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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Thursday, August 5, 1999

Traffic stop nets task force  marijuana bust

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- A "Highway Interdiction Exercise" conducted by the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force on Wednesday landed a father and son in Reeves County Jail facing drug charges.

Officers with the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, Reeves County Sheriff's Department and the Jeff Davis County Sheriff's Department, conducted a highway interdiction exercise in the Balmorhea area on Wednesday, according to Task Force Commander Gary Richards, during which they discovered over a pound of marijuana in a pickup.

Felix Rivera, Sr., 67, and Felix Rivera, Jr., 42, were arrested when found in possession of marijuana after being stopped on a traffic stop east of Balmorhea on Highway 17.

A brick of marijuana was found in a concealed area in the Riveras' vehicle, according to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez. "They also had over $1,000 in cash believed to be used in drug trafficking," in the hidden area, he added.

"We did a routine traffic stop, they looked suspicious and officers requested to search the vehicle," said Richards. "During their search they located the drugs and money."

The vehicle was traveling through Reeves County on the way to Fort Davis.

Both were charged with possession of marijuana, with intent to distribute and transferred to Reeves County Jail. Bond was set at $10,000 for each by Justice of the Peace Rosendo Carrasco. Felix Rivera, Sr. lists his address as Fort Davis, while his son lists his address in Odessa.

"We plan to do more of these exercises in the future, this was the first of many to come," Richards said. "This is part of our normal operations and it proved successful."

"This was team work and we're very proud of the efforts displayed by the officers," said Gomez.

The Trans Pecos Drug Task Force is a newly formed Drug Task Force covering eight West Texas counties, under the direction of Gomez.

Air Force deal won't halt bomber flights

From Staff and Wire Reports

An agreement by the U.S. Air Force to withdraw a proposal for low-level training flights out of New Mexico over a large swath of West Texas swill not affect the Air Force's plans to run low level flights out of Dyess Air Force in Abilene and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana that would travel across much of the same area as low as 100 yards off the ground.

The Air Force, as part of a settlement with a group of ranchers, pulled an application pending before the Federal Aviation Administration that would have allowed fighters based at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to fly daily sorties over West Texas.

U.S. and German air force pilots would have been allowed to fly as low as 100 feet.

U.S. District Judge Lucius D. Bunton of Pecos approved the settlement on July 27.

"For the time being, the wolf knocking at the door was shooed away," plaintiffs' attorney Murray Feldman said Wednesday.

But the settlement does not affect the planned bomber flights coming from the east which would loop through the area and includes three electronic scoring sites, two of those in Reeves County near Toyah Lake south of Pecos and in the Alamo area between Pecos and Balmorhea.

Rancher Kaare Remme said he has mixed feelings about the settlement, since the Air Force continues to move forward with their proposal to fly B-1s and B-52s as low as 300 feet in simulated bombing exercises.

Still, Remme, one of the plaintiffs and co-owner of McCoy Land and Cattle Co., considers the settlement a victory.

"This is a very significant battle in a war," he said.

The landowners sued in 1998, contending that noisy, low-altitude flights by combat jets would decrease property values, affect hunting and tourism and endanger horses and cattle. The Air Force has said there is no data to substantiate the ranchers' concerns.

Under the settlement, the Air Force said it would conduct a new environmental analysis and consider at least one alternative route if it decides to pursue a similar proposal in the future.

Air Force Col. Lynn Wheeless, who helped negotiate the deal, said no decisions have been made.

"We'll sit down with the people who need the training and determine what the requirements are and where they can be met, and potentially there could be another proposal resulting from that," he said by telephone from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Low-level training flights help pilots learn to avoid radar-guided and heat-seeking air defense systems, military officials say.

German air force pilots train at Holloman because of a 1990 agreement between President Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl that later was extended by the Clinton administration.
 

Trustees vote to buy out coach's contract

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school board members have tentatively accepted an offer to buy out an employment contract at a special school board meeting held on July 27.

Board member Steve Armstrong made the motion, which was seconded by Brent Shaw. Personnel was discussed behind closed doors. In open session, Armstrong said, "I make a motion that the Board of Trustees accept the offer to buy out the employment contract of Mr. Mike Sadler under the terms discussed in closed session. I further move that the board president be authorized to execute the necessary agreements."

Sadler, Pecos High School's varsity boys basketball coach. was suspended by the school board in July, following his arrest in late June by Pecos police for possession of cocaine. The case is still pending at this time.

Board members Kokie Apolinar and Freddy Lujan along with board president Earl Bates voted yes to the agreement. Sadler's mother, board member Billie Sadler, abstained from voting.

The item may once again be discussed during the regular school board meeting scheduled for Aug. 12.

Schools set early signup

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- Early registration is being held at six of Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools next week, while Orientation for seniors and juniors at Pecos High School was held Wednesday.

Sophomore and freshman orientation was held today, with the sophomores meeting at 10 a.m. and freshmen at 1 p.m. Pecos High School principal Danny Rodriguez and staff went over the handbook, handed out schedules and locker combinations.

Students who did not show up for orientation yesterday or today are encouraged to go to the PHS counselor's office and pick up their schedules as soon as possible, in order to avoid confusion once school begins.

Other schools have schedule their early registration periods for next week, with the start of classes set for Aug. 16.

Pecos Elementary will be having early registration next Tuesday for students who will be attending third grade. For students with their last names beginning with an "A" through "M", early registration will be held from 5-6 p.m. Students with last names beginning with a "N" through "Z" will register from 6-7 p.m.

New students to the district need to bring their birth certificates, social security cards and immunization records. Those already in the district don't need to bring anything at this time.

Early registration for fourth and fifth graders who will be attending Bessie Haynes Elementary School will be from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12. New students in the district need to bring their birth certificates, social security card, grades from previous school attended and immunization records.

Lamar Middle School students, sixth graders, will have orientation from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 12, in the school cafeteria. Students are encouraged to come and meet new principal Victor Tarin, while teachers will also be on hand for parents to meet and visit with before the start of the new school year.

New students to the district need to bring their social security cards, birth certificate and current immunization records.

Zavala Middle School, for all seventh grade students, will be handing out schedules on Thursday, Aug. 12. Students whose last names start with an "A" through "D" will pick up their schedules at 9 a.m.; students whose last names start with an "E" through "G" at 10 a.m.; "H" through "L" at 11 a.m.; "M" through "O" at 1 p.m.; "P" through "R" at 2 p.m. and students whose last names begin with an "S" through "Z" can pick up their schedules at 3 p.m. on that day.

First and second grade students who will be attending Austin Elementary School can register early from 6-8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 13. Parents need to bring their child, birth certificate, shot records and report card from last school attended. "And a big smiley face," said principal Beau Jack Hendricks.

Crockett Middle School, all eighth grade students, can pick up their schedules Friday, Aug. 13.

Water Camp earns district second award

By SMOKEY BRIGGS
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- The Upper Pecos Soil and Water Conservation District  has won the Texas Environmental Excellence Award for the second year in a row.

Two such awards are given each year by the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, according to Barney Lee, conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, assisting the District.

"Both awards (1998 and 1999) were for the district's water camp," Lee said.

The 4-H Water Camp is a special project of the district, in which up to 32 high-school-age youngsters attend a week long camp concerned with water quality and use, Lee said.

"Over the course of the week, the kids really get an education in water," Lee said.

Activities at the camp include field trips to industrial water consumers, agricultural users and municipal users.

"By the time the week is over they've got a pretty good understanding of how water gets used and the best ways we know of to conserve it," he said.

The kids also get to have some fun.

"One day we take them to the pool at Balmorhea and have a picnic," Lee said. "We also have a water hog contest. Usually the boys compete against the girls to see who can use the least amount of water."

Lee said that the boys usually win that contest.

Tuition for the camp is $250.

"Mostly, water conservation districts across the state sponsor kids to come to the camp. Our district sponsors two children each year, but we try to make sure that as many kids who want to go can. If more than two kids from our district want to go, and there is room, we'll find a way for them to attend."

Lee said that any boys or girls who would like to attend next year's camp should contact their local county extension agent or their local soil and water conservation district.

The UPSWCD and the Texas A&M Extension Service were the charter founders of the camp, Lee said.

The camp is then put on with help from municipalities, industry, chemical companies, and other state and local agencies supplying speakers, programs and field trips, he said.

Jury hears more testimony about drug ring

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- Despite his claim of jailhouse threats against his life, James Earl Luna, 28, of Grand Prairie and Odessa testified this morning against his co-defendants in a drug smuggling ring.

Luna told a federal court jury that Oscar Javier Nino recruited him in 1996 to transport marijuana from Texas to Atlanta, Ga.

Nino, 33, and his first wife, Lourdes Alarcon Nino, 35, are among 21 defendants named in an indictment charging conspiracy, marijuana smuggling and money laundering.

Lourdes Nino and Oscar Rodriguez-Palma entered guilty pleas rather than face trial. Remaining defendants are Martin A. Alarcon, Eberto Murrillo Herrera, Rosa A. Rodriguez and Vicente Sanchez.

Luna said he transported five of six loads of marijuana per week from June, 1996 until his arrest in Louisiana Feb. 19, 1998 and was paid $3,000 per trip.

Martin Alarcon helped transfer the marijuana from one vehicle to another for transportation, and his wife, Rosa A. Rodriguez, was present, Luna said. Some of the loads were delivered to Herrera in Atlanta, Ga.

Reyes Enciso-Figueroa, 41, of Atlanta, Ga., was another buyer, Luna said. Enciso's common-law wife, Guadalupe Belmares-Coronado, 20, preceded Luna to the stand this morning.

Belmares said she also transported marijuana for the organization. Her testimony that Enciso-Figueroa and Murrillo-Herrera bragged about being big drug dealers caused a stir among defense attorneys.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McHugh said that his long witness list may force the trial to continue past Friday.

District Judge Royal Furgeson said that a visiting judge will hold several trials here next week, and it may be necessary to hold court Saturday and Sunday.
 

Judge delivers illegal entry, drug sentences

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- Sergio Najera-Flores, 35, of Juarez, Mexico, will spend the next 10 years in jail, thanks to his conviction for importing marijuana into the United States.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson sentenced Najera this week, along with numerous others involved in drug smuggling and immigration violations.

Kenneth Arreola Ramos, 22, of Presidio, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Molly Irene Callahan, 18, of Odessa, will serve eight months for marijuana possession.

Luis Javier Juarez, 18, of Liberal, Kan., was sentenced to 15 months on each count of conspiracy to possess and possession of marijuana, to be served concurrently.

Patricia Anzures, 25, of Odessa, received 33 months for possession of more than 50 kilograms of marijuana for distribution.

Mikko Shauni Brooks, 23, of Long Beach, Calif., was sentenced to 57 months for possession of marijuana.

Cesar Garcia Urrutia, 22, will serve six months for making a false claim to citizenship.

Ricardo Gonzalez, 51, of Colorado City, was sentenced to 12 months plus one day for importing marijuana.

Daniel Morales Flores, 20, of Fort Stockton, was sentenced to 46 months for possession of marijuana.

Alfonso Bueno Urias, 31, of Ojinaga, Mex., received 27 months, concurrent, for conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Gracie Galindo Ramirez, 32, of Odessa will serve 12 months plus one day for importing marijuana.

Josephine Ortega Soto, 21, of Odessa, received 21 months for importing marijuana.

Sabina Hernandez de Pando pleaded guilty to misprison of a felony (failure to report a violation).

Stockton owners sell Coke franchise

The area's longtime Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper distributor has sold out to the nation's largest soft drink distributor, it was announced Wednesday.

Big Bend Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Fort Stockton has signed a letter of intent for the franchise to be purchased by Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., out of Atlanta, Ga. Owners Rob and Mike Dunagan said the letter was signed on Tuesday, and the transition period will occur without interruption of delivery or sales.

The Dunagan family had owned the area's Coca-Cola distributorship for the past 78 years. Coca-Cola Enterprises already owns franchises in North American serving 78 percent of the population and employs over 6,500 workers.
 

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) No ticket correctly matched all six numbers drawn Wednesday night for the twice-weekly Lotto Texas game, state lottery officials said. The jackpot was worth an estimated $7 million. The numbers drawn Wednesday night from a field of 50 were: 6, 22, 31, 35, 41 and 45. Saturday night's drawing will be worth an estimated $10 million.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Wednesday by the Texas Lottery, in order:

7-3-7 (seven, three, seven)

Weather

PECOS, Aug. 5, 1999 -- High Wednesday 95; low last night 70. Tonight, partly cloudy. Low 65 70. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Friday, partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. High in the lower 90s. South to southeast wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent. Extended forecast, Friday night, partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Low around 70. Saturday through Monday, mostly sunny days and fair nights. Lows in the lower 70s. Highs in the mid to upper 90s.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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