PECOS, June 20, 1996 - Eight Mexican citizens admitted to Senior Judge
Lucius Bunton this morning they used false documents to gain employment
in the United States. He placed them on probation for one year.
All of the defendants were arrested at Anchor West Inc. last week on the
misdemeanor charges. Their families almost filled the courtroom this
morning for the hearing in which all pleaded guilty.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service, which initiated the
investigation, placed a hold on the three women and five men, who face a
"show cause" hearing to determine whether they should be returned to
Named are Anjel Lujan-Gutierrez, Maria Luisa Iniguez-Sandoval, jorge
Luis Quintero-Hernandez, Laura Gabriela Iniguez, Maclen Perez-Zapata,
Jose Villegas-Salcido, Miguej Berumen-Ulloa and Maribel Lujan-Gutierrez.
Scott Johnson represented the first four, and Mimi Smith of Alpine
represented the remainder.
Gustavo Manriquez and Juan Manuel Leija entered guilty pleas to
marijuana possession charges and will be sentenced Aug. 20. They
allegedly worked with the Brito drug ring that is suspected of importing
tons of marijuana into Texas from Mexico and distributing it to other
Pleading not guilty or waiving arraignment were Roxanne Licon, Shane Ray
Horton, Mario Rodriguez-Rivero, Javier Chavez-Molina, Lynna Lee Anderson
and Hugo Felix Marquez-Valverde.
All were indicted by the federal grand jury last week. Anderson, 45, is
charged with robbing the Van Horn State Bank on May 15.
Marquez, 21 is charged with importing and possessing with intent to
Rodriguez-Rivero, 50, is charged with conspiracy to possess and
possession with intent to distribute marijuana on May 24.
Licon, 19, of Coyanosa, is charged with possession with intent to
distribute marijuana on May 11.
Horton, 20, is charged with possession with intent to distribute
marijuana on May 11.
PECOS, June 19, 1996 - A Midland man charged with heading a marijuana
smuggling cartel was hit by troubles from all sides Tuesday after a
detention hearing before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton in the Pecos federal
Judge Bunton ordered Pablo Salinas Brito, 36, held without bail on
numerous charges of drug smuggling and money laundering. He is
considered a flight risk and a danger to the community.
When officers took Brito and his co-defendants to Reeves County Jail
following the hearing, Brito's wife, Evla Hinostroza Brito, 31, and his
reported girlfriend, Cecilia Valdez, 17, got into a fight at the jail.
Both were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Precinct 4
Justice of the Peace Lamberto Herrera fined them $100 each, which they
paid and were released.
Others of the Brito organization ordered held without bail are his
brother, Jesus Salinas Brito, 34, and Carlos Valdez, 26.
Adrian Brito, 37, appeared at the arraignment without a lawyer, and
Judge Bunton appointed Randy Reynolds. His arraignment and detention
hearing are set for 10 a.m. Friday.
Judge Bunton set bail for Adan Brito, 27, Ignacio Berumez Brito, 23,
Louis Franco Lerma, 36, Vicente Adame, 34, Juan Manuel Leija, 29, and
Benjamin Hernandez Rodriguez, 23.
All were named in Thursday's sealed indictment, as was Richard David
Olson, 30, who bonded out the day of his arrest.
Arrested on charges arising out of the investigation but not named in
the indictment are Anita Nayola, wife of Benajmin H. Rodriguez, Javier
Chavez-Molina and Mario Alejandro Rodriguez-Rivero, 50.
Nayola is charged with misprison of a felony - knowing that a felony was
committed but not reporting it to a law enforcement officer.
U.S. Customs agents who filed the complaint said that Nayola accompanied
her husband on numerous trips to Mexico when he drove an escort vehicle
for a load of marijuana.
A confidential informant told the agent he had helped smuggle 11 loads
totaling 2,218 pounds of marijuana for the organization. Nayola went on
many of the trips and knew they were transporting marijuana, he said.
Rodriguez-Rivero and Chavez-Molina are charged with possession with
intent to distribute 1,338 pounds of marijuana on May 24 in Taylor
Customs agents said they intercepted Rodriguez-Rivero with the marijuana
on May 17 west of Lajitas and made a controlled delivery to
Chavez-Molina in Abilene. An undercover officer helped repackage the
marijuana for delivery by tractor-trailer to Michigan, according to the
Chavez and Rodriguez told the undercover officer that they used a
trucking company to transport about 1,000 pounds of marijuana to various
states within the United States every eight days, the complaint alleges.
