Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, July 31, 1998
Sheriffs object to Bush's task force plan
BY JERRY CURRY
and PEGGY McCRACKEN
Sheriffs and police chiefs from the 17 counties making up
the Permian Basin Drug Task Force let representatives of
Gov. George W. Bush know Thursday that they don't approve of
the state dismantling the task force.
"Who did this man (Tom Finley, task force commander) kill?
Why did you do this? We want to let you gentlemen know that
we did not know what was going on," said Chel Duarte,
sheriff of Terrell County.
When pressed directly on why allegations of wrongdoing by
Finley and his assistant, Jack Brewer, have not been
presented to a grand jury, Bush's legislative director,
Terell Smith, said he did not know, but he hoped something
would be resolved in that area.
Duarte said he was not invited to the meeting, and he was
not the only sheriff who was not invited.
Only sheriffs and police chiefs who had indicated an
interest in the state's new West Texas Narcotics Enforcement
Task Force, led by the Department of Public Safety in
Austin, were invited, said a spokesman for the governor.
Smith and Duke Bodisch, director of the Texas Narcotics
Control Program for the Criminal Justice Division of the
governor's office, said the new task force is set to begin
operations Sept. 1, if local agencies agree to participate.
"My office has $800,000 of available money to spend for the
next nine months to enable you to fight drugs," said Gov.
Bush through a written statement read to the group.
"The intent of this meeting is not to cast blame or
aspersions, but to move forward," Bush said.
After nine months, participating agencies would be required
to pay 25 percent of the expense in their own counties.
Smith and Bodisch both acknowledged there had been a lack of
communication between the criminal justice division and law
enforcement officers of West Texas, particularly in the
Permian Basin and Trans-Pecos.
The matter could have been handled better, but it happened,
and now they have to move on, the men said.
DPS would provide undercover officers for local
investigations, with support of equipment and technology as
in the past, but they would be directed out of Austin with
no local input.
That is a sticking point with many sheriffs, who walked out
midway through the meeting. Many had met last week in
Monahans to form their own task force, with Finley as
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney attended Thursday's
meeting, but said little was settled. Reeves County Sheriff
Arnulfo Gomez was at a meeting in Austin.
Monahans Police Chief Charles Sebastian said he has the same
concerns as other officers about the way the task force was
dismantled, but he agrees that West Texas law enforcement
has to move ahead and re-establish a task force as quickly
as they possibly can.
First school activities beginning next week
By ROSIE FLORES
Students will see an end to sleeping late, attending
swimming parties and generally "goofing off" as the first
activities of the 1998-99 school year get underway next week.
Students in high school extracurricular events will be the
first back to work, starting next Wednesday, while
orientation will be held for all high school students on
Friday, Aug. 14.
Freshman students will be introduced to high school
personnel and briefed on proper behavior at 3 p.m. on that
day at the Pecos High School Auditorium.
Seniors orientation will be at 8 a.m., Junior students at 10
a.m. and sophomores at 1 p.m.
"We'll have different personnel here at that time, including
assistant principal Victor Tarin, both counselors and any
other personnel ... (who need) to instruct the students in
their particular field," said high school principal Danny
All band members are asked to attend a special meeting this
coming Wednesday and meet the new high school band director
William Goff. The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. until
9 p.m. and students are asked to bring their instruments.
Two-a-days for tennis, football and volleyball also are
scheduled to begin on Wednesday. All physical forms must be
turned in by the first day of practice for all three sports.
For tennis players, the morning session is scheduled from
8-10 a.m. and the afternoon session to be held from 5-7 p.m.
Football players will have two morning sessions, from 8 to
10 a.m., and then from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volleyball will be
divided by groups, with junior and senior girls practicing
from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.; sophomores from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
and freshmen from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Pecos High
All other students will report to their respective campuses
on Monday, Aug. 17, to begin the first day of the 1998-1999
High school students will begin their day at 8:10 a.m. until
At Crockett Middle School the bell will ring at 8:10 a.m.,
with the first period class starting at 8:13 a.m.
Zavala Middle School students will report to their first
period class at 8:10 a.m. until 3:10 p.m., and elementary
through sixth grade students will begin their day at 8:10
a.m. and conclude at 3:10 p.m.
