News July 19, 1996
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Texas, July 19, 1996 - Texas Attorney General Dan Morales is in
danger of being charged with genocide before the international court if
he files criminal charges against Republic of Texas citizens, Richard
McLaren told a group of reporters in front of the federal courthouse in
Morales was granted a temporary injunction by a state district court
judge in Austin on July 9 ordering the Republic to stop filing bogus
liens and other documents in state courts.
"We are still moving in international channels," McLaren said. "They
can't stop us politically."
His remarks came after a hearing in which Senior Judge Lucius Bunton
ordered McLaren to show cause why he should not be put back in jail for
violating terms of his release on a contempt finding.
McLaren had filed papers in Jeff Davis County after Bunton told him not
to, and threatened the clerk with federal criminal charges, Bunton said.
He also sent Judge Bunton a daily packet of materials pertaining to
Republic of Texas business, including persons renouncing their U.S.
McLaren and other Republic members did not appear in court for the July
9 hearing. Prior to it, Morales said that ``hundreds if not thousands''
of bogus liens are clogging the state's property records systems. He
said one lien in February was filed against all state property.
The injunction extended a temporary restraining order Morales obtained
earlier in his lawsuit against the Republic of Texas and 25 of its
members. The lawsuit alleges illegal restraint of trade, intimidation,
retaliation and falsifying government records.
Liens can cause financial and legal difficulties when property owners
attempt to sell those properties or list them as assets.
The injunction also allowed Morales' office to begin removing liens
filed already, said his spokesman, Ward Tisdale.
John Fahle, San Antonio attorney representing McLaren, apologized to the
court for his client's actions, and said he was merely trying to obey
Judge Bunton's orders not to file anything except through his court.
When Bunton declined to represent the U.S. government in Republic
matters, McLaren said that freed him to continue in political channels.
He has filed documents with the U.S. Congress claiming the 1845
annexation of Texas was illegal, and the Republic of Texas should be
recognized as an independent nation.
"There's not going to be any transfer of property of the state of Texas
or federal government property to the Republic of Texas," Judge Bunton
"I believe your intentions are good. Some things are not meant to be.
Never are going to be.
"You have done a great deal of study. What you have done now is involve
me; involved the clerk in Fort Davis. Now you have involved me to extent
where people are sending me their declarations of intent (to renounce
citizenship). I don't want them.
"I feel sorry for people that feel that way," he said. "I am very proud
of the fact I am a U.S. citizen and intend to remain that."
Governments are not perfect, Judge Bunton admitted, and he said he can't
keep people from protesting that their rights have been abused.
But he said that McLaren should send any papers he feels should be filed
in court to his attorney and let him determine if they should be filed.
"I have no problem with that," McLaren said. "We have an official filing
now before Congress. I may send those petitions to the House Judiciary
"I think that would be very interesting," Judge Bunton said. "If you
will do that, I am not going to have any more problems. I just want to
get out of this."
Truthfulness of witnesses
against Britos questioned
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
PECOS, Texas, July 19, 1996 - Evidence that five Brito brothers and
their friends conspired to import marijuana into the United States from
Mexico and launder cash profits from those sales comes primarily from
questionable witnesses, defense attorneys argued this morning in federal
Jurors heard closing arguments throughout the morning after three days
of testimony from 45 government witnesses and a handful of witnesses for
the eight defendants.
Senior Judge Lucius Bunton on Thursday dismissed one defendant, Richard
Lewis Strack, aka Robert Howard "Doc" Stevenson, after his attorney, Abe
Factor, successfully argued that evidence was insufficient for
Strack was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana
on Aug. 16, 1995, and with conspiracy to import and possess with intent
to distribute marijuana.
Pablo Salinas Brito of Midland is charged with continuing criminal
enterprise as organizer and leader of the operation that allegedly
smuggled tons of marijuana over the past year. If convicted, he could be
sentenced to life in prison without parole.
His attorney, Tom Morgan, argued that the few witnesses who tabbed Pablo
Brito as the leader are not credible. Herb Ellwood Groessel, for
example, said he made 80 trips for the Britos, spending $450,000 of his
profits in one year.
Groessel said that Pablo Brito was present one time, and even then Brito
didn't direct anybody, Morgan said.
David Tovar, who was arrested in Crane Aug. 15, 1995, said he never
heard Pablo Brito say anything about drugs. Pablo Brito was not
connected to another load intercepted on Oct. 19, 1995.
Oscar Salinas, the main defense witness and a co-defendant, said he was
not paid by Pablo Brito and he could not connect him with any of the
"There is no evidence Pablo is the organizer," Morgan said.
All the defense attorneys attacked Salinas' testimony, noting that the
government reduced charges against him in return for his turning in his
Randy Reynolds said Adrian Brito was confused with his brother, Adan, or
Vicente Adame, both co-defendants.
