Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, June 5, 1998
Officials hope changes free task force
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter is in Austin today for a
meeting with Gov. George W. Bush in an attempt to save the
Permian Basin Drug Task Force.
Painter heads the task force board, which oversees the
$1.6-million per year operation. Board members met with
Ector County Commissioners on Thursday, seeking approval for
an interim task force commander.
Retired DPS Captain Arvin Kilpatrick was appointed to
temporarily replace Commander Tom Finley. Finley and his
assistant, Jack Brewer, will be on vacation until the matter
is resolved, the court decided.
Painter's chief deputy, Clayton McKinney, said this morning
that politics has caused the current crisis.
"For political reasons, they are using the justice system to
destroy the people they want to destroy," McKinney said.
Former 143rd District Attorney John Stickels is one of those
who has opposed the task force, but he said he is
disappointed about the loss of funding.
Before leaving office in January, 1997, Stickels often
disagreed publicly and privately with the task force, and he
is suing commander Finley for libel, as a result of a letter
Finley released to the public in May of 1997.
"I always thought the task force's function in the area of
drugs was to provide assistance to local law enforcement
agencies so the task force could try to go after the big
guys instead of the little street-level dealers," Stickels
said. "I am disappointed this happened."
He said there was a great potential for the task force to do
a lot of good, but "The people in charge of the task force
made the decision years back of making many arrests of small
dealers instead of concentrating on the big importers and
big distributors of narcotics," he said.
"Hopefully, with new leadership, the task force will be able
to re-direct themselves in this area."
Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez said a small department
does not have the resources or manpower to go after the big
"Our job is to go after anybody, whether they are dealers,
users, anybody messing with dope. I don't think we should
categorize anybody. If you are selling one ounce, two or
three joints or one pound, you are still selling narcotics,"
"I told (Ector County Commissioners) the (task force) people
in Reeves County had done a hell of a job doing undercover
work. We made drug arrests that would never have been done,"
Stickels said that one of the problems he had with the task
force was that it appeared the people in charge didn't have
to answer to anybody.
"I can remember many times that I would call people on the
task force board, and they would say they had to talk to
Finley. There was a lack of direction from other than the
The root of the whole problem, he said, is that the agency
was funded by grant money and seizures.
"When you have a law enforcement agency making enough money
to support themselves, then you have problems with it," he
said. "I said that from the very first."
Stickels is now an assistant prosecutor in Hayes County (San
Marcos) and said he enjoys his work. He also attends the
University of Texas, where he is one of three accepted into
the LBJ School of Public Affairs doctorate program.
Finley and Brewer were among a large number of people who
addressed the commissioner's court Thursday. Brewer was
chief deputy for the Reeves County Sheriff's Department
under Sheriff Raul Florez.
Colder air gets smoke out of area
From Staff and Wire Reports
The first of two fronts of cooler air, which passed through
the Permian Basin on Thursday, not only dropped temperatures
below 100 degrees for the first time in a week, but was also
expected to push smoke from fires in southern Mexico and
Central America back to the south.
Though scattered showers have doused some wildfires in
southern Mexico and Central America, the region continues to
produce huge amounts of eye-irritating, throat scratching
smoke. North and Central Texas got the worst of it Thursday,
meteorologist Bryan Lambeth said.
A front descending through North Texas should push the smoke
southward until it stalls around Austin on Friday, Lambeth
said. Scattered showers could offer temporary relief for
areas ahead of the front.
The Trans-Pecos didn't get any showers from Thursday's
front, but the cooler air and clouds did keep Pecos' high
temperature at just 99 degrees Thursday - still hot, but 10
degrees below the 109 degree highs reported on Wednesday.
Strong thunderstorms did hit parts of Texas from the Concho
Valley east. Large hail pelted Eden in Concho County and
winds gusted to 60 mph as large hail pelted Doole, and Lohn
in McCulloch County.
Some flash flooding was reported in the Waco area in Central
Texas early today.
Wind damage was widespread.
The highest wind gusts during the thunderstorms reached 70
mph at Gladewater in Gregg County where some power lines
were downed. Large hail was reported near Lake Tyler in
The second front of cool air was expected to pass through
the Texas Pandhandle tonight, dropping temperatures to as
low as 40 degrees in areas north of Amarillo.
Meanwhile, Smoke from the fires could return as a health
threat to parts of North and West Texas next week, and the
ongoing problems have resulted in federal officials
traveling to Mexico to survey the situation.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman assured Mexico that
Washington is committed to helping extinguish wildfires
burning rain forest reserves in the southern state of
Glickman met officials from Mexico's Environment Ministry
upon arriving Thursday in Chiapas, where 50 U.S. forest
experts are helping coordinate firefighting efforts.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has pledged $5
million in aid to help control the blazes in Mexico, and an
equal amount for fires in Central America. The wildfires,
aggravated by a regional drought blamed on the El Nino
weather phenomenon, have spewed a smoky haze across the
region and as far north as the U.S. plains states.
