Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, October 23, 1998
Council votes support of new task force
By ROSIE FLORES
A new law enforcement organization with a familiar name has
been formed, and its new location in Reeves County was
supported by Town of Pecos City Council members at their
Thursday evening meeting.
The Permian Basin Drug Task Force, which was de-funded by
Gov. George W. Bush's office in May, will reopen and be
based in Reeves County if final approval is granted by the
state. On Thursday, Pecos City Council members approved a
resolution supporting application to create the task force,
which would cover most of the western half of the Permian
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and Pecos Police Chief Clay
McKinney, along with District Attorney Randall Reynolds were
on hand to update the council on the project.
The Pecos-based task force would replace the old Permian
Basin Drug Task Force that was headquartered in Odessa.
Allegations made against the task force of financial
improprieties were cited by Bush's office for refusing to
fund the agency for fiscal 1999, and the state then proposed
setting up a new task force, run by the Department of Public
Several other area counties have gone with the task force
organized by the DPS, while other area law enforcement
agencies wanted to maintain local control of the task force,
which Reeves County then offered to host. The two task
forces have said they will cooperate in working to combat
drugs being transported through the Permian Basin.
The task force would cover nine-counties in the Permian
Basin-Trans Pecos region and would be headquarters in Pecos,
with sheriff Andy Gomez named as the project director.
A board of directors made up of sheriffs and police chiefs
of participating agencies will be formed and another
committee made up of community members and leaders will be
on an advisory board, according to police chief Clay
"This will also create some jobs in the community," said
Through a grant the task force would be fully funded until
May 31, 1999 and will server over 180,000 people. There will
be 15 officers on the force covering the nine counties.
Counties involved include Reeves, Ward, Loving, Winkler,
Jeff Davis, Presidio, Culberson, Midland and Andrews.
"We hope to take more drugs off the street of Pecos and we
will still have the local city task force," said McKinney.
The primary goal of the force is to fill in the gap in
curtailing the flow of drugs along the interstate highways
through the areas served by the task force, and to provide
undercover operations to the local agencies participating in
the new group.
The task force will actively pursue forfeiture of the drug
dealer's assets, but primarily as a tool to reduce the drug
City council members praised McKinney, Gomez and Reynolds
for their efforts in actively pursuing the grant.
"We really appreciate you taking the initiative in this
project," said council member Randy Graham.
In other action, council members discussed the year 2000
computer situation (Y2K) and whether it would pose any
problems at the water field. Some older computers that use
just two digits to figure the year are expected to shut down
when January 1, 200 arrives.
"Richard Crider had some questions about this and I thought
we could discuss it a little bit," said Town of Pecos City
Mayor Dot Stafford.
"Do we have a backup or will the water field shut down and
the city be without water?" asked Crider.
"We have generators that will pick up if the water field
does go off because of lack of electricity," said water
superintendent Octavio Garcia.
He said the generators are tested every Monday and that the
water field's computer is not on a date basis, and will not
be affected in the year 2000.
"It shouldn't affect it because it's on a time-basis," said
financial director Steve McCormick.
Garcia stated that the generators have enough fuel to last
for three days, but they won't let it run out of fuel and
that should take care of the city's problems, should any
arise because of the millennium bug.
Mya Surratt, with Texas-New Mexico Power Company stated that
the company is taking extensive measure to prepare for
millennium bug and that she has been speaking to other
entities about this bug and has a lot of information on it.
A request from Meals on Wheels was approved. The city has
allotted $1,500 for the program, which serves meals to the
elderly and homebound.
"I think its a very important project in the community,"
An item on Pecos Police procedures, and concerning reports
of a lack of police protection at the Oct. 3 Fall Fair
concert, was tabled, along with a community recreational
interlocal agreement with other governmental entities.
Jurors convict Holguin in drug trial
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Federal court jurors on Thursday convicted Hector
Holguin-Aguirre of Camargo, Chih., Mex. on six counts of
conspiracy, drug smuggling and money laundering as part of
the Raul Gardea-Luna organization.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Blankinship called 22
prosecution witnesses to draw a detailed picture for the
jury of the enterprise that smuggled marijuana, cocaine and
heroin from Mexico into the United States over the past four
Many of the 18 defendants have pleaded guilty and will be
sentenced on Nov. 2.