Midland police narcotics officer Ronald Bryant testified in the
detention hearing that Pablo Brito, Jesus Brito, Adan Brito, Lerma and
Leija are a danger to the community and flight risks.
As leader of the cartel, Pablo Brito is charged with continuing criminal
enterprise, which carries a minimum penalty of 20 years in prison with
no parole. He is also charged with conspiracy to import marijuana,
possession with intent to distribute marijana and employing a juvenile
to possess marijuan for distribution.
Pablo Brito, Adan Brito and Jesus Brito recruited drivers to go to
Mexico and pick up loads of marijuana, and the Brito brothers would
escort the loads to Midland, Bryant said.
From Midland, the loads would go to Lerma's stash house in Merkel, near
Abilene, where they were repackaged and shipped to other states, he said.
Leija was a driver on some of the trips, and Jesus Brito was a driver
supervisor, escort and enforcer for the organization, Bryant said.
Pablo Brito is a resident alien who was deported because he was caught
unlawfully carrying a weapon, Bryant said. He was convicted of illegal
entry in Pecos March 3, 1993, and served four months in federal prison.
His extensive criminal record was entered as evidence.
Jesus Salinas Brito is an illegal alien who admitted to Border Patrol
Agent P.K. Brenner that he is "100 percent wet," Bryant said.
His convictions include burglary of a vheicle, unlawfully carrying a
weapon, theft, failure to identifiy and illegal entry for which he
served five months in prison.
Officers serving the search and arrest warrant where Brito was arrested
found a revolver, Bryant said.
Adan Brito admitted he is an illegal alien whose application for amnesty
was denied. He was also arrested at the house where the revolver was
Lerma's criminal history includes resisting arrest, possession of
marijuana, disorderly conduct, burglary and forgery.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton denied a motion to suppress evidence in a
marijuana possession case Tuesday and found the defendant, Jose
Rodriguez will be sentenced Aug. 20, along with nine other defendants
who entered guilty pleas.
Victor Manuel Sanchez-Rios pleaded guilty to immigration violations.
Admitting possession of mrijuana with intent to distribute were Daniel
Vargas-Hermosillo, Euriel Rodriguez-Hernandez, Carlos Nunez-Terrazas,
Oscar Saenz-Venegas and Peter Bartsch.
Pleading guilty to cocaine possession with intent to distribute were
Covan Taylor and Larry Robinson.
robert Thorne pleaded guilty to violating his probation.
Cruz Soto-Lares was sentenced to eight months in prison for smuggling
Alfredo Ordonez-Perez was sentenced to six months in prison on an
Judge Bunton also is acting as magistrate while that position is vacant.
He set bail at $5,000 for Ray G. Boone, who is charged with driving
while intoxicated in Guadalupe National Park.
Preliminary examinations set for today on eight defendants arrested at
Anchor West Inc. on immigration violations was rescheduled for Monday.
PECOS, June 19, 1996 - Jurors called for service in state and federal
courts this week got a break when four scheduled trials fell through.
The latest was a civil trial that was to have started at 9 a.m. today in
federal court, with Reeves County and its law enforcement center staff
Two of the three African men who filed the suit claiming damages for a
beating they suffered while incarcerated at the LEC on July 19, 1993
failed to appear for court.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton on Monday dismissed Adebayo Yaya him from the
suit, but left the way open for him to re-file.
Plaintiff Olu Akhigbe failed to arrive as expected, leaving only Joshua
Edigen to testify about the alleged beatings.
In light of that and other rulings this morning, attorneys for the
defendants withdrew their previous settlement offer of $30,000.
Judge Bunton reviewed the written settlement offers and counter-offers
and ruled that they are binding contracts. He gave the plaintiffs 29
days to sign a release from all three and ordered the defendants to pay
if and when they receive it.
Calling the jurors in, Judge Bunton told them the trial would be
postponed because two of the plaintiffs were not present, and they would
be notified if and when a new date is scheduled.
The three black men claim they were beaten by about 20 Hispanic inmates
on July 19, 1993, following the "menudo" riot in May and other alleged
beatings of blacks by Hispanic inmates.
Two criminal trials that were scheduled for this week fell through as
well - one before a jury was selected.
In the second, jurors were seated to try Larry Robinson, 35, of
Columbus, Ga. on a charge of possession with intent to distribute
After seeing the jury, Robinson decided to plead guilty. He will be
sentenced August 20, along with several others who entered guilty pleas.
One of the jurors in the Edigen case reported to Judge Bunton that she
was summoned for duty in 143rd District Court this morning. Judge Bunton
arranged for her to be excused from that case, which also fell through.
Attorney Roddy Harrison was ill and unable to be present for the divorce
case, said opposing attorney Randy Reynolds.
Judge Bunton had two arraignments and related hearings set for noon
today and preliminary examinations on Thursday for eight defendants
charged with violating immigration laws.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 18, 1996 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton whipped through a
criminal and civil docket this morning, picking two juries, hearing
eight guilty pleas and one motion to suppress evidence.
Two defendants were to be sentenced at noon.
In the civil case, three former inmates of the Reeves County Law
Enforcement Center are suing Reeves County and numerous detention center
One of the plaintiffs, Adebayo Yaya, is in Africa with his sick mother.
Judge Bunton severed his complaint and dismissed it without prejudice to
Olu Akhigbe, another Nigerian, was in Dallas today but expected to
arrive this afternoon, his attorney said. That trial is set for
The three black men claim they were beaten by about 20 Hispanic inmates
on July 19, 1994.
Testimony was to begin this afternoon in the drug possession case
against Larry Robinson.
Robinson, 35, of Columbus, Ga., is charged with possession with intent
to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine on March 23.
PECOS, June 24, 1996 - A ton of cocaine sitting at the Presidio County
Fairgrounds in a trailer owned by the county sheriff brought down the
sheriff and his cohort in a massive drug-smuggling ring four years ago.
The sheriff, Rick Thompson, is serving a life sentence in federal
prison. His partner, Robert Chambers, apparently made a deal with the
government for a shorter sentence.
Court records on that deal are sealed, and at least one publisher has
been stymied in his efforts to learn the details.
Alpine publisher Jack D. McNamara filed suit in federal court Friday
seeking agency records on the narcotics conspirary that he believes
began in 1986.
McNamara filed a request Oct. 14, 1994 with the U.S. Department of
Justice for all documents concerning the operations and prosecution of
Chambers and Thompson.
Officies maintaining those records would include the U.S. Marshals,
Immigration and Naturalization Service, FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency,
U.S. Attorney's offices and other offices maintaining liaison with other
law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies.
INS did not respond, the FBI and DEA denied on privacy grounds, and the
marshals office reported no records.
McNamara appealed to the co-director of the Office of Information and
Privacy in Wshington D.C. in April, 1995, which was denied.
"Release of material covered by this request would go a long way toward
dispelling public distrust and dissatisfaction at the inability of
federal authorities to enforce the laws of the U.S. over the decade of
Chambers/Thompson activities," McNamara wrote in the appeal.
The blanket and general assertion of privacy is improper, he said.
"These men are convicted felons and Chambers has received a reduction of
his life sentence for cooperation. What cooperation?" he asked.
DEA agents said in a press release after the men were arrested that
Chambers/Thompson smuggled ten tons of marijuana and cocaine from
1986-1991. McNamara wants to know when, where and how that was done.
"It is certain that Chambers in his Mexican actions always claimed he
was an agent of the U.S. Government at one level or another," McNamara
In a synopsis of Chambers' alleged activities, McNamara says Chambers
raided the Ojinaga, Mex. jail and abducted a man accused of rape in
Brewster County, the 1987 raid on a Mexican village that killed druglord
Pablo Acosta, in which Chambers and Thompson allegedly participated -
and which opened the Ojinaga drug routes to Columbian cocaine
Chambers was registered in 1990 as an informant for the U.S. Border
Patrol, while at the same time smuggling tons of narcotics, McNamara
Those records and others concerning federal seizure of Chambers'
property following his arrest are among those McNamara is seeking.
McNamara publishes the NIMBY News and has said he is working on a book
about Chambers and Thompson.
PECOS, June 17, 1996 - Reeves County, its detention center and staff are
once again degendants in a civil damage suit set for jury trial this
week before Senior Judge Lucius Bunton.
Three former inmates of the Reeves County Law Enforcement Center claim
they were severely beaten on July 19, 1993 after warning staff members
that the beating had been planned.
Joshua Edigin, Adebayo Yaya and Olu Akhigbe, natives of Nigeria, said
the beating by 20 Hispanic inmates occurred as they left the outdoor
recreation area and walked inside the 520-bed prison housing federal
Armed with baseball bats and knives, the Hispanic inmates allegedly gave
the black men such a severe beating that two lost a testicle, all had
damaged kneecaps, one suffered a stab wound, one reported a broken
pelvis and two fractured wrists, and all had severe bruising.
Court records indicate that Hispanic-on-black beatings had occurred
previously, and one Hispanic inmate had warned blacks that the July 19
beating was planned.
Edigen, et al claim they told LEC officials about the threat and asked
for protection and transfer to another prison. Nothing was done.
Judge Bunton set docket call and jury selection for 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Eight criminal cases are on the docket, and two of those may go to jury
trial, court sources said today.
Since criminal cases have first priority, the civil suit may have to
wait a day or two for trial.
One case on the criminal docket involves a local defendant, Jeffrey
Allen Lindsay. He is charged with possession with intent to distribute
Two sentencings are set for noon Tuesday.
PECOS, June 14, 1996 - Federal grand jurors on Thursday indicted 10
persons, including Lynne Lee Anderson, 45, on a bank robbery charge.
Anderson allegedly robbed the Van Horn State Bank on May 15.
Charged with importing and possessing marijuana with intent to
distribute are Hugo Felix Marquez-Valverde, 21, on June 5; and Leonardo
E. Cardenas de la Pena, 32, of Anahuac, Mex., on March 30.
Mario Alejandro Rodriguez-Rivero, 50, and Javier Chavez-Molina, 45, are
charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to
distribute marijuana on May 24.
Roxann Licon, 19, of Coyanosa, is charged with possession with intent to
distribute marijuana on May 11.
Shane Ray Horton, 20, is charged with possession with intent to
distribute marijuana on May 11.
Anita Nayola is charged with misprison of a felony. She is one of
numerous defendants alleged to be involved in a drug smuggling ring
operating out of Midland.
Misprison of a felony is knowing about a violation of the law and
failing to report it to a law enforcement officer of judge. Nayola
allegedly traveled with her husband when he transported marijuana from
Mexico to Midland.
Juan Daniel Sanchez-Rios, 30, of Dallas and Victor Manuel Sanchez-Rios
of Ojinaga, Mex. are charged with four counts of transporting illegal
aliens. Victor Manuel is also charged with illegal re-entry after being
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 14, 1996 - Eight employees of Anchor West Inc. were arrested
Thursday in a sweep by Immigration and Naturalization Service agents out
of the El Paso office of investigations.
All admitted being citizens of Mexico and obtaining counterfeit
documents in order to work in the United States, the complaints allege.
Charged with possessing false documents with intent to defraud the U.S.,
all appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathrine Baker at the Pecos
federal courthouse late Thursday.
They are Anjel Lujan-Gutierrez, 22, of Ojinaga, Mex.; Maria Luisa
Iniguez-Sandoval, 25, of Guadalajara, Mex.; Jorge Luis
Quintero-Hernandez, 31, Coahuila, Mex.; Laura Gabriela Iniguez, 23,
Guadalajara, Mex.; Maclen Perez-Zapata, 23, Ojinaga, Mex.;
Jose Villegas-Salcido, 25, Juarez, Mex.; Miguel Berumen-Ulloa, 29,
Guadalajara, Mex.; and Maribel Lujan-Gutierrez, 18, Ojinaga, Mex.
Affidavits attached to the complaints allege the defendants admitted
purchasing the false documents from vendors in Odessa, Brownsville, Los
Angeles, Calif. and other locations.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 18, 1996 - Richard McLaren, "ambassador" and "consul
general" for the purported Republic of Texas, said he filed documents
with the United Nations Monday that automatically makes everyone in the
state a citizen of the independent nation of Texas, rather than the
McLaren visited the federal courthouse in Pecos this morning to report
to pre-trial officers as ordered by Senior Judge Lucius Bunton.
Judge Bunton released McLaren from jail June 7 on a $10,000 bond secured
only by his signature.
His Fort Davis neighbors reported last week that McLaren packed up his
belongings and left for Dallas. They didn't expect him to return any
However, McLaren said today that he returned home to take care of his
farm (he tends a small vineyard). Two Republic of Texas "citizens" from
Midland drove to Fort Davis to pick up their leader for his court
appointment. They waited in the van in the courthouse parking lot.
McLaren said he is touring the state on Republic business, but that it
is no longer necessary to sign up "citizens," because we are all now
citizens of the Republic.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 10, 1996 - District Judge Royal Furgeson was a little put
out with Carlos Herrera-Cerda, who failed to show up sentencing in
federal court this morning.
Judge Furgeson issued a warrant for Herrera's arrest, then sentenced
three defendants who did keep their appointment.
Jorge Margarito Baeza was sentenced to 30 months in prison, four years
supervised release, 100 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine.
Gregorio Tarango-Gonzalez drew 37 months in prison, with La Tuna federal
correctional institute recommended. He will serve three years supervised
release after completing the prison term.
Brett Rolland Poore was sentenced to 32 months to serve, five years
supervised release and 750 hours community service.
Stewart Platt, one of the applicants being interviewed for the
Pecos-Midland/Odessa magistrate position, accompanied Judge Furgeson to
Pecos this morning.
Platt said that he would be allowed to choose which town to live in
should he get the position, so he is getting acquainted with all three.
He is an assistant U.S. attorney who grew up in East Texas.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 10, 1996 - Republic of Texas "ambassador" Richard L. McLaren
" was hoist on his own petard" when he refused legal counsel at his
contempt hearing May 9, Senior Judge Lucius Bunton said Friday in
denying a motion for extension of time to appeal.
However, Judge Bunton released McLaren on $10,000 unsecured bond on his
promise to recognize the court's jurisdiction and to abide by numerous
McLaren had refused to participate in a May 9 contempt hearing because,
he said, federal courts have no jurisdiction in the Republic of Texas.
As ambassador for the Republic, McLaren could participate only as a
diplomat in a political discussion with Bunton, he said.
Judge Bunton found him in contempt of court and ordered him held until
he changed his mind. McLaren appeared Friday with San Antonio attorney
John Fahle, who said members of the Republic hired him.
Following the hearing, McLaren and Republic "citizens" who were present
for court left for Lubbock, where he was scheduled to speak to the
Liberitarian Party Friday night.
Before allowing McLaren to post bond, Judge Bunton required him to
promise to maintain employment (he claims to be a self-employed farmer
and officer of the Republic); stay within the confines of the state of
Texas unless he obtains permission from his pre-trial services
supervisor to travel;
Report regularly to the pre-trial service office; refrain from
possessing a firearm or destructive device ("I have no firearms in my
possession. As a diplomat I can't have them anyway"); post $10,000
unsecured bond; agree not to obtain a passport;
Report all contacts with law enforcement agencies (arrests) within 24
hours; report as directed to proper authorities in Jeff Davis County to
respond to burglary charges; file no documents against the county of
Jeff Davis or any other legally-authorized taxing entity as it relates
to this case;
And abide by terms of a permanent injunction filed April 4 in Stewart
Title Company vs. Richard L. McLaren.
McLaren said that he is not responsible for some of the actions
prohibited in the injunction and that he has no control over other
"citizens" of the Republic who have been filing liens.
"I will agree not to direct them to file liens," he said.
"All right, I will grant the motion and set bond at $10,000, unsecured,"
Judge Bunton said. "If you are not here when I tell you next time, if
you start doing like you did before, I will have the authority to issue
another warrant for your arrest and will put you in jail, and you will
not get another chance."
McLaren said he would abide by those rules, "and we will see what the
appellate court says."
Fahle asked for an extension of time to file an appeal of the contempt
finding, which Stewart Title attorney Mike Morgan opposed.
McLaren is familiar with the law in some ways, but not with the federal
rules of civil procedure, Fahle said.
"Part of the problem is that people in Texas are frustrated with the
entire justice system, and that's why people turn to common law courts,"
"If he is able to take this entire thing up, at least they will have the
satisfaction of having their day in court in the Fifth Circuit, and
there is no reason to take that to a common law court. He has already
said he will abide by whatever the appeals court says."
