April 30, 1998
Drug raid reveals stolen firearm
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - Under the cover of night officers from the
Permian Basin Drug Task Force, Reeves County Sheriff's Department and
the Pecos Police Department swarmed the home of Hector and Yolanda Pando
and family, 2301 Sandia Road, Lindsay Addition southwest of Pecos City.
The joint operation began at 8:54 p.m. yesterday as the lawmen executed
a narcotics search warrant on the property. Officers searched the
interior of the home and with flashlight beams swept the exterior of the
home, a tool shed, garage, grounds and automobile. A drug dog was also
employed in the raid, pointing several spots that failed to reveal any
Within an hour and a half, the team had recovered two shotguns, a
.45-caliber handgun and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia. No drugs were
found on the property.
Yolanda Gonzales Pando was arrested for possession of a stolen firearm,
a third degree felony, after a stolen weapons check revealed one of the
shotguns was stolen from Carlsbad, N.M.
According to Police Chief Clay McKinney, Hector Pando Jr., Yolanda's
son, was sentenced earlier this week for drug delivery.
Yolanda and her husband, Hector Brito Pando, were arrested on November
21, 1995, for delivery of cocaine and marijuana to undercover officers
and later released on a reduced bail (from $330,000 each to $50,000
each) on five narcotics charges.
Local officials believe Hector Brito Pando fled the country in May,
1996, after a drug test revealed opiates in his urine, a violation of
the terms of his probation.
Yolando Pando is currently serving a 10 year probation sentence for her
1996 trial. She is being held at the Reeves County Jail and, according
to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, is expected to have a bond hearing
Getting back to business at TWC
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - Operations may be getting back to normal at the
Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as the offices are moved to a temporary
building located in the adjoining parking lot.
The building, located at 215 West Second Street, sustained structural
damage following a two car accident on Wednesday, April 22. The
collision sent one vehicle into the front of the building, knocking out
part of the wall on the building's southwest corner.
"We have been doing what we can from here," said Mary Jenkins, workforce
development specialist, "We are still referring jobs, but claims are
referred to the Odessa office."
Jenkins predicted that by the time she had her first scheduled
appointments yesterday she would be set up in the temporary office,
ready for business as usual.
TWC Spokesman David Beshear said that he has spoken with Pecos Fire
Marshal Jack Brookshire and the building has not been condemned. He said
that an engineer has been assigned to the case, and estimated about two
to three months before the building is repaired.
Freeport releases first-quarter earnings
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - Officials of Freeport McMoRan Inc. released the
company's first full-quarter report of operations as a newly-formed
publicly traded company. The release reports a first-quarter net income
for 1998 at $2.5 million, $0.24 per share, compared with first-quarter
1997 pro forma net income of $0.4 million, $0.03 per share.
The company's first-quarter sulphur sales of produced and purchased
sulphur totaled 833,800 long tons. The Main Pass oil production averaged
about 7,500 barrels per day for the 1998 first quarter, compared with
9,900 barrels per day during the year-ago quarter. Freeport's oil sales
totaled 456,000 barrels.
The company reported its first full quarter of operations as an
independent publicly traded company, following the December, 1997,
distribution of its common stock to unit-holders of Phosphate Resource
Partners Limited Partnership, formerly Freeport-McMoRan Resource
Partners, Limited Partnership, and stockholders of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
on a pro rata basis.
First quarter revenues consisted of $50.8 million in sulphur sales and
$6.2 million in oil sales, compared with $44.9 million in sulphur and
$8.5 million in oil during the 1997 first quarter.
Operating costs were also higher, officials said, because of increased
interest in the Main Pass joint venture. Sulphur unit production and
delivery costs were six percent higher in the 1998 quarter compared with
the same period in 1997 primarily because of reduced production volumes.