Five witnesses appeared for the defense, including the
defendant, who was represented by Patrick Bramlett.
Carmen Rios, who made a plea bargain agreement with the
government for a reduced sentence, testified that she picked
up a load of marijuana for Raul Gardea's brother, Jose
Gardea, in Ojinaga, Mex. in October, 1996.
Hector Holguin and several other men were at the Dominga
Gardea residence in Ojinaga where the marijuana was loaded
into her truck, Rios testified. And Rios said she gave
Holguin $500 that Jose Gardea sent with her to pay for the
"I pulled the truck in to the gate. I was sitting outside
talking to Luisa (Orosco), and Hector and his friends said
they would have the truck ready in a little while," Rios
The next day, Rios and Orosco delivered the load of
marijuana to the home of Norma Ocon in Odessa, and Jose
Gardea paid her $2,000 for transporting the load, Rios said.
Holguin conducted smuggling/trafficking activities in the
United States and collected money from Gracielo
Gardea-Carrasco and Raul Gardea-Luna for drug debts,
Mario Tinajero, a Department of Public Safety narcotics
officer from Midland, testified that Gracielo
Gardea-Carrasco is the father of Raul and Jose Gardea.
Tinajero said he worked under cover to investigate the
smuggling ring and interpreted telephone conversations
between the Gardeas and their contacts - among them a man
called "Torin," identified as Hector Holguin.
One of the conversations recorded by a government wiretap on
Raul Gardea's cellular telephone involved marijuana plants
grown by a Mexican citizen called Don Antonio, Tinajero
said. Others concerned arrangements to transport marijuana
from Mexico to the Midland-Odessa area and to Denver, Colo.
The jury verdict closed Senior Judge Lucius Bunton's docket
for the week, which included several guilty pleas and about
Sentenced, in addition to those reported Wednesday, were:
* Luis Exiquio Carrillo, transporting illegal aliens, 41
months in prison;
* Orlando Valero, interstate transportation of stolen
property, five years probation;
* Jose Orona-Casdillo, 25, of Dennison, misprison of a
felony (failure to report marijuana possession), five months
* Jorge Zubia-Dominguez, 19, of Ojinaga, Mex., import and
possess marijuana for distribution, six months on each
* Leonard Olen Shackelford, 63, of Mesa, Ariz., misprison of
a felony (failure to report marijuana possession), six
months in prison;
* Jose Jaime Cruz, 42, conspiracy of foreign transport
stolen goods, 60 days in prison and restitution of
$20,360.01 to the United Export Trading Association;
* Sylvia Molina, 33, of Hobbs, N.M., importing and
possessing marijuana, 12 months plus one day on each count,
concurrent, plus $300 fine.
* Antonio Medrano-Gandara, 23, Ojinaga,Mex., possession of
marijuana for distribution, 37 months in prison;
* Jose Antonio Lara-Flores, 24, of Camargo, Mex., illegal
entry after deportation, six months;
* Armando Medrano-Rodriguez, 23, of Mesquite, 18 months and
a $1,200 fine for receiving and possessing an unregistered
firearm on June 8. The offense was incorrectly listed
Wednesday as marijuana possession.
Jurors return kidnap indictment
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Reeves County grand jurors on Thursday indicted four
persons, including one for aggravated kidnapping and another
in connection with an alleged drive-by shooting.
Juan Daniel Sanchez, 32, allegedly abducted a woman on Sept.
5 with intent to violate and sexually abuse her, threatening
to kill her with a handgun. His bail is $100,000.
Ruben Martinez, 19, is charged with deadly conduct. He
allegedly discharged a firearm at and in the direction of a
habitation on Sept. 7 and was reckless as to whether the
habitation was occupied.
The habitation was apparently occupied, because of its
condition, personal property at the location, and persons
present in the residence, the indictment alleges.
His bail is $10,000.
Also indicted were Justan Gerald Smoot, 41, on a charge of
felony driving while intoxicated. Prior convictions were
June 4, 1990 and June 11, 1994, the indictment alleges. His
bail is $5,000.
Ismael Saldana, 20, is charged with unauthorized use of a
motor vehicle owned by Randy Ramirez. His bail is $10,000.
