberto Franco, Elizabeth Ybarra and Delma
Hinton, for whom bond amounts are unavailable.
The operation that netted all of these arrests was the
culmination of seven months of undercover work by members of
the task force, according to Finley. The drug deliveries
were made to undercover officers of Culberson, Reeves, Ector
and Midland counties, he said. Along with the arrests, nine
vehicles were seized.
Finley said that a number of other charges were filed on the
defendants for possession of cocaine at the time of the
All of those arrested are being held in the Culberson County
Jail, the Reeves County Jail or the Presidio County Jail,
according to Finley.
The local officers who participated in the undercover
operation were from both the Pecos Police Department and the
Reeves County Sheriff's Office. They worked with members of
the Ward, Andrews, Jeff Davis, Midland, Crane, Upton,
Presidio and Culberson counties sheriff's offices, the
Kermit and Andrews police departments and the Permian Basin
Drug Task Force.
Also on Thursday in another segment of the operation, the
task force arrested four people in Odessa for delivery of 30
pounds of marijuana to undercover officers of the task force.
The marijuana had a street value of $36,000.
They were Ismael Torres Franco, 29, of Roswell NM, Armando
Ordones Gouzales, 40, Roswell NM, Josefa Saenz, 28, also of
Roswell, NM and Erica Lee Briones, 23, of Kermit.
Borrowed vehicles crash
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Two vehicles, both borrowed by the
drivers from their owners, crashed at the intersection of
Fourth and Maple streets Friday evening.
At the time of the accident, Michael David Lukins, 20, 108
South Park Street, was driving east on West Fourth St. in a
1985 red Chevrolet pickup owned by Francis Glenn, according
to a Pecos police report. When Lukins approached the 400
block of Maple St., he failed to yield at a yield sign and
caused an accident with Oscar Navarette, 15, 506 North
Cherry Street, who was driving a 1994, blue Chevrolet pickup
owned by E. B. Guerrero.
Lukins and his passenger, Dennis Wilkins, were taken to
Reeves County Hospital with non-incapacitating injuries by
Both vehicles were damaged and towed to the B&B wrecker
yard. In addition to the vehicles, damage was done to a
chain link fence and a GTE power pole.
Specimens for alcohol/drug analysis were not taken from
either driver. Both vehicles were insured. According to the
report, Lukins was cited for failure to yield at a yield
sign and Navarette was cited for no drivers license.
Cow dog encourages students to read
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Students at Bessie Haynes
Elementary received a special treat Friday when they enjoyed
a presentation of "Hank the Cow Dog" in concert.
"Hank the Cow Dog" is a 29-volume series of fiction books
written by John Erickson. On Friday, Jeryl Hoover,
authorized by Erickson, gave a performance of music, humor
and stories to the school children.
Hoover is a West Texas native, born in Odessa, who now runs
his own production company based in Fredericksburg. He is
married with three sons.
Hoover loves the "Hank" characters and he came to Pecos and
performed at Bessie Haynes to help children learn more about
characters in the series and to encourage them to read, read
and read some more.
The event was co-sponsored by the West of the Pecos Museum.
The museum's executive director, Brandy Owen, obtained a
$423 grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts to help pay
the expenses of bringing Hoover's show to Pecos.
Owen said that "Hank the Cow Dog" books and merchandise are
available both at the museum bookstore and at the gift shop,
The Mesquite House.
Drug case plea bargined
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - A Pyote man who served a federal
prison term for possession with intent to distribute
marijuana is back in court, this time charged with
conspiracy to distribute marijuana in Louisiana.
Aubrey Dean Price, 72, waived indictment and signed a plea
agreement admitting he conspired with others from December,
1996 to May 25, 1997 to possess with intent to distribute
marijuana and "did aid and abet the commission of
The charge was transferred to the Pecos Division, where, if
the district judge accepts the plea bargain, Dean could be
sentenced to a maximum five years in prison and fined
Warnock settles with judges
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - Halfway through a three-day civil
trial in federal court, the plaintiff, former Pecos County
Auditor Bettye Warnock, called off her lawyers and settled
with the defendants this morning.
District judges Brock Jones and Alex Gonzales of the 112th
and 83rd Judicial Districts, respectively, had failed to
re-appoint Warnock at the end of her first term as auditor.
She sought re-instatment or front pay with benefits and
Warnock's attorney, Melissa Hirsch, called her client to the
stand after Senior Judge Bunton announced the settlement and
released the jury.
Hirsch asked Warncok about a telephone call made to her this
morning before she left home about "what you wanted to do
regarding this case: make a certain demand or agreement.
"That's something I have not advised you to do,"Hirsch said.
"I advised you to finish and was ready to fight on to the
end, but this is your decision," Hirsch said.
"I think it is an agreeable decision between the judges and
myself," Warnock said.
Steve Spurgin, former Pecos County attorney who joined
asssistant attorney general Nancy Juren at the defense
table, said he would have to report the agreement to the
Pecos County Commissioners Court, and they are not bound by
the confidentiality agreement.
Juren said that since the judges are state employees, there
may be a requirement that the settlement be approved by the
state comptroller and governor's office.
Spurgin was cross examining Warnock about the 48 reports she
claimed triggered the judges' decision not to re-apppoint
her as county auditor when she became ill and asked for a
recess at at mid-morning.
The settlement decision was made during the recess.
Former Pecos County Judge Charlie Warnock accompanied his
wife to court. Judge Jones, in a deposition, cited Warnock's
political problems while in office for the poor relations
Mrs. Warnock had with county officials and employees as
Services are incomplete for Luciano Salgado, 70, of Pecos,
who died Monday, Feb. 2, 1998, at Reeves County Hospital.
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, February 3, 1998 - High Monday, 72, low this morning,
37. Spring-like weather may come to an abrupt end by
Wednesday afternoon as an approaching upper level storm
system may bring some snow to the Texas Panhandle.
Forecasters say the vigorous storm will at least bring an
end to the warm and dry weather the state has been
experiencing. But it's too early to say how much, if any,
snowfall the system may produce in the Panhandle. Forecasts
call for the storm system to first produce cold rain across
West Texas. Clouds will be increasing across West Texas
tonight with mostly cloudy skies forecast on Wednesday.
There is a chance of rain across all of West Texas on
Wednesday. Lows tonight will be in the 30s and 40s in West
Texas, highs Wednesday will be in the 40s and 50s.
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