"It is an unfortunate day in criminal justice when the government calls
50-plus witnesses and say that because you are a member of a family, you
are guilty of marijuana smuggling," said Scott Johnson, representing
Salinas said that Jesus did not tell load drivers what to do and he
never went to Mexico, Johnson said.
Robert Maynard objected to prosecutor Glen Jackson's characterization of
the defendants as the "Brito Gang."
"This is a trial of separate individuals," he said.
Evidence against his client, Adan Brito, was mostly opinion from Sgt.
Ronnie Bryan of the Midland Police Department that Adan recruited
drivers, Maynard said.
But the only testimony to that fact was Oscar Salinas, who admitted he
approached Adan and asked him for a driving job.
Salinas said that Adan Brito turned him down at first, saying he didn't
"You can't trust anybody these days," Salinas said.
That is exactly the problem, said Bobby Garcia for his client, Ignacio
"You can't trust Salinas," he said.
Tony Chavez said his client, Vicente Adame, merely sold vehicles to
Pablo Brito and other defendants. He denied that Adame knew the cash
paid for the vehicles was drug money nor that the vehicles would be used
to transport drugs.
He also denied the vehicle purchases were a method of laundering drug
Paul Williams said he was scared that the government could charge his
client, Benajmin Hernandez Rodriguez, who was "the least culpable
defendant at that table."
"With a fair reading of the evidence, he's not culpable at all,"
Williams said. "The government is painting these cases with a very broad
brush. I am scared some dirt from some defendants might rub off on
Prosecutor Mark Roomberg rebutted the defense attorneys' claims, and
said that each defendant played a role in the drug organization
according to his own skills.
Yes, testimony was offered by drug users and dealers, Roomberg said, and
not all are totally credible.
"We would love to bring Mother Teresa to testify, `I ran drugs,' but
people like that don't run drugs," he said.
Pablo Brito escorted smuggling trips, paid off «MDUL»federales«MDNM»
with cash, boots and hats, and was the boss of the organization, he said.
Officers kept surveillance on the group and took videotape of their
operations for a year, he said.
Jurors received the charge just before noon today.
Lines drawn on Cedar Street parking
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By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Texas, July 19, 1996 - People who park along South Cedar Street
in downtown Pecos are about to enter a parallel universe.
Parallel, as in parallel parking, which is the way most on-street
parking is set up around Pecos. However, on Cedar between First and
Fourth Streets, diagonal parking has been the norm until Thursday, when
a painting crew contracted by the Texas Department of Transportation
redid the lines, though the new set-up hadn't been taken up by most
drivers as of mid-morning.
"When we put in the new stripes, it's been the district policy that we
don't like to put in angled parking because of the congestion it
causes," said Russell Whitworth, TxDOT area engineer for the Pecos
office. The new striping was done after Cedar Street was resurfaced
earlier this month.
"You lose a few parking spaces, but when you put in parallel parking you
have less trouble with people backing into traffic," Whitworth said,
adding he has talked to Town of Pecos City officials about the change.
"I talked with Mr. (city manager Harry) Nagel about any problems he
foresaw, and with the reasons we gave him for the change, he said it
wouldn't be any problem, except for people adjusting to it," Whitworth
said. "It will probably take a few weeks for people to adjust to it."
Pecos police investigator Kelly Davis said for people to fail to obey
the new parking rules, officers would probably just give warnings for
now, "until they get used to it."
TxDOT handles maintenance on Cedar Street because it doubles as U.S. 285
through Pecos. Third Street, Eddy Street, Stafford Boulevard and Bickely
Avenue are the other state-maintained streets.
There are no plans currently to eliminate diagonal parking on
city-maintained streets, such as West Fourth Street, outside the U.S.
Dean plans to keep party chairmanship
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By MARI MALDONADO
PECOS, Texas, July 19, 1996 - With five vacancies out of 12 openings on
the Reeves County Democratic Party's Executive Committee, meeting quorum
requirements for the appointment of a new chairman and filling the empty
precinct seats has proven difficult.
But according to the former, or current, Reeves County Democratic Party
Chairman, Robert (Bobby) Camp Dean, no change is necessary.
Dean called a meeting of the party's executive committee Thursday and
presented the four chairpersons present with a letter rescinding his
Out of the 12 precincts in Reeves County, only seven are currently
represented by a chairman.
Under an agreement made in February with 143rd District Attorney John
Stickels, Dean resigned from his post as county Democratic chairman back
in April, but has continued to act as the head of the county's
The letter, signed by Dean and posted by the Reeves County Clerks Office
April 24, stated, "I will resign as County Chairman effective May 31,
1996, and at such time a meeting will be called to fill the vacancy in
both the chairmanship and the vacant precinct chair posts."