Juvenile offenses in schools decline
By ROSIE FLORES
Twenty-one juveniles were detained at the Reeves County
Juvenile Center during the month of September, according to
the juvenile report provided by the Reeves County Juvenile
"We've stepped up curfew violations and have more MIP's
(minors in possession) that we have processed," Pecos Police
Chief Clay McKinney told city council members during
Six of the juveniles detained were from out-of-county, and
four detention hearings were held.
There are currently 19 juveniles on probation and three
currently held on courtesy supervision.
There were 12 informal conference adjustments probation; two
juveniles pending placement in setting out-of-the home and
five monies paid for restitution.
Out of the total, 11 of the cases were referred by Pecos
Police Department; six by the Reeves County Sheriff's
Department; three by the schools; one by the parents and one
by municipal court.
"I think having Hilda (Woods) in the schools is a great
idea," said Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford.
"It sure has been helping us out a lot and the number of
school violators has decreased," said city council member
and Pecos High School Principal Danny Rodriguez. "There at
the beginning of school we had a few incidents, but that has
diminished quite a big."
"We're planning on trying to get her an office, right now
she is sharing her office with the aide," said Rodriguez.
"We just have a lot of compliments for her, she's doing a
In all the referrals there was just one case of failure to
attend school. Three others were for violation of juvenile
court order; one juvenile for crisis intervention; two with
prohibited weapons; three runaways; one for deadly conduct,
discharging firearm; one for possession-delivery drug
paraphernalia; three for unlawful carrying weapon; one
assault causing bodily injury; one criminal trespass; three
for disorderly conduct and one for terroristic threat.
Of these 22 referrals, 16 were male and six were female.
Floods move southeast as toll rises
By PAULINE ARRILLAGA
Associated Press Writer
WHARTON -- It took water covering her front steps and a
friend's relentless coaxing to get 94-year-old Ira Mae
Anderson out of the single-story wood frame house she has
called home most her life.
For hours she waved off rescuers who came by airboat through
waist-high floodwaters to ferry her to safety, refusing to
even let them inside.
``God bless you,'' Ms. Anderson, weighing all of 75 pounds,
said sweetly from her bedroom window, ``but I couldn't be
more comfortable than at home.''
After finally arriving on dry ground in a pink-flowered
night dress, Ms. Anderson explained that she'd been through
floods before. This, she had come to realize, was different.
``I'm used to being alone,'' she said. ``But I'm tired of
The floods of '98 are indeed different and will be
remembered as such in the history books, for the
record-setting river levels, the more than $400 million in
destruction and for the 29 people who have died so far.
They will be remembered, too, for the five young children
whose lives they stole, including 2-month-old Mallory
Hartman, a brown-eyed baby who drowned in a creek alongside
her mother, Jennifer Allensworth, and two other relatives.
The foursome were headed back to San Antonio after attending
a wedding Saturday when their car was washed away. As the
vehicle was pulled from the creek bed Thursday, Justin
Hartman -- Mallory's father and Ms. Allensworth's fiance --
``That's all he had, Jennifer and his baby. It was
everything to him,'' said Tanya Griffin, Mallory's
Also found Thursday in Caldwell County, south of Austin, was
7-year-old Devon McCoy. He was in a Chevrolet Suburban when
it was swept off a county road last weekend. Ten-year-old
Heather Cottle was in the car with him. Her body was found
earlier this week.
Even as the gruesome searches continued, cleanup was under
way for thousands of people forced to evacuate earlier this
week in river towns across central Texas.
Twenty counties have been declared federal disaster areas,
and Gov. George W. Bush asked the Federal Emergency
Management Agency to add five more to the list. FEMA
Director James Lee Witt said those counties -- Austin, Fort
Bend, Harris, Montgomery and Waller -- would be added later
today. More than 1,300 applications for aid already have
Bush and Witt flew over hard-hit Victoria and Cuero this
morning and planned to tour the flood-ravaged streets on
``My heart goes out to the people whose lives are
affected,'' Bush said today. ``But there is a brighter day
The floodwaters, meanwhile, raged on in Wharton, where the
Colorado River crested at 48.5 feet early this morning. The
record of 46.1 feet, set in December 1991, already had been
City officials said as many as 800 homes could be damaged
and at least 1,500 people were forced to evacuate.
The only good news in this town about an hour southwest of
Houston was that the river initially was expected to crest
at 49 feet. The bad news, warned Mayor Joel Williams, is
that the water could fall as slowly as it is rising.
