February 11, 1998
Departed deputy remembered with honor
By RICK L. SMITH
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - The 1998 Law Enforcement Officer
of the Year had been a peace officer in Reeves County for
about 20 years and would probably still be serving the
community if his life had not suddenly ended in an automobile
accident in July of last year.
Floyd Estrada was not only a Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy,
he was also a member of the Reeves County Sheriff's Posse,
active with the local 4-H Club, a member of the Balmorhea
ambulance service and a participant of the area SWAT team. He
had a Bachelor's degree in criminology and was working on
"He was very diligent about his work and at the same time
was also compationate and fair with people," said Reeves
County Judge Jimmy Galindo, who presented the Law
Enforcement Officer of the Year award to Floyd's wife, Elia,
at the Pecos Chamber of Commerce awards banquet last month.
"Floyd had a unique style that we all respected and loved,"
Galindo said. Floyd showed his devotion to the community
through his involvement with youth development, Galindo
said. Galindo told one incident that he witnessed that
demonstrated Floyd's attitude toward life.
During a recent Pecos Junior Livestock Show Floyd spotted a
young man having a lot of trouble with his animal, Galindo
said. The boy's parents were busy with another project at
the show and were not around.
The more the boy struggled to get his animal to behave the
more frustrated he became. The animal sensed the boy's
frustration and the two battled against one another.
"Floyd stepped in and calmed the animal down," Galindo said.
"He tied up the animal then went to the boy.
"He told the boy You have to relax so your animal will be
relaxed. Then you can both do what you have to do.' Then
Floyd walked the boy through what he was trying to do with
By the time the boy's parents returned the youth was in
control and his parents never saw the turmoil he had been
"Floyd just stepped in and stepped out of the situation and
the parents never saw what he did,"Galindo said.
Floyd spent his years with the sheriff's department as the
resident deputy in Balmorhea, according to Reeves County
Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez.
"Floyd was loyal and hard working," Gomez said. "He was
always combat ready. He didn't care about how many hours he
put in. He was just law enforcement, period."
Gomez said Floyd was the kind of man who if he found
somebody broken down on the highway he would not only help
them but he would also take them home with him.
"He started the same year I did," he said. "He started as a
deputy and I started as a jailer. We've been on shootouts
and chases together, he always gave it his all.
"He was a good man, he was like family."
Candidate taxes become a voter issue
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - A petition began circulating
Pecos last week. Titled "Taxpayer Protest," the petition
began making rounds after it came to the attention of some
residents that Lin-Lou, Inc., a family corporation based in
Pecos was a year behind in its taxes. One statement made in
the petition charges that, while others are being put "out
on the street" due to their inability to pay their taxes,
"other people have escaped and concealed responsibility for
their taxes in Reeves County."
The "other people" referred to in the petition is county
judge candidate and school board member Linda Gholson. The
petition alleges that Gholson formed Lin-Lou corporation and
suggests she has avoided being penalized for delinquent
taxes because of her position on the school board.
"I never at any time tried to conceal anything from anyone,"
Gholson said. Of the statement that she formed the
corporation, Gholson said, "I did not form it, but am a part
According to its charter, Lin-Lou, Inc., was formed in 1986
for the sale of retail clothes and dry goods, purchase of
real estate properties and investments and other business
enterprises to the general public and state of Texas. To
residents of Pecos this translates into the Style Shop,
Ladies Ready to Wear and a number of real estate properties.
Gholson admitted there had been delinquent taxes but said
that those behind the inception of the petition
over-estimated the total amount of back taxes owed by the
corporation (over $10,000). This turned out not to be the
case. The corporation was behind in 1996 property taxes by
$11,023.85, while 1997 taxes were kept current.
Drawing an important distinction, Gholson said, "The
corporation's taxes were lagging, but my own personal
property taxes were not." She added that the corporation's
taxes had always been handled by her mother, Louise Taylor.
"Sometimes people will do this," said County Tax
Assessor/Creditor Elfidia Zuniga. "They pay their current
year's taxes to keep off delinquency charges and take care
of the older taxes when they can."
But, Zuniga added, owing back taxes from 1997 is not
And as of Monday, Feb. 9, the total amount owed by Lin-Lou,
Inc. had been paid by Taylor.
But Gholson was not the only candidate lagging behind on her
As of 2:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, five other candidates were
behind on their taxes. Property taxes are considered
"delinquent" and incur financial penalty after Feb. 1, and,
if left unpaid, incur a 15 percent penalty on July 1, of any
Current Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1, Amonario Ramon,
owed back taxes dating to 1994. He owed over $4,500 on two
When asked about the debt, Ramon said that he had been to
the school tax office and had plans to pay the total of his
back taxes on Tuesday, Feb. 10. His 1997 taxes are current
and all delinquent taxes were paid by Wednesday morning,
Rosendo Carrasco, who is seeking J.P. of Precinct 3, owes
about $4,800 in city and county property taxes. However,
according to Zuniga, Carrasco has "taken responsibility" for
his debt and has been paying it off in monthly installments.
"I've been paying it off by about $50-$100 a week," said
Carrasco, who owns Carrasco Mercantile in Balmorhea.
When Rosemary Chabarria, who owes $247.60 in '97 taxes,
decided to seek the office of district clerk she didn't know
that her 12-year-old daughter Denise would soon be diagnosed
with leukemia, as she was on Wednesday, Feb. 4, in Dallas.
According to Chabarria, Denise has already started
chemotherapy and must now be taken to Midland weekly for
"Even if I had the money I don't know if I could pay it,"
said Chabarria of her overdue taxes. "She is more important
than anything else."
Chabarria, who has worked in the county tax office for five
years understands how important paying taxes is, and said
she also knew how the matter may reflect on her as a
candidate. She even toyed with the idea of dropping out of
the race altogether.
"She doesn't want me to quit," Chabarria said of her
daughter on Feb. 10. "I'm just gonna wing it. All my money
is going to her. If the people want me in there then it'll
be their choice."
However, an unexpected bonus to her husband's paycheck,
Chabarria said on Wednesday, Feb. 11, would enable them to
pay off the debt later in the day.
County Commissioner Bernardo Martinez owed $174.97 on his
'97 property taxes and was unavailable for comment as he was
in Austin at a Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission conference. His taxes were paid as of Wednesday,
County Surveyor Frank X. Spencer, who is behind on '97
property taxes by $92.88, said that the property in question
is a joint property. "I have paid my one-third of the taxes
and the other party needs to pay his part now," said Spencer.
Drug case falls apart
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - Defense attorney Tony Chavez on
Tuesday picked apart the state's case against Conception
"Teofilo" Garcia, and 143rd District Court jurors found him
innocent of delivery of cocaine.
William Price, an undercover investigator for the Permian
Basin Drug Task Force, testified that he bought a $20 paper
of cocaine from Garcia on Jan. 1, 1997.
However, under cross-examination, Price was unable to
identify the location where the sale allegedly took place
and to explain why the pickup the seller drove was
registered to a Midland man.
"It was nothing brilliant that I did," Chavez said. "The
case just went south on them. It just came down to: did they
believe Price or Garcia?"
Garcia denied selling Price any drugs, and said he had ever
seen him before in his entire life, Chavez said.
Testimony began this morning in a civil damage suit that was
rescheduled from Tuesday to accommodate Chavez's federal
Claudia Gurrola is suing the Pecos Holiday Inn Inc. for
injuries she received when she walked into a plate glass
window at the motel in March, 1995.
Joel Fry represents Guerrola, while Scott Tidwell represents
Legality of drug bust questioned
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - U.S. District Judge Royal
Furgeson denied a motion to supress evidence Tuesday, took
another under advisement and reset a hearing on a third.
Public Defender Kurt Mayer sought to suppress evidence in a
marijuana possession case against Jose Efrain Ceniceros, 25.
Ceniceros was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents after
they noticed him driving erratically on U.S. Highway 118
south of Alpine Nov. 14, 1997.
Stopping the vehicle for an immigration check, agent Jeffery
Hamilton testified he noticed Ceniceros was nervous and
delayed answering whether he was a U.S. citizen. He claimed
to be a citizen, but was later determined to be a legal
Because of his nervousness and the fact the rear end of the
vehicle appeared to be loaded, the Hamilton asked Ceniceros
to open the trunk, which he did. It contained four Mexican
flour sacks of bundles wrapped in duct tape. The bundles
weighed 206 pounds.
Ceniceros told the agents he drove to Ojinaga, Mex., paid
$15,000 for the marijuana, crossed back into Texas and drove
to Lajitas. Again crossing into Mexico, he picked up the
bundles, loaded them into the trunk and headed toward
Public Defender Kurt Mayer sought to suppress evidence based
on the legality of the stop.
Judge Furgeson reset Mayer's motion to suppress evidence
against Gerardo Jacquez to Feb. 20 on the law applying to
stop and identity.