During the first quarter of 1998, Freeport curtailed annual sulphur
production by about 400,000 long tons in response to a developing near
term imbalance in U.S. sulphur supply and demand. This reduction in
production is mainly being achieved by cutting back production at the
company's Culberson County, Texas, mine.
PHS brings home academic medal
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - One Pecos High School student brought home a
medal from Regional UIL Academic Competition held in San Angelo last
Efrain Rodriguez placed fourth in computer applications and seventh in
science. Jeff Lam placed eighth in science. Rodriguez received his medal
for his fourth place win.
"We didn't have anyone else place and for the first time in a long time
nobody is going to state," said teacher and sponsor Barbara Scown.
"However, they did real well and we're very proud of them," she said.
"We had a lot of new people on the teams who had never attended regional
competition," said Scown. "It helps if they've already experienced it
once," she said.
"You have to have that consistency," she said.
Scown stated that the group is already looking forward to next year's
competition. "We'll have a lot of students returning next year, just a
few seniors who won't be here, but we're already planning for next
year," she said.
"We'll have a really strong team then," she said.
This is also the first year that teams could enter students that had
taken accounting for several years and all of Pecos' were new to the
class, according to Scown.
"Even though this is the first year in a long time that we won't have
someone going to state, I'm very proud of them," said Scown. "We can't
go to state every year either," she said.
"But wait until next year, we'll really show them," she said.
Two local men arrested on DWI
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - Omero Salgado, 26, 502 Sycamore Street, was
arrested at 11:44 last night in the 1400 block of South Cedar Street
when he refused to take a test to determine if he was legally drunk
during a traffic stop.
Vincente M. Rodriguez, 33, 811 E. Fifth Street, was arrested during a
traffic stop at 12:15 a.m. today in the 100 block of Pinehurst for
driving while intoxicated.
Further details on why the traffic stops were made initially were not
available as of press time.
In district court, Gregory Powell Stephens was originally charged with
murder and made a plea bargain for a manslaughter conviction. He was
sentenced to eight years in prison, eight years of community supervision
and a $500 fine.
Vans provide low-cost emergency vehicles
By CARA ALLIGOOD
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - Several area service organizations have received
used military vans at little or no cost to local taxpayers recently.
Military surplus vans were donated to the police and sheriff's
departments through the military's Defense Reutilization and Marketing
Organization (DRMO), and the fire department and ambulance service vans
were sold to those organizations by a government surplus agency out of
Jeffery Baeza, a narcotics investigator from the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department, said that they got their van from Holloman Air Force base in
Alomogordo, NM. In January. "We obtained it as surplus for law
enforcement utilization," Baeza said.
The sheriff's department now has a 1988 Chevrolet step van with only
20,000 miles on it, "so it has a lot of miles ahead of it," according to
"We've painted it and put decals on it, and are working on the inside.
It will probably be done in two to three weeks," Baeza said.
Not only did the van not cost the taxpayers anything, the work being
done on it isn't coming from their pockets, either. "All the money we've
used for the painting and decals, we've taken out of the forfeiture
account, so it really hasn't cost the taxpayers anything," Baeza said.
The only cost to the public will be for routine maintenance and
"It will primarily be used for the SWAT team, execution of search
warrants and any other type of special operation the SWAT team might be
involved in," Baeza said. "It has already been used once on a training
According to Baeza, this van is the only vehicle the sheriff's
department has to use for SWAT missions. The two agencies previously had
to share an older, smaller van.
The police department's van is a 1985 Chevrolet with a diesel engine
which had 32,000 miles on the odometer when they received it.
"When the military drops a vehicle off their line, law enforcement is
eligible to apply for it and that's how we got this one," said Pecos
Police Chief Clay McKinney.
"We have ours designed inside where you can carry an eight-man SWAT team
and all their equipment," McKinney said. In addition to a built-in
cabinet, bench seats flip up to reveal more storage space underneath.