``Shut your house down, take what's really important to you
and go have a nice day somewhere else.''
Dump site rejected by TNRCC
By EDUARDO MONTES
Associated Press Writer
BSIERRA BLANCA -- The chilly wind blowing across this tiny
West Texas hamlet could not begin to touch the warmth
spreading through Gloria Addington's heart.
Nothing seemed capable of dampening Ms. Addington's spirits
Thursday once state regulators rejected a license for the
radioactive dump she had fought so hard to keep out of
``I am so happy. I don't know how to say it. I feel like a
big weight has been lifted off us,'' Ms. Addington said as a
handful of well-wishers congregated in her general store to
bask in the news.
The community has been divided since state officials decided
six years ago that Sierra Blanca was the place to bury
radioactive waste from Texas' utilities, hospitals and
Those like Ms. Addington, who feared the potential for
contamination, were pitted against residents who saw the
dump as a potential economic boon for the struggling town
120 miles southwest of Pecos.
Mexican officials had also complained since Sierra Blanca is
less than 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The debate was rendered moot as the three-member Texas
Natural Resource Conservation Commission voted unanimously
to deny a permit.
TNRCC Chairman Barry McBee said he and other commissioners
were concerned the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Disposal Authority, which would have operated the dump,
didn't thoroughly investigate a geologic fault line beneath
There is not ``truly a complete and sufficient picture of
this facility and how for example it will perform,'' he
The commissioners also said they were concerned more was not
done to study the socioeconomic impact the facility would
have on the poor and mostly Hispanic area, including how the
residents in the town of 700 perceive it.
Disposal authority attorney Doug Caroom declined to comment
after the commissioners announced their decision. He had
said the fault line was harmless and inactive for millions
He did indicate the authority would consider seeking another
hearing. The agency has 20 days to request one and if that
is denied could go to court to request the TNRCC's decision
The process of finding a new site could begin again as well,
said Geoff Connor, general counsel for the TNRCC.
Texas also is left as the designated host for radioactive
waste from Maine and Vermont under a compact authorized by
Congress this year. The deal never specified a site.
While officials sort that out, residents of Sierra Blanca
have time to celebrate, or in some cases, lament, what has
As the dump host, the town and surrounding Hudspeth County
had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state
for public works. The money helped the county fund the
construction of a park, a medical clinic and a library,
among other things.
County Commissioner Wayne West, who had expressed qualified
support for the dump, said Sierra Blanca would not have to
give up what it has gained.
``I think the county commissioners have made the right
decision by investing these monies wisely,'' West said.
``Life goes on. Sooner or later, the goose that lays the
golden egg is gonna die.''
Erma Pearce Therrell Leigh, 90, of Groesbeck, died Tuesday,
Oct. 19, 1998, in Groesbeck.
Services were held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, in the Groesbeck
Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Robert Herzig officiating.
Burial was in the Faulkenberry Cemetery.
She was born Nov. 6, 1907, in Kirk, was a housewife and a
member of the First United Methodist Church in Groesbeck.
She had attended Trinity University at Tenaucana.
She is preceded in death by two husbands, Allen D. Therrell
on Nov. 26, 1956 and William Frederick Leigh on June 3, 1977.
Survivors include a nephew and a great nephew.
George "Chochi" A. Holguin, 57, died Thursday, Oct. 22, 1998
at his residence.
A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25, at the
Pecos Funeral Home Chapel.
Services will be held at 3 p.m., Monday, Oct. 26, at St.
Catherine Catholic Church with Father Miguel Alcuino
officiating. Burial will be in Mount Evergreen Cemetery.
He was born Aug. 3, 1941, in Pecos, was an energy technician
for Texas-New Mexico Power Company and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife, Gloria Holguin of Pecos; one
son, Edward J. Holguin of Galveston; three daughters,
Barbara J. Holguin of Midland, Imelda H. Williams and
Rebecca H. Dominguez of Pecos; five sisters, Eva Ornelas of
Pecos, Ignacia Garcia of Barstow, Paulina Barrera of
Levelland, Petra Vasquez of Barstow and Erlinda Garza of
Portales, N.M. and three grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
High Thursday 59. Low last night 50. Tonight, partly cloudy.
Low in the upper 40s. South wind 5-10 mph. Saturday, partly
cloudy. High in the lower 70s. South wind 5-15 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