Morgan said that Stewart Title consented to McLaren's release on bail,
but opposed the time extension, saying he had his 30 days to appeal.
"His style is to refuse those things he doesn't like," Morgan said,
noting his rejection of all notices regarding Stewart Title's suit
"His style is not to play fair. He claims not to know this court
rendered a judgment against him on April 4. Yet (in a letter) he said
Bunton has apparently tried to try this case," Morgan said.
"Now in a request for extension of time, he disclaims knowledge you
tried it. He lives by default judgment. He loves to default people...He
says (to Stewart Title) if you don't tell me why you don't owe me $10
million, then you owe me $10 million.
"It defies logic if a man who lives by default judgment and estoppel
should now be given an extension of time to appeal a judgment he refused
to attend...He said `I am not going to see Bunton until the marshal
grabs me by the elbow and makes me do it.'"
In denying the motion to extend, Judge Bunton said he tried to appoint
McLaren a lawyer at the contempt hearing, but he refused one.
"Had I known, Mr. Fahle, that you understood his position, I would have
appointed you that day."
Fahle said after the hearing that he does not fully understand the legal
ramifications of the statehood question, but intends to research it.
"McLaren believes in it passionately," he said.
McLaren said he would present his stand at the Libertarian Party's
convention in Lubbock Friday night, and he expects them to address the
issue of Texas' independence in their party platform.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 6, 1996 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton will hear two motions
Friday filed by John Fahle, attorney for Richard L. McLaren, who bills
himself as consul general and foreign ambassador for the Republic of
McLaren has been in Midland County Jail since May 9, when Judge Bunton
found him in contempt of court. At that time, he refused legal
Fahle filed a motion to extend the time for appeal of the contempt
finding and for bond pending appeal.
McLaren has been invited to speak at a public forum accompanying the
Libertarian party's convention in Lubbock this weekeng to discuss the
Republic's call for independence.
Republic "citizens" believe the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was
illegal and, therefore, do not recognize Texas statehood.
They have renounced their U.S. citizenship, staged demonstrations,
convened their own "common law" courts and filed hundreds of nuisance
lawsuits and liens.
It was Bunton's order that McLaren and his group stop the filings and
harassing parties to their lawsuits that led to the contempt citation.
As an ambassador of a foreign nation, McLaren said he could not
participate in the contempt hearing because he does not recognize the
United States court's jurisdiction. But he did agree to negotiate as a
What he read was a long, rambling statement about actions the Republic
of Texas has taken in courts of its own creation. One of those acts was
to subpoena Judge Bunton to a "district court" hearing in an Arlington
motel room April 27.
"It just has to cease," Bunton said. "I don't want to jail you for
violation of the court orders. On the other hand, I can't allow you or
anyone else to thumb their nose or to maintain and claim that the
federal court doesn't have jurisdiction in these matters.
"To allow that would be to encourage anarchy so nobody would recognize
any of our departments in the United States government."
Several officials with the Republic of Texas were present for the
hearing. Don Varnell, secretary of plans, powers, constitution and
convention, said, "People are getting to the point where they have no
recourse at law, because the judges will not follow their own law."
He said the Republic of Texas has 10,000 to 50,000 citizens who have
renounced their United States citizenship.
The elected council is composed of 12 members who meet every three weeks
in various locations across the state. The last meeting was in Lufkin,
and the next is set for McAllen.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 18, 1996 - Sitting as a magistrate, Senior Judge Lucius
Bunton this morning ordered Leonardo E. Cardenas-de la Pena held without
bail on charges of importing marijuana.
U.S. Customs officers arrested Cardenas at the Presidio Port of Entry
after he crossed the bridge from Mexico with 266 pounds of suspected
marijuana in his vehicle, the complaint alleges.
Judge Bunton appointed Alpine attorney Anthony Foster to represent
Cardenas and set a detention hearing for Friday.
Larry Robinson, 35, of Columbus, Ga. pleaded guilty to possession with
intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine on March 23.
Following three sentencings at noon, Judge Bunton had arraignment and
detention hearings set for 10 defendants indicted Thursday on drug and
money laundering charges.
Arrests are underway in an undercover drug operation that resulted in 21
sealed indictments returned by the federal grand jury in Pecos Thursday.
U.S. Customs agents said the year-long investigation of the Pablo
Salinas Brito organization resulted in charges of federal drug and money
Vehicles and other property were seized during the arrests.
The organization is linked to arrests made in Arlington and Akron, Ohio
on May 10, Customs agents said.
Most of those indicted Thursday live in the Odessa-Midland area. One,
Louis Franco Lerma, is from Merkel.
Others are Pablo Salinas, Adrina Brito, Jesus Salinas Brito, Adan Brito,
Ignacio Berumez Brito, Angel Miguel Lerma, Richard Lewis Strack, Vicente
Adame, Juan Manuel Leija, Herb Ellwood Groessel, Richard David Olson,
Dean Allen Phillips, David Flores Tovar, Evaristo Cortez Galindo,
Benjamin Hernandez Rodriguez, Oscar Perez Salinas, Carlos Valdez,
Gustavo Manriquez and Manuel Martinez.
Law enforcement agencies assisting in the investigation are U.S.
Customs, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Border Patrol, Midland, Odessa
and Abilene police departments, U.S. Marshal's Service, Texas Department
of Public Safety and the Midland County Sheriff's Department.
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, June 1996 - Pecos was the center of West Texas in 1913, the only
town of any size between Fort Worth, "Where the West Begins," and El
Paso, where Texas ends.
When litigants required a federal court hearing, they had to travel to
El Paso, Fort Worth or San Antonio. It was for their convenience that
the U.S. Congress created the Pecos Division of the Western District of
Texas that year.
But not until a year later, in 1914, did a visiting judge from the
Northern District of Texas ride the Texas & Pacific Railway from Dallas
to Pecos to hold court.
Harry Lee Hudspeth, present chief judge of the Western District, said he
practiced in the old courthouse on the second and third floors of the
Pecos Post Office, both as a lawyer and judge, over the past 32 years.
In dedicating the Lucius Desha Bunton III U.S. Courthouse on March 15,
1996, Judge Hudspeth said, "Prior to opening of this building, we never
actually had a courthouse in Pecos."
Court facilities in the post office had become cramped and outdated, and
a new building was sorely needed, Judge Hudspeth said.
Judge Bunton served as district judge, chief judge and now as senior
judge for the Pecos Division since being appointed to the federal bench
by Jimmy Carter in 1979.
He presides in the new district courtroom for felony criminal cases and
civil litigation. A magistrate courtroom serves for misdemeanor criminal
cases, bond hearings in felony cases and civil suits referred by the
Offices are provided for U.S. Marshals, clerk, prosecutors, pre-trial
services and probation. Court security officers greet all visitors in
U.S. Border Patrol agents stationed in Pecos check businesses for
compliance with federal laws regarding hiring illegal aliens, monitor
federal inmates at the Reeves County Detention Center and receive
illegal aliens upon release.
Other U.S. government offices in Pecos are Farm Service Agency, Natural
Resources Conservation Service, and Army, Navy and Marine Corps
State court is held in the Reeves County Courthouse, occupying the
second floor. Reeves County Court-at-Law and commissioners court convene
on the third floor.
Tax assessor-collector, treasurer, county clerk and administrative judge
officers are on the first floor of the courthouse. Sheriff's office and
jail are immediately behind the courthouse, and annex on Daggett Street
provides office space for other county and state offices. The Reeves
County Detention Center and Reeves County Juvenile Detention Center are
located southwest of the city.
Area headquarters for state offices include the Department of Public
Safety, Department of Human Services and Texas Employment Commission.
The DPS communications staff supervises an area from New Mexico to the
Rio Grande and west almost to El Paso. Highway Patrol and license and
weight troopers work out of the local office.
Local offices of state agencies include the Alcoholic Beverage
Commission, Department of Health, Mental Health/Mental Retardation,
Texas A&M University Agricultural Research Station and Parks and
Bob Parks serves as 143rd District Court Judge, Lee Green is county
court-at-law judge, Jimmy Galindo is county administrative judge, while
Arnulfo `Andy' Gomez is Sheriff of Reeves County.
Town of Pecos City offices are located in City Hall on East Sixth
Street. Adjoining are the offices for the Pecos Police Department (510
S. Oak St.) and the Pecos Municipal Court.
Dot Stafford is mayor, Troy Moore is police chief, and Phyllis Salyer
serves as municipal court judge. Harry Nagel is city manager.
Return to Menu