Senate votes to speed up cash payments
By CURT ANDERSON
AP Farm Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Farmers suffering from worsening natural
disasters and low commodities prices could get their 1999
government payments early under legislation the Senate
The checks could go to farmers as early as October if the
House passes the bill next week, as expected, and it is
signed by President Clinton. Agriculture Secretary Dan
Glickman said the administration supports the move.
``This will help my state, which is the most drastically
affected by ... drought,'' said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,
The 1999 payments, which are guaranteed under the 1996 farm
law, total $5.5 billion. Farmers would not have to take them
this fall if they don't need the cash, but critics are
concerned that early checks could leave producers without
sufficient income next year.
With farm losses mounting in the Midwest and South,
lawmakers are rushing to get aid to growers and diffuse what
could be an explosive political issue in this fall's
Separately Thursday, key members of Congress said a pending
$500 million emergency farm aid package is now likely to
reach $1 billion or even higher.
``I think we're talking about substantially more,'' said
Rep. Larry Combest, R-Texas, who would become Agriculture
Committee chairman next year if the GOP retains control of
the House in the November elections. ``We're looking at at
least twice that number ($500 million) and maybe more.''
The Senate earlier this month approved spending $500 million
in disaster aid, about half of which would likely go to the
Dakotas and Minnesota where wet weather and wheat disease
are the major problem. But the pressure is on for more as
the drought grows worse in Texas, Oklahoma and parts of the
Glickman, who appeared before the committee Thursday, said
the Agriculture Department would revise its estimates of the
disaster costs after release of the Aug. 12 crop production
figures, which rely on actual field surveys of crops to be
harvested in the fall.
``I suspect the numbers will be considerably higher,'' said
Glickman, who declined to make any definite estimate. ``I do
not believe there has been an adequate assessment of the
damage in the Southwest, particularly in Texas.''
A Texas A&M University study has estimated more than $1.4
billion in direct farmer losses due to the drought and $4.6
billion in overall economic loss. In Oklahoma, officials say
the disaster could cost $2 billion in total loss.
That comes on top of repeated disasters in the upper
Midwest, where chronic wet weather has spawned a wheat
disease that has destroyed crops for several years. In North
Dakota, Glickman said, farm income fell 92 percent in 1997
compared with the year before.
Aside from the weather disasters, Glickman said the overall
farm economy is in a tailspin that will cut income by $7.5
billion this year. Prices for corn, wheat, soybeans and
other commodities are off sharply because exports are down
due to the Asian financial crisis and the huge crops that
have been produced worldwide.
Projected U.S. fall harvests are once again expected to be
huge and farmers are taking on more debt, he said.
``After sprinting for two years, setting records by almost
every measure -- price, exports and income -- today farm
markets are limping,'' Glickman said. ``The U.S.
agricultural economy is now declining.''
Still, he said many producers will withstand the downturn
because of the strong markets of the early 1990s and because
production expenses actually dropped $1 billion this year
thanks to low inflation, low interest rates and low oil
Although Glickman wants to improve crop insurance and access
to credit for the long term, he said the No. 1 priority for
Congress after the emergency aid should be replenishment of
the International Monetary Fund. This would help troubled
Asian countries buy more U.S. farm products in the next 60
to 90 days, he said.
``IMF should be front and center,'' Glickman said.
More pleas are offered in drug case
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
While the alleged leader of a drug-smuggling gang remains in
Mexico out of reach of federal law enforcement officers,
eight members of the organization entered guilty pleas
Thursday in federal court in Pecos.
None of the 25 defendants is listed on Senior Judge Lucius
Bunton's Monday trial docket. Several pleaded guilty last
week, and trial for two was continued to a later date.
Pleading guilty Thursday were:
-- Homero Alvarado-Luna, possession with intent to
distribute 593 pounds of marijuana;
-- Juan Manuel Bugarin, possession with intent to distribute
-- Raul Roberto Carbajal-Galindo, using a telephone to
assist in a felony drug-trafficking crime;
-- Delma Leyva-Contreras, possession with intent to
-- Norma Ocon-Gardea, aid and abet, hindering and preventing
communication of information relating to commission of a
-- Soztenes Calderon, misprison of a felony (failure to
report knowledge of a federal violation);
-- Jose Antonio "Tony" Chavez and Moises "Boy" Hernandez,
providing aid and comfort to Raul Gardea-Luna to prevent his
apprehension, trial and punishment for possession with
intent to distribute marijuana.