Since then, Dean has attempted to call executive committee meetings and
rode in the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade on July 3 with State
Democratic Chairman Bill White, in a vehicle identifying him as the
County Democratic Chairman.
White said later that day he didn't feel the state needed to get
The state election code contends that the procedure for filling a
vacancy in the county chairmanship is that the secretary of the county
executive committee shall call a meeting for the purpose of filling the
vacancy or a precinct chair can request that the state chairman call a
Isabel Zermeno, office manager for the State Democratic Party
headquarters in Austin, said that local committee members should
disregard letters from Dean requesting that a meeting be held. The state
office cannot do anything to Dean, she added, but can send out letters
to Reeves County precinct chairmen to advise them that Dean in not in a
position to call a meeting.
The meeting Thursday was held at the office of Dean's attorney, Scott
Johnson's, and was not posted in the Reeves County Clerk's Office.
The State Democratic Party headquarters has not responded to several
phone calls in the past two days asking whether or not such meetings
need to be posted or what constitutes a quorum of the executive
Dean said that no action was taken Thursday on either his letter of
resignation, letter to rescind his resignation or filling precinct
vacancies, as a quorum, by his interpretation, was not met.
Dean's resignation was sought by the district attorney after he failed
to check for all appropriate signatures before notarizing a candidacy
form submitted by Mickey Vasquez, who was seeking to run against
Precinct 1 Reeves County Commissioner Lupe Garcia in the March primaries
on the Democratic ticket.
The failure to sign the petition, submitted on the last filing day for
the March 12 primary, prevented Vasquez from entering the race.
Vasquez said he has attempted to contact Stickels to consider Dean's
actions, but his efforts have been futile.
Stickels said this morning, "according to my understanding of the law,
once a public official has resigned," he cannot, "attempt to withdraw
"These actions by Mr. Dean have placed the (local) Democratic Party in
complete disarray, and I think someone from the state should come down
here to straighten this mess up," he said.
"It's obvious that Mr. Dean's word cannot be trusted," said the district
"I think its wrong," said Vasquez Thursday, "It just goes to show that
he (Dean) can't stand behind his word, one way or the other."
Johnson said earlier this month that nothing prohibits Dean from being
an active Democratic Party member, and he encourages his client to
continue as such.
Mary Mauro of the party's state office said earlier this month that they
have not received a copy of Dean's resignation letter or roster of
committee chairs, which is required of him.
Under the Rules of the Democratic Party of Texas a quorum is
constituted, "by a majority of membership." Dean said he believes that
means that at least seven committee members need to be present in order
to have a quorum.
Paroled killer hunted
in area near Marathon
after assault on sheriff
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By PEGGY McCRACKEN
ALPINE, Texas, July 19, 1996 - Brewster County Sheriff Jack McDaniel and
a host of law enforcement officers spent Thursday night combing the
brush country south of Marathon looking for McDaniel's .44-caliber
Magnum and the man who took it from him.
Alvaro Hernandez Luna of Alpine took McDaniel's gun away from him
Thursday morning when the sheriff attempted to serve an arrest warrant
on an aggravated robbery indictment.
Luna, 44, pointed the gun at McDaniel for a few minutes, then let him
drive away, McDaniel said. His girlfriend allegedly drove Luna, aka
Alvaro Hernandez, to Marathon and purchased sandwiches and water for him.
Officers believe Luna planned to travel toward Mexico on foot at night,
holing up during the day. One of two helicopters joining the search has
a heat sensor, and they hoped that would help them locate the fugitive
However, he was still at large just before noon today, while his
girlfriend remained in the Brewster County Jail.
More than 20 years ago, officers chased the convicted murderer all the
way to the Mexican border after he broke out of the Pecos County Jail in
He was found along the Rio Grande and had a shootout with law
enforcement officers before he crossed into Mexico. He was later
captured and returned to the United States.
Hernandez served 16 years of a 99-year sentence for the fatal shooting
of a hotel clerk in Alpine. He was paroled in 1991.
Border Patrol agents joined the search Thursday, but Joe Harris of the
Marfa headquarters office said this morning they have pulled out of the
Others involved are the Brewster County Sheriff's Office, state prisons
from Fort Stockton, Texas Rangers and two dog teams. They are traveling
on foot, on horseback, in vehicles and in the air.
Luna is known to have numerous relatives in Alpine and Marathon, 30
miles to the southeast.
Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise. All rights reserved. AP contributed to
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PECOS, Texas, July 17, 1996 - High Thursday 101, low last night 73.
Rainfall .02 inch. July rainfall .50 inch. Year-to-date 3.84 inches.
Tonight, partly cloudy. A slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low
70-75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph. Chance of rain less than 20 percent.
Saturday, mostly sunny. High around 100. Southeast to south wind 10-20
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