Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, January 6, 1999
Phone crews cut Cedar Street water line
By ROSIE FLORES
Weary travelers, Wal-Mart employees and gas station workers along South
Cedar Street had to do without one of life's most precious commodities
all night and at least for part of today.
Water was unavailable to Quality Inn, Motel 6, Interstate Texaco, I-20
Exxon, Wal-Mart and Hector's Wrecker Service due to a water line that was
damaged both Tuesday afternoon and later that night by telephone line installers.
"Craig Enterprise construction company was out here laying out some
lines, when they struck and broke one of our water lines," said Town of
Pecos City Water Superintendent Octavio Garcia.
The first time they broke the line, water and sewer employees fixed
the break right away, according to Garcia.
"But then they broke it in another place and we again came out here
and repaired it," said Garcia.
After employees fixed it the first few times they noticed it was leaking
in other places where the line installers had damaged it.
"It was broken in about four or possibly five places," said Garcia.
Employees with the water and sewer department worked all night in trying
to repair the eight-inch line. "We'll have to replace about 80 feet of
it with eight-inch PVC line," said foreman Ray Orona.
Orona explained that the repairs are being made starting with the first
part of the line that was broken. The repairs extend all the way past Wal-Mart,
in the 1900 block of South Cedar Street, and towards Interstate 20.
"I wish I could tell these people when they will have water again, but
all we can tell them at this point is that we're working as fast as we
can," said Orona.
The first call city employees received that the contractors had broken
a line was at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. "We fixed that one and then at 2:30
p.m. we received the second call," said Garcia.
Employees were on the job at the same location again at 7 p.m. and then
at 10:30 p.m. last night. "We've been here all night trying to repair the
damage," said Garcia.
Garcia explained that the "fiasco" is not the city's fault, but that
employees have been working diligently in fixing the problem. "We have
enough materials to fix this, but I'm hoping nothing else comes up, because
we don't want to run short of materials," he said.
"There's no telling if we'll find another one," said Orona of the broken
spots in the line.
He is currently overseeing the city crew working on repairing the damage
and said the employees have been very good about being on the job all night
and into the morning on this problem. "We want to fix this right away,
so that all these businesses can receive water," said Orona.
Sam Patel, owner of Quality Inn, said he had some angry guests, but
most overall understood the situation. "We've had some understanding people,
but then you get these guests that think you're God and everything should
be perfect," said Patel.
"I do want to say that as soon as I called the city, they were out here
right away," said Patel. "They've been just great about it, working all
night and doing everything they can to fix it right away."
"I'm just grateful that they were so nice about it and I understand
that it's a problem that was out of their control," Patel said.
On the other hand, Lupe Davis, manager of Motel 6, stated that they
have lost a lot of revenue because of the problem. "We didn't know until
late last night and we've had a lot of unhappy guests," said Davis.
"I just wish they would have told me we weren't going to have any water
at all, so that I could alert the guests, as it is they were very upset,"
Davis said the motel had about 48 guests last night and they lost about
half of them due to the problem. "If we would've known earlier about the
problem, we could have prepared for it," she said. "Now I'm just hoping
they fix it, we need to bring more guests in today."
Drug task force getting FBI, DEA assistance
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Drug dealers in the Permian Basin may want to lay low this year, with
law enforcement agencies from the city through the federal level working
together to put them behind bars.
One drug task force is already at work in 11 counties, and another is
expected to launch operations this month. Both said they will work with
each other and with non-participating agencies to stop the flow of drugs
through West Texas.
David Bradshaw, commander of the West Texas Narcotics Task Force headquartered
in Midland, said his group includes an FBI agent so they can make arrests
in any county. And he expects to add a DEA agent to the staff. Their expertise
in filing federal court cases is a big help, he said.
Since putting investigators on the street in mid-October, the task force
has taken $680,000 worth of narcotics out of circulation and assisted other
agencies with another $117,000 worth (street value). With 82 active investigations,
they have made 42 arrests and seized five vehicles.
Two interdiction officers work traffic on the highways, while the other
14 officers work either open investigations or under cover.
Interdiction officers stop traffic violators and talk with them to determine
if they may be hauling contraband, Bradshaw said. They also stop to assist
One such assist recently resulted in the seizure of 367 pounds of marijuana
when casual conversation with the driver aroused the officer's suspicion,
"In training, especially with interdiction, you use common sense and
logic," Bradshaw said. "You ask a general question and see if the answer
Bradshaw said the task force will use reverse sting drug deals to catch
crooks if the opportunity arises.
"When it comes to dealing with drug dealers, you need to throw every
rock you have," he said, and that includes pooling information from all
agencies working on a particular case.
Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez said he agrees, and he expects the
Permian Basin Task Force he will head to work with Bradshaw and any other
agency that needs help.
"We will work with anybody when it comes to narcotics," he said. "The
task force, the DEA — it is not competitive."
Paperwork has gone in for state funding of the new task force that has
eight agencies signed up, Gomez said. "They say maybe by the 15th of January."
Drug dealers and users may want to heed the advice of the late Satchel
Paige: "Don't look back. Something may be gaining on you."
Border Patrol K-9s busy over holidays
Alpine Border Patrol agents seized more than 700 pounds of marijuana over
the holiday season.
In three separate incidents, agents and their K-9s uncovered almost
$600,000 worth of narcotics, said Simon Garza Jr., chief patrol agent for
the Marfa Sector.
"With the recent addition of three more K-9 units to the Alpine station,
narcotics seizures are expected to increase dramatically," said Garza.
The three new K-9s have recently completed training at the National
K-9 Facility in El Paso, where they went through a rigorous program to
become Border Patrol K-9s, Garza said.
Senior instructors selected the dogs for their stable character, perseverance,
drive, courage, confidence and their ability to work under diverse situations.
The dogs were trained for four weeks before the new handlers began training
with them for an additional five weeks.
The Border Patrol uses both German Shepherds and Belgian Malinios, which
are known for their keen abilities. These dogs are usually 2 years old
when they start their training and continue to work for eight to 10 years
Garza said the Border Patrol uses K-9s primarily to search for hidden
people, but with the increased exposure to narcotics along the southern
border, they are trained to find marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines
Marfa Sector alone seized more than 46,000 pounds of marijuana and more
than 500 pounds of cocaine last year, most found after a K-9 alerted to
the presence of narcotics, Garza said.
The sector, which stretches from the Rio Grande to Amarillo, has received
several K-9 units in the past year, and with the increase in funding, will
receive several more.
Feds seeking forefeiture of Suburban
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Gift wrapping wasn't enough to hide a bundle of marijuana from a drug-sniffing
dog at a Border Patrol checkpoint, and the driver of the Suburban transporting
it lost his vehicle, at least temporarily.
Joel M. Verity of Miami, Fla., drove the 1994 GMC Suburban into the
checkpoint four miles west of Sierra Blanca at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 12. While
an agent questioned him about his citizenship, he noticed that K-9 Lyka
alerted to the rear door of the vehicle.
Asked if there was any narcotics in the vehicle, Verity said, "yes,"
and indicated it was in the back seat. Agents found 105.2 pounds of marijuana
in two gift-wrapped packages in the back seat, the forfeiture complaint
Verity was arrested and his vehicle seized. Sheila Eckert of Buffalo,
N.Y. filed a claim to the vehicle, and the government seeks judicial forfeiture
through the Pecos Division of federal court.
High Tuesday 72; low last night 29. Tonight and Thursday, partly cloudy.
Low around 30. High around 70. light southwest wind tonight increasing
to 10-20 mph Thursday.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise