By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 25, 1996 - The chief foreign legal officer for the
"Republic of Texas" may not recognize federal courts, but he has been
ordered to appear in one on May 2 or pay the consequences.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton signed an order this morning summoning Rick
McLaren of Jeff Davis County to a 9 a.m. hearing May 2 in Pecos to
explain why he should not be held in contempt for violating previous
McLaren summoned Judge Bunton to his court on April 27, along with
numerous others involved in litigation with the paramilitary group.
McLaren and his organization were defendants in a suit filed in the
Pecos Division of federal court by Stewart Title Company to stop the
planned sale of their business by the "Republic of Texas."
When McLaren failed to appear for court, Judge Bunton ruled in Stewart
Title's favor and slapped McLaren with a $1.8 million judgment. He took
under advisement the contempt motion.
The Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch reported in today's edition that
the "Republic of Texas" has issued 20 or more "Notice of Hearing"
letters summoning persons involved in the Stewart Title suit and others
to appear in the "Republic of Texas Milam District Court of Common Law
Pleas in Tarrant County" on April 27.
That is in violation of Judge Bunton's warning not to harass anyone
involved in the case.
The Republic of Texas recently claims to have taken over the State of
Texas - asking the governor and others in office to vacate.
In Austin, concern over those activities put local law officers on
heightened alert for suspicious activity near government buildings.
An internal bulletin from the Travis County sheriff's office, obtained
by the Austin American-Statesman, says that starting today, the Republic
of Texas group plans to come to Austin ``to remove the Internal Revenue
Service and other federal agencies from the land they now consider
McLaren, however, says it is peaceful and has no plans to come to Austin
Members who do ``will be in violation of our laws and international
laws,'' said McLaren, whose Republic title is chief foreign legal
officer. ``It sounds like somebody is feeding crap to the CIA.''
Travis County Sheriff Terry Keel wouldn't comment on details of the
``This is typical of the types of matters we deal with every day in the
sheriff's department,'' he said.
McLaren has been involved in numerous lawsuits in state and federal
courts over the years. Many of his cases have lingered for years in the
83rd Judicial District Court.
Joe Rowe and other members of the Davis Mountain Property Owners
Association, are among those summoned to appear in the Republic's court.
Also summoned are McLaren's cohorts in some of the cases - members of
the Concerned Property Owners.
Davis Mountains Resort residents, county commissioners, and a state
judge are among those summoned for the April 27 hearings.
The "courtroom" is a motel room in Arlington.
Anyone planning to attend the motel proceedings is reminded that the
rules of the court forbid use of licensed attorneys who hold a card with
the Texas or American bar associations.
From staff and wire reports
Friday is circled in red on the calendars of those responsible for
April 19 is a double anniversary.
On that date in 1995, a truck bomb exploded at the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more
than 500 more.
On that date in 1993, nearly 80 men, women and children died in a fire
at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, bringing to an end a 51-day
standoff between members of the religious sect and federal authorities.
The anniversary means security will be tightened a notch at federal
buildings housing such agencies as the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms, the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, said Trinidad
Martinez, Southwest director of the Federal Protective Service.
``Not to the maximum level, but a more heightened level of security,
certainly,'' he said. ``Security officers will be watching a little
Four court security officers in the Lucius D. Bunton III federal
courthouse in Pecos are among those who will be especially alert Friday.
"We have very high security anyway," said Billy K. Johnson, deputy U.S.
Marshal. "We are prepared for anything all the time."
Two court security officers man the metal detector and x-ray machine in
the front lobby, where every visitor is checked. Other entrances are
locked and monitored by video cameras.
Video cameras monitor hallways and secure areas to ensure that no
unauthorized persons can enter without being detected.
Courthouse employees are going about their normal duties this week,
mindful of the bombing anniversary.
Said Richard Haynes, ATF special agent in charge in Houston: ``We remind
all of our employees that this is an anniversary that can prompt hostile
actions by persons antagonistic to the federal government.''
Since the Oklahoma City bombing, the U.S. government has committed about
$110 million to increase security at federal buildings nationwide,
including nearly $10 million in Dallas and Fort Worth. General Services
Administration officials said they expect to spend another $174 million
in the next 20 months, responding to a security review President Clinton
ordered after the explosion.
Security cameras, X-ray inspection and metal detectors have been common
in federal courthouses for years. Within the next few months, they will
be installed in larger federal office buildings, as well, Martinez said.
In downtown Dallas, the lane of traffic closest to the curb has been
cordoned off in front of the Earle Cabell Federal Building since the
Tommy Wittman, ATF assistant special agent in charge in Dallas, said all
back exits to its offices are locked, nearby parking garages are
guarded, and building security officers are alerted to be more watchful.
Security always has been tight at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and
Printing Western Facility in north Fort Worth, the only place that
prints $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills outside of Washington, D.C.
``We have always been an extremely secure facility, so we didn't have to
add security in the past year,'' said Margret Meacham, public affairs
officer at the plant, which has a daily output averaging about 13
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 18, 1996 - Federal grand jurors this morning indicted five
persons on drug charges.
Larry Robinson, 35, of Columbus, Ga., is accused of possession with
intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine on March 23.
Covan Beriod Taylor, 26, of Monroe, La., is charged with possession with
intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base "crack" on March
If convicted, the two defendants could be sentenced to a minimum 10
years in prison, up to $4 million fine and five years supervised release.
Three Mexican citizens, Daniel Vargas-Hermosillo, 37, Jose Carlos Lara,
22, and Euriel Rodriguez-Hernandez, 30, are charged with conspiracy to
import and possess with intent to distribute marijuana on March 20.
If convicted, they could be sentenced to 20 years in prison, a $1
million fine and three years supervised release on each of the four
U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Baker of Alpine accepted the
indictments, as the Pecos magistrate has resigned and moved out of state.
The committee that was appointed to screen applicants for the position
met Monday night in Midland and will have one more meeting.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, April 15, 1996 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton's $1.8 million-plus
judgment this morning against Richard Lance McLaren of Jeff Davis County
and his order to expunge records of a lien on the entire state of Texas
is one victory against "paper terrorism."
McLaren failed to appear for court, having notified the clerk that he
does not recognize the federal court's jurisdiction.
Attorney Michael T. Morgan asked Judge Bunton to also find McLaren in
contempt of court for violating a preliminary injunction ordering him to
stop pursuit of Stewart Title Company in any other forum without Judge
Bunton's permission. He took that under advisement.
Morgan said that McLaren's filings in clerk's offices throughout the
state constitute paper terrorism, and "without injunctive relief, the
pattern of conduct will be repeated in ever-escalating filings. He has
gone from a few thousand dollars to $10 million against Stewart Title to
$60 trillion against Texas."
In using the United States mail to send a lien document on Stewart Title
to Harris County for filing, McLaren violated the RICO statute, Morgan
He asked Judge Bunton to put McLaren's pleadings "in the trash can where
The action came after McLaren filed a lien against Stewart Title as
"Class Demandant," "Chief Ambassador and Consul General of Republic of
Texas," and Upper Limpia Basin Trust, a.k.a. Upper Limited Basin Common
Law Trust, and the purported "Republic of Texas."
He had scheduled an auction sale of the company, which prompted Stewart
Title to seek the injunction to stop the sale. Morgan asked Judge Bunton
to extend his preliminary injunction to today's witnesses, after
testimony indicated a pattern of retaliation against anyone opposing
Lynne Baldwin, owner of Jeff Davis County Abstract, testified that
McLaren attempted to file a lien on the state of Texas in Jeff Davis
County on March 30, but the clerk refused it. However, it was recorded
in Travis County (Austin), she said.
McLaren's filings began with liens against Jeff Davis County
commissioners, and they have escalated through the years, resulting in a
loss of real estate sales in the county, Baldwin said.
Fran Glaze, a Fort Davis real estate broker, said that McLaren's actions
cost her several sales - one as recently as this week.
"When I show property, especially in the Davis Mountain Resort (where
McLaren lives), I disclose to them there are lawsuits pending. In the
past McLaren has approached my customers after I showed them property
and said the title to the land wasn't clear. He said the surveys weren't
good, and the state of Texas owned the property."
McLaren claimed that there was unpatented school land within the
boundaries of the Davis Mountain Resort, she said.
"He said the surveys were off, and everything in the county shifted
eastward," she said.
The filings against Stewart Title would cause her to seek another
insurance underwriter to guarantee the title, she said.
John C. Martin, vice president of Stewart Title Guaranty Co., estimated
his company lost 1 percent of their $4.5 million in business during 1995
because of McLaren's filings.
Representing residents of Davis Mountain Resort, McLaren claimed they
suffered financial loss due to bad title or surveys, environmental
degradation, including bad roads; and costs of litigation. He placed the
value at $10 million in silver, lawful money of the United States or 10
million pieces of silver coin containing 371.25 grains (troy) of fine
To satisfy the lien, McLaren planned to sell all bonds, furniture,
automobiles, lands, real estate, cash, investments, title plants,
electronic data equipment, income and land or buildings in Galveston and
Houston that belong to Stewart Title on Feb. 13.
Martin testified that publicity about McLaren's filings have damaged his
company's reputation because people do not have full knowledge of the
facts of the case.
John Hemphill, a San Angelo attorney, testified he was a victim of
McLaren's claims when he represented a landowner whose ranch adjoins
Davis Mountain Resort.
McLaren filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas. He said he knew
of grievances McLaren field against surveyors involved in the case and
against other attorneys.
"Anything inconsistent with his point of view, he seems to try to
eliminate the opinion by filing grievances," he said.
In addition to damages, Judge Bunton awarded expenses and attorney fees
of $28,500 to the plaintiff.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
District Judge Royal Furgeson this morning added 27 months to the
federal prison sentence of Ismael Chavez-Romero, who escaped from the
Reeves County Detention Center.
The sentence is the minimum allowed under the federal sentencing
guidelines for Chavez's offense and criminal history category. The
maximum is 33 months.
Judge Furgeson made the sentence consecutive with the one that Chavez
was serving when he escaped. That conviction was in the Alaska Division.
"He wants the court to understand he knows he made a mistake," said
Chavez's attorney, Scott Johnson. "It will not happen again. He was
homesick for his family in Mexico. He travels around a lot, even into
Canada. He was trying to get down south. Nobody was threatened or
injured. He would ask the court for the minimum sentence."
Chavez said he knows the violated the laws many times, coming into the
United States illegally, and in other ways. "I will not do it again, and
I have repented," he said.
Judge Furgeson granted his request to recommend he be sent to federal
prison in El Reno, Okla.
Pedro Grajeda of El Paso also gained Judge Furgeson's sympathy and the
minimum sentence of 37 months in prison for possession with intent to
distribute over 40 kilograms of marijuana.
His attorney, Luis Islas of El Paso, argued for and won a decrease in
the sentence for Grajeda's acceptance of responsibility for his actions,
despite objection by probation officer Tom Durham.
Durham said that Grajeda, aka Arturo Enrique Aguilar, lied about his
true identity throughout the interview. It was only after Grajeda was
arrested on state charges while free on bond that his true identity was
Judge Furgeson denied Islas' motions to lower the amount of marijuana
alleged in the indictment and a decrease in Chavez's criminal history
rating, both of which would have lowered his sentence.
Grajeda said he was delivering the marijuana to make money after losing
his job. His wife and two children were in the courtroom during the
He admitted having problems with alcohol and cocaine addiction and said
he would get help by attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
Judge Furgeson made attendance at AA and Narcotics Anonymous meeting
part of his recommendation for Grajada's treatment while in prison,
along with literacy and training programs.
He recommended incarceration at the Federal Correctional Institute at
Biggs Airfield or at La Tuna federal prison near El Paso, where
Grajada's family can visit him.
Also sentenced this morning was Javier Garcia-Quintana, who received a
39-month prison sentence with three years supervised release; and Rafael
Lara-Martinez, four months for misdemeanor possession of a false alien
registration receipt card.
Guyildy pleas were entered by Ricardo Orlando Garcia-Rosales and
PECOS, April 15, 1996 - Two federal judges will hold hearings in the
Pecos Division courthouse this week.
District Judge Royal Furgeson has three pleas and three sentencings set
for Wednesday morning, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
On Thursday, Senior Judge Lucius Bunton will hold a permanent injunction
hearing on the sale of Stewart Title Company at 9 a.m.
Richard Lance McLaren of Fort Davis, a self-proclaimed "Class
Demandant," "Chief Ambassador and Consul General of Republic of Texas,"
seeks to sell Stewart Title Company at auction, and Judge Bunton earlier
signed an order Feb. 20 temporarily halting the sale.
Judge Bunton granted the plaintiff's request to issue the TRO without
notice. Plaintiff's allege in the petition that the purported "Republic
of Texas" is a para-military "militia," and a visitor to McLaren's rural
property in Jeff Davis County might be in extreme danger.
Also on the docket are two sentencings.
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