Gracielo Gardea-Carrasco is the alleged organizer and leader
of the enterprise. He and other defendants who live in
Mexico have not been arrested.
Pecos residents Arturo Saenz and Eduardo Saenz are among the
co-conspirators named in the indictment but not charged in
this case. They have pleaded guilty to earlier indictments.
Co-conspirators performed various functions for the illegal
enterprise, including smuggling, storage, the hiring of
couriers, arranging and conducting electronic
communications, serving as couriers, and scouting for
couriers, the indictment alleges.
Chavez, an Odessa attorney, and Hernandez, his investigator,
were hired by Raul Gardea-Luna to represent some of the
members of the enterprise who were arrested earlier.
Chavez and Hernandez transferred payments of money from
Gardea-Luna to Roseann Holmberg, a courier for the
enterprise, in payment for her courier work and in order to
hinder, delay and prevent Holmberg from talking to law
enforcement authorities about Gardea's activities, the
Gardea-Carrasco's residence and farm at El Mulato (across
the Rio Grande from Redford) served as a staging point where
controlled substances were stockpiled and loaded into
vehicles and where scouts and couriers made plans to
transport controlled substances from the border, past Border
Patrol checkpoints, and into the interior of the United
States, according to the indictment.
Drugs were crossed at Polvo (dusty) Crossing, and at other
points near El Mulato and Redford.
The Ocon residence in Presidio served as a staging point.
The Odessa-Midland area served as another staging area for
controlled substances smuggled from the border area.
Purchasers of the controlled substances sometimes traveled
to this area to examine and/or take delivery of the smuggled
Marijuana, heroin and cocaine were imported by the gang and
distributed for a profit, the indictment alleges.
Judge Bunton set sentencing for Nov. 2.
Four defendants are set for trial Monday in cases unrelated
to the Gardea drug organization. They are Thomas Brient
Sykes, Luis Exiquio Crrillo, Gilberto Gonzales Juarez and
Alma Rosa Perez.
Sentencings set for Tuesday are Abraham P. Wall and Martin
Police asking for patrol cars in new budget
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney presented his proposed
budget to the Pecos City Council in a workshop Wednesday
evening, requesting two new patrol cars.
McKinney said two 1994 cars with 75,000 miles need to be
replaced. However, the council postponed a decision on
allowing that expense. Other items in his budget were
Armando Gil presented budgets for health, parks, emergency
management and municipal buildings.
"They talked about nearly every item, but were real happy
with everything," said Kenneth Neal, city manager. "They cut
Gil had also asked for a new pickup, but the council
proposed checking into buying a pre-owned vehicle, Neal said.
With the fire department and emergency medical service
budgets presented last week, the council has only the sewer,
water and street departments to consider before adopting the
budget in a regular council meeting, Neal said.
"My proposal is some less than last year," he said. "It will
not require a tax increase."
Investigators finish IDing victims of Jal crash
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Medical investigators have
identified three passengers killed when a single-engine
airplane crashed and burst into flames last Saturday near
the Jal, N.M., airport.
Rick McFerrin, 29, of Jonesboro, Ark., and Miguel Arrellano,
31, and Guadalupe Armando Chavez, 40, both of El Paso, died
in the crash, Dr. Homer Campbell of the state Office of the
Medical Investigator said Friday.
The airplane's pilot, Charles E. Haywood, 66, of El Paso,
also was killed. The OMI identified him earlier this week.
Haywood's 1973 Cessna 182P pancaked into the ground
belly-first Saturday near Jal's airport, federal
investigators have said.
The investigators said they found no evidence of airframe or
engine failure in the crash, and they ruled out weather as a
No flight plan was filed for the airplane.
Dog lost in West Texas back home after tour
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- The kids sobbed. Mom and dad
panicked. Jenny, the family's 8-pound miniature dachshund,
had been left behind at a Texas rest stop during their
But don't worry. Just like the Disney doggy adventure film
that could be made from her story, Jenny's odyssey will end
safely -- thanks to a pair of truckers who picked up the
hapless dachsie and took her on her own vacation across the
Lone Star State.
Our tale begins along a desolate stretch of Interstate 10
near El Paso, where the Laird family left the sausage dog in
the dust during a breakfast stop on their way on a family
road trip through the Southwest.
They drove 120 miles east, to Van Horn, before realizing
their usually quiet pet was not in the family motorhome or
``Jenny always barks at thunder and there was no barking,''
said dad Mike Laird, an engineer for a Milpitas company.
``We all panicked. `Where's Jenny?' everyone asked. The kids
were crying, and we were all emotional.''
A quick return to the rest stop didn't turn up Jenny. But a
maintenance worker said he had seen her pacing up and down
the road for several hours, checking for cars with kids.
``The man said a couple in a big rig took Jenny with them,
promising to search for her owners or return her to the rest
stop,'' Laird said. ``We stayed two nights at the rest stop
and put a big `Lost Dog' sign in black electrical tape on
the back of the trailer.''
The crestfallen Lairds finally gave up on their 6½-year-old
Jenny, meanwhile, was touring Texas with trucker Danny Gold
and his wife, Evelyn. It hadn't been easy picking up their
little cargo, but they figured if they didn't, she'd be
killed on the busy highway.
``She was frantic and really squealed when my husband
finally got her,'' Mrs. Gold said. ``We couldn't leave her
there. But we had a delivery to make, so she went along with
us to Houston. Then she came back home with us to
Despite growing attached to Jenny, Mrs. Gold called the
phone number on Jenny's tag, and South Bay Animal Licensing
connected her with the Lairds' answering machine. The Lairds
were in Fort Collins, Colo. when they got the good news.
``We have three dogs ourselves, and we know how you can get
attached,'' Mrs. Gold said Wednesday from her home near
Jenny's adventure 1,600 miles from home will eventually come
to a happy ending, probably with a tearful reunion and a
wagging tail, once the Golds make another delivery out West.
Alejandro Bitolas, Jr., died Thursday, July 23, 1998, at his
home in Lancaster, Calif.
Services were held Monday, July 28, in San Fernando, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his son Joel Bitolas in 1988.
Survivors include his wife, Dominga Bitolas; two daughters,
Maggie and Sarah Bitolas; four sons, Alex III, Joshua,
Hector, and Rene Bitolas all of Lancaster; four sisters,
Amelia B. Mora of Pecos, Celia Hernandez and Maria Butler of
Tucson, Ariz., Elvira Flores of El Paso; one brother, Manuel
"BiBi" Bitolas of Pecos; 11 grandchildren and six
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.
Raul Tarin, 40, was arrested at 6:06 p.m., on July 27, at
the intersection of County Road 404 and West "F" Street, for
public intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County
Felix Guajardo, 18, was arrested at 2:12 a.m., on July 28,
in the 100 block of South Plum Street, for public
intoxication. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Rona Davis, 32, was arrested at 2:49 p.m. on July 28, at the
corner of Fourth and Mulberry streets, on a warrant for
injury to a child, a third degree felony. She was
transported to Reeves County Jail.
Turquoise Townsend, 19, and Daniel Rolond, 20, were served
with warrants at 5:38 p.m., on July 29, at Reeves County
Jail, each for theft of service.
A male juvenile was arrested at 6:24 p.m., on July 29, at
the Greyhound bus station at Third and Cypress streets for
disorderly conduct/possession of marijuana/resisting arrest.
He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Nick Hernandez, 32, was arrested at 10:08 p.m., on July 29,
in the 300 block of South Sycamore Street, for abusing
aerosol paint. He was transported to Reeves County Jail.
Victor Escobedo, 39, and Ricardo Salinas, 31, were arrested
at 2:22 a.m., on July 30, in the 700 block of South Cedar
Street, for public intoxication. They were transported to
Reeves County Jail.
Jose Brindez, 43, and Maria Gochicoa, 46, were arrested at
12:48 a.m., on July 31, outside of the Ofecina Bar, for
public intoxication. They were transported to Reeves County
High Thursday 104. Low this morning 74. Forecast for
tonight: Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of
thunderstorms. Low 70 75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Saturday,
partly cloudy. High around 100. South wind 10-20 mph.
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