On Tuesday, President Clinton said he was sending Glickman
and U.S. AID chief Brian Atwood to Mexico to see the fires
firsthand and to ``see what else we can do.''
Players preparing for rodeo week show
By ROSIE FLORES
Local actors have already been refining their talents for an
upcoming production set for July, during the West of the
The Windmill Square Players have been practicing every
Tuesday and Thursday at the Pecos Learning Center in
preparation for the production, "Ratcatcher's Daughter," a
play by Tim Kelly.
"There will be five performances in all and we want everyone
to come out and see it," said director Jay Spence.
The first performance is scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, June
28 at the Pecos Learning Center. Another performance will be
held at 8:30 p.m., that day.
On Monday, June 29, the play will begin at 7:30 p.m.;
Tuesday, June 30, 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 4 at 3 p.m.
Each year the actors put together a play during rodeo events.
Senior citizens will get in free on Sunday, 28 at the 3
p.m. performance, but everyone is welcome to attend.
"This is not just for the senior citizens, but for everyone,
it's just that the senior citizens get in free at this
particular performance," said Spence.
Entry fee for all performances is $5 per person.
"We want to invite everyone to come out and have a good
time," said Spence.
Along with the play some singing will be performed and
Spence said everyone, "can even come out and sing along."
"It's sort of a musical and it will be family oriented so
the whole family is invited," said Spence.
Tickets will be available at the door.
Woman receives split decision in trial
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Federal court jurors rejected Blasa Gonzalez's claim that
she didn't know marijuana was in the car she was driving
when stopped by Border Patrol agents at Marfa on March 5.
She was convicted of possession with intent to distribute
marijuana but exonerated on the importation charge.
Gonzalez, 29, of Chicago, Ill., said she was doing a favor
for her brother-in-law when she picked up the 1989 Honda
Accord near Presidio after crossing the Rio Grande without
going through the Port of Entry.
Agents who stopped the vehicle because it and the owner,
Jeremy San Legardo of Chicago, were on a "lookout" list,
discovered 64 pounds of marijuana in a hidden compartment
underneath the trunk.
Fred Brigman of Alpine prosecuted for the government, and
Mike Barclay of Alpine defended Gonzalez before Fifth
Circuit Judge Emilio Garza of San Antonio.
Six jurors deliberated about an hour Thursday after hearing
testimony in a sexual harassment case, then returned at 9
In that case, Melissa Barnett claims her supervisor at the
Dollar General Store sexually harassed her. Although the
supervisor was terminated after she reported his advances to
the company, Barnett said she later was terminated as well.
Bill Weinacht represents Barnett, while Denis Dennis
represents Dollar General.
Clyde-Yeolan Achsah Corum Martin, 82, of Clyde, died
Wednesday, June 3, at an Abilene Hospital.
Services will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, at the Bailey Funeral
Home Chapel, in Clyde, with Rev. Carroll Hinds officiating.
Burial will follow in the Clyde Cemetery.
She was born June 20, 1915 in Ballinger, attended school in
Coleman, moved to Clyde from Abilene in 1972 and was a
member of the First Methodist Church.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest Martin.
Survivors include one brother, Herbert K. Corum of Del Rio;
one sister, Theresa Fletcher of Clyde and several nieces and
EDITOR'S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is
obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department,
Reeves County Sheriff's Office, or other officers of those
The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines
of either traffic citations, animal control violations or
other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed
as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such
instances we will indicate payment and release.
In a joint operation Thursday afternoon, officers from the
Pecos Police Department and the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department executed a narcotics search warrant at 619 S.
Orange St., seizing a felony amount of a substance believed
to be marijuana.
Reymundo Espudo, of that address, was arrested for
possession of marijuana and booked into Reeves County Jail
at 10:33 p.m. A set of scales used for packaging marijuana
was also found in Espudo's home, police said.
Jose Alvarado Jr., 27, was arrested for driving while
intoxicated at 2:08 a.m. Friday, June 5th, on the 300 block
of Mulberry Street. Issued a breathalizer test at Pecos
Police Department, his blood alcohol level was found to be
over the acceptable limit and he was booked in at Reeves
County Jail on charges of D.W.I.
Jesus Hernandez, 59, was arrested at 8:25 p.m., on Monday,
June 1, in the 700 block of East Fourth Street for public
Jamie Marquez, 34, was arrested at 5:45 p.m., Monday, June
1, on a warrant issued for parole violation. He was
transported to Reeves County Jail.
High Thursday 99. Low this morning 65. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy evening, mostly cloudy after
midnight. low in the mid 50s. Northeast wind 10-20 mph.
Saturday, becoming partly cloudy. High 80 85. East wind
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 1998 by Pecos Enterprise