He took under advisement a motion made by attorney Jeff
Parras to suppress evidence against Javier Mendoza Guillen
and said the trial may be moved to Midland or El Paso.
On Monday, Judge Furgeson accepted guilty pleas from
Ludivina Garcia-Rodriguez, misprison of a felony;
* Ruben Ruiz-Resendiz, import marijuana; and
* Jose Dominguez, possess marijuana.
He sentenced Benjamin Romero to 84 months in prison for
marijuana possession, recommending he be incarcerated at La
Tuna, near El Paso.
Denying a motion to suppress evidence against Juan
Fierro-Rodriguez, Judge Furgeson found him guilty of
marijuana possession and set sentencing for April 13.
He also denied motions to suppress evidence of marijuana
possession against Larry Grubbs and Ojilvia Moreno-Arroyo,
then said he would enter an opinion in the suppression
motion by Lorenzo Quintana-Quezada within a week.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Stuart Platt held court Monday and
Tuesday as well, handling a large number of pleas and
motions on Judge Furgeson's felony cases. Furgeson is
required to approve or disapprove Platt's recommendations
before they become final.
Meanwhile, prosecutors filed an information charging Condry
Allen Hartman with use of an interstate facility in aid of
Hartman, 48, allegedly used the Post Office and other
interstate facilities to carry on a gambling/bookmaking
operation. If convicted he could be sentenced to five years
in prison and up to $250,000 fine.
Chamber stifles rumors
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - Contrary to rumors circulating
there will be a Golden Girl Revue and Little Miss Cantaloupe
Pageant again this year, as has been a tradition for many
years, according to the Chamber of Commerce Women's Division
president Suan Cross.
Cross told chamber board members at their regular meeting
that rumors had been circulating about there not being a
Golden Girl Pageant, because the Rotary Club would no longer
participate and help out.
"We met last week and decided to go ahead and put on the
production ourselves," said Cross. "And keep the tradition
of Golden Girl going," she said.
In previous years, the Rotary Club would co-sponsor the
event with the Women's Division. "We want to put those
rumors to rest and let everyone know that we will continue
the tradition," she said.
Rotary Club members took care of the "man-power," such as
setting up the stage, getting the production part of the
show ready and procuring a band for the occasion.
"We will begin major re-organization of the event and start
from the ground up," said Cross.
Cross stated that the group is very optimistic and stated,
"We're real excited, have many plans and we can handle it
and with the cooperation of everyone put on a good show."
One of the reasons the club gave Cross about not
participating is that they were "burned out" with the same
club volunteers doing everything every year.
Dot Stafford a member of the both the chamber board and
Rotary Club stated that the group (Rotary) had been trying
to get someont else to take over the production part of the
event. "We had people willing to help but not take full
responsibility and there was nobody musically inclined who
could do this," she said.
Cross thanked everyone for participating in the recent
banquet sponsored by the chamber. "I want to thank Paul
Hinojos for coming up with the idea of using promotional
items at the tables, that went really well," she said.
Chamber president Richard Crider urged all members to
volunteer for the Golden Gloves Tournament which will be
held in Pecos this weekend. The chamber is sponsoring the
"We need all that can to come out and help this weekend,"
A concession stand will be open during the event and will
feature cold beverages among other things.
"We'd like the community to come out and support us," said
chamber director Tom Rivera.
During the director's report portion of the meeting, Rivera
told the group that the budget was not quite ready to be
approved. "I know I told you all that it would be ready by
this meeting, but the committee met and have drawn up a
contract and recommendations which will be presented to the
city," he said.
The contract features the bed tax and the amount the city
will contribute. "There will be no major changes and it
should be essentially the same as last year," said Rivera.
Rivera told the group that the only thing he would like to
see a change in this year, was the staff's salary. "I'd like
to see an increase in my staff's salary, not myself, but
them and possibly some type of medical coverage," he said.
"I'd like to see that worked into the budget somehow," he
Kevin Duke, tourism and advertising director, told board
members that they had a meeting with the bed tax committee.
"We drafted up a contract that we will present to the city
and then we will notify all committee members how much we
will get from the city," said Duke.
Duke updated the group on a judgement the chamber has
against a popular Tejano band. "Tom received a phone call
from one of the band members, saying that he was trying to
purchase a home and couldn't because of our judgement," said
"So maybe, we might get a settlement from them," he said.
"If they make any kind of an offer we will let you know and
then we can decide whether we want to accept it," he said.