Painting and refurbishing the van has cost less than $800 so far,
McKinney estimated. He said that the money came from different line
items in the department's budget. "Almost half of that was for the light
bar, and the decals are pretty expensive," he said.
McKinney said that the police department's van is "85 to 95 percent
ready to go, although there are still a few items we want to put in it."
"On a call where these officers are needed, the van has water, medical
equipment, weapons, ammunition, blankets and everything in it," said
Mckinney, who would have loved to have had the van a year ago during the
Fort Davis standoff, when some of his men had to sleep on a cement floor
in a barn.
However, weapons and ammunition are not permanently stored in the van,
McKinney said. Those items are kept under lock and key at the police
department until they are needed.
"We'll also utilize it during anti-drug weeks (Red Ribbon Week) in the
schools, in parades and as an educational aid is special school
programs," McKinney said.
With both the sheriff's department and the police department having
their own vans, McKinney said, more officers can be transported quickly,
and with all of their necessary equipment.
Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said that the fire department now has a
1988 Chevrolet van with a diesel engine that has 43,000 miles on it.
Since the fire department is not a law enforcement agency, they had to
pay $2,800 to buy their van as a government surplus item.
Brookshire said that money was in the department's expense budget. "I
imagine that if we'd purchased a new van, it would have cost around
$25,000, so it saved the taxpayers a lot of money." He estimated that by
the time the fire department van is ready in a couple of weeks, that it,
including refurbishing materials, will have cost less than $5,000.
"We're building benches in there and we're going to mount air packs on
the walls so we can have firemen suiting up on the way to the fire
calls," Brookshire said.
He said that one of the volunteer firemen repainted the van, so they
spent about $500 on paint and parts. Brookshire also said that a
volunteer fireman, Arturo Granado, built the benches inside, so that
only cost the department $300 for building materials. He said the
department also spent $150 to have the front seats reupholstered. All of
those costs were paid out of fire department expense funds.
"We had talked about getting a bigger van in the near future,"
Brookshire said. "When you arrive at a fire and are waiting to get your
guys suited out, those few minutes seem like an eternity," he said.
"Since these vans came available at that price, we decided to go ahead
and change them out now."
Brookshire said the department is using this van to replace a 1975
Chevrolet van that isn't big enough to stand up in, an important
consideration when the volunteers are trying to hurry to the scene of a
fire and change into their fire fighting uniforms.
"Not only will it save the taxpayers money, it will save time because
the firemen will be able to suit up on the way to fires instead of
waiting until they get to the scene," said Brookshire.
"You could save two to three minutes if you already have someone suited
out when they arrive at the scene, and that could make all the
difference in getting someone out alive," Brookshire said.
Brookshire said the fire department plans to sell either their old van
or pickup at the next city auction. "We'll probably get rid of the
pickup and keep the van," he said. "We have two part time employees who
can use it when they inspect fire plugs and keep them accessible."
The ambulance service also bought one of the surplus vans, but ambulance
service director Bill Cole said that he did not have time to discuss his
department's van. However, city records do show some details of the
The ambulance service 1987 Chevrolet van was purchased for $2,800 from
GSC Surplus with 29,230 miles on the odometer.
PECOS, April 30, 1998 - High Wednesday, 83, low this morning, 54. April
30 has sometimes been a stormy day in Texas, but pleasant weather
appeared in store for the state today. Killer tornadoes struck Bowie
County on this day in 1894, Navarro County in 1940 and Fannin County in
1949. As low pressure began to develop in the west, the wind began to
shift more to the south, signaling a warmup.High temperatures have only
been in the 60s the last couple of days, so they have a way to go to
climb back to near normal. For the last day of April, temperatures
should average near 80. Temperatures on Wednesday ranged from a
near-freezing 34 degrees at Amarillo to a toasty 89 at Laredo.
Temperatures across West Texas today should be in the 70s and 80s in the
northern regions and in the 80s and 90s in the southern extremities.
Night-time lows should be in the 50s.
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