Linda Gholson, head of the merchant's committee, stated that
several merchants had participated in the recent Groundhog's
Day promo and that things went very well. "We had a good
response and those who participated really enjoyed it," she
Past president Paul Hinojos thanked everyone who helped make
the chamber banquet a success, particularly the Women's
Division. "They took time out of their busy schedules and
away from their families to make this banquet a success and I
also want to thank those who went," said Hinojos. A profit
of $900 was made during this event. "That's not an exact
figure, but that's about how much profit we made," he said.
Jailer busted for supplying drugs
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - A jailer at Reeves County Jail,
Adolfo Prieto, was arrested on a drug charge yesterday
afternoon, after tips from anonymous sources led to a
cooperative undercover investigation by local law
Last week, narcotics investigators received information that
a corrections officer was taking drugs into the county jail,
according to narcotics investigator Paul Deishler. "We
contacted the sheriff and Clay (Police Chief McKinney) and
told them about it," he said.
"The first of this week, we received more information on who
it was, and that he was supplying drugs to inmates,"
The narcotics investigators, Deishler and Jeffery Baeza,
worked with the sheriff and District Attorney Randy
Reynolds, and "we started doing surveillance on Mr. Prieto
whenever he was around the jail," said Deishler.
"Yesterday afternoon while we were doing surveillance, we
observed him depart from the jail and walk to the post
office, where he met with known drug dealers or users within
the community," Deishler said.
While Prieto was on his way back to the jail, the
investigators contacted Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez. "Sheriff
Gomez met him and immediately took him into his office and
found on his person a syringe and a substance believed to be
heroin," said Deishler.
"We then brought him over here to the police department and
met with the sheriff, the chief, the district attorney and
his investigator. After talking to him (Prieto), he
confessed that the heroin and paraphernalia was for an
inmate in the jail," Deishler said. Deishler said that
Prieto supplied the investigators with the name of one
inmate that he was taking the drugs to, but investigators
believe there may actually be other inmates involved.
Prieto, 30, 1024 S. Elm, was charged when the drugs were
found on his person, at about 2 to 2:30 p.m. yesterday, with
possession of a controlled substance within a correctional
facility, an automatic third degree felony, according to
"I've been here since 1982, and this is the best cooperation
I've seen between the police department, the sheriff's
department and the district attorney in fighting the war on
drugs," said Deishler.
"I hate to see this happen, especially to one of my
employees, but I have to do my job," said Sheriff Gomez.
Deane C. Schlomer
Deane C. Schlomer, 80, died Saturday, Feb. 2, 1998.
Services are scheduled for Wednesday, at Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints in El Paso, with burial in
Fairview Cemetery in Gainsville, Tx.
Schlomer was a former Balmorhea resident and a school
teacher in Balmorhea for 40 years.
Survivors include: one son, Keith Schlomer; one daughter,
Winona Dye; two brothers; eight grandchildren; and seven
Hillcrest Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Richard Swinney, 54, died Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1998, in Dallas.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 11, at
Rhoton Funeral Home Chapel.
Mass will be at 9 a.m., Thursday, at Calvary Hill Mausoleum
Chapel with Father Lonnie Honea. Burial will be in Calvary
Survivors include: his wife, Peg Swinney; three sons, Greg,
Mike and Ronald Swinney; three daughters, Perri Tichenor,
Kelly Jones and Stephanie Jones; one brother, Fred Swinney;
and 11 grandchildren.
Rhoton Funeral Home of Dallas is in charge of arrangements.
John Rial Truss, Jr.
John Rial Truss, Jr., 83, of Balmorhea, died Friday, Feb. 6,
1998, at his residence.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, at
Monahans Cemetery with Rev. Ted Harris officiating.
Truss was born March 25, 1915, in Windom, Tx. He was a U.S.
Army veteran and had worked for Gulf Oil Company for 35
years as a materials supervisor.
Truss was preceded in death by his wife Verna "Connie" Truss.
Survivors include: one daughter, Velma Truss Lowry of Rocky
Comfort, Mo.; one brother, Joe Sam Truss of Midland; one
sister, Mary Ruth Shell of Austin; three grandchildren;
seven great-grandchildren; and three great-great
PECOS, February 11, 1998 - It will be rainy across West
Texas tonight and Thursday with some snow possible in the
northern area of the South Plains and Panhandle tonight. It
will be mostly cloudy across all of West Texas with a chance
of rain in the areas east of the mountains through Thursday.
Lows tonight will be in the 20s and 30s in West Texas, highs
Thursday will be in the 40s in the Panhandle and in the 50s
and 60s elsewhere in West Texas.
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