Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Friday, February 24, 2006
Ex-county attorney Carrasco indicted by grand jury
By ROSIE FLORES
Former Reeves County Attorney Louis Carrasco was indicted by the 143rd District Court Grand Jury Wednesday afternoon on nine counts, seven of which involve misuse of funds he was in possession of as part of his public office and private practice.
According to 143rd Judicial District Attorney Randy Reynolds, the returned indictments involve allegations that Carrasco, 40, misused funds he held in both his capacity as a public servant as Reeves County Attorney and in his capacity as a fiduciary regarding cases he handled as a private attorney. Reynolds and Texas Rangers presented the case to grand jurors over a four-month period, following a raid on Carrasco’s office in late October that led to his resignation.
One additional count returned on Wednesday involves allegations of theft of service, as a result of Carrasco’s extended stay at a local motel early last year.
Reynolds said that in the summer of 2005 he received information that certain expenditures of money from accounts of the Reeves County Attorney’s office were highly questionable.
Reynolds then requested that Reeves County Auditor Lynn Owens review the expenditures and report his findings to Reynolds. The DA also assigned his investigators, Freddy Contreras and Jeffery Baeza, to start an inquiry.
Based on the findings of the auditor and the investigators, Reynolds requested that the Texas Rangers begin a formal investigation of Carrasco in late October.
Texas Ranger Brian Burzynski of Fort Stockton, was assigned to the case. Shortly after the Ranger investigation was started, and based on the findings at that time, Reynolds prepared a petition to remove Carrasco from the office of Reeves County Attorney.
Prior to the filing of the petition but following the Oct. 26 search of his West Fifth Street office and seizure of records, Carrasco resigned from office. Reeves County Commissioners then appointed Richard C. Slack, a longtime Pecos attorney, to fill the vacancy.
Burzynski is continuing with the investigation, Reynolds said.
The cases against Carrasco are pending in from of the 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks in Reeves County.
A total of $75,000 bonds were assessed against Carrasco in connection with Wednesday’s indictments.
“He (Carrasco) turned himself in and was arraigned by Judge Jim Riley,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez.
Gomez said that Carrasco’s attorney, Scott Johnson, had posted his bonds.
The indictments filed with the 143rd District Clerk’s office allege in Count 1 Abuse of Official Capacity. It states that pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct that began on or about July 28, 2004, and continued until on or about July 13, 2005, with intent to obtain a benefit, intentionally or knowingly misuse government property, to-wit: U.S. Currency, which had come into the defendant’s custody or possession by virtue of the defendant’s office as County Attorney of Reeves County. The indictment charges Carrasco with spending the said U.S. Currency on deposit in the Reeves County Attorney Pre-Trial Diversion Account for defendant’s own personal benefit, and the value of said describe property was $1,500 or more but less than $20,000.
Count 2 is also Abuse of Official Capacity, again through the misuse of U.S. Currency through his position as county attorney. It states that on or about Nov. 26, 2003, and continued until on or about June 24, 2005, Carrasco spent the money on deposit in the Reeves County Attorney Hot Check Fund for defendant’s own personal benefit, and the value of said describe property was $1,500 or more but less than $20,000.
Count 3 charges Carrasco with Misapplication of Fiduciary Property. It says that on or about Feb. 12, 2005, and before the presentment of this indictment, in Reeves County, Carrasco did then and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapply U.S. Currency of the vale of $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, that he held as a fiduciary or as a person acting in a fiduciary capacity, but not as a commercial bailee. Carrasco used the funds contrary to an agreement under which the said defendant held the property, and in a manner that involved substantial risk of loss of the property to Rosemary Miramontes, the owner of said property, and the person for whose benefit the property was held.
The charge was based on Carrasco’s failure to disburse said U.S. Currency to Miramontes, which was her share of the recovery of a settlement, involving a personal injury claim, received by defendant as her attorney, as soon as said funds were posted by the bank which the defendant used to hold said funds and by spending the said U.S. Currency for defendant’s own personal benefit.
Count 4 also was Misapplication of Fiduciary Property. It states that on or about June 7, 2005, Carrasco did then and there intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misapply property, to-wit: U.S. Currency, of the value of $1,500 or more but less than $20,000, belonging to Irma Gavaldon. Carrasco was again charged with failing to disburse money, this time belonging to Gavaldon, which was her share of the recovery of a settlement, involving a personal injury claim, received by defendant as her attorney, as soon as said funds were posted by the bank which the defendant used to hold said funds and by spending the said U.S. Currency for defendant’s own personal benefit.
Counts 5 and 6 also were charges of Misapplication of Fiduciary Property. On March 8, 2005, Carrasco failed to disburse currency to Melba Reyes, while on Sept. 13, 2004, he failed to disburse currency to Rosalie Dominguez.
In the first of the three theft charges, the indictment states that on or about Sept. 1, 2005, and continuing until on or about Oct. 10, 2005, Carrasco unlawfully appropriated, by acquiring or otherwise exercising control over U.S. Currency, of the value of $500 or more but less than $1,500, from county judge Jimmy Galindo. The money was intended for the Reeves County Attorney Hot Check Fund and Pre-Trial Diversion Account.
Two other charges were for Theft of Service. The indictment stated that On or about Oct. 9, 2004, Carrasco did then and there, with intent to avoid payment for a service that the defendant knew was provided only for compensation. The charges involved use of a motel room and maid, provided through Chris D’Angeli of Quality Inn Pecos. The grand jury stated that Carrasco agreed to provide compensation and, after the service was rendered, did fail to make payment after receiving notice demanding payment, the value of said service being $1,500 or more but less than $20,000.
Uresti touting House efforts in Senate bid
By ROSIE FLORES
Carlos Uresti says he hopes to make a difference for all children and seniors, in his bid for the State Senate.
Uresti was in Pecos last week and met with several county, school and city officials. He also attended the county debate held at the Pecos High School last Thursday.
“As part of our campaign, we are on a 10-day tour and will be visiting 23 counties,” said Uresti, who is seeking to replace Frank Madla as District 19 representative.
Uresti said that he had been to El Paso County, Fabens, Socorro, Uvalde, Sonora, Ozona and Sheffield, in earlier trips to West Texas, while last week, he also visited, Alpine, Marfa, Fort Stockton, Eagle Pass and Del Rio.
“We still have a few more days,” said Uresti, who currently serves part of San Antonio in the Texas House. “This is part of our campaign motto, every child counts, every county counts,” he said.
A twin and the youngest of eight children, Uresti was born in San Antonio. From his parents, he learned the values of hard work, education, and giving back to his community.
At the age of 18, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, rose to the rank of Captain and earned the Naval Achievement Medal.
Uresti earned his teaching certificate from St. Mary’s University and went on to become a lawyer, and a State Representative. In the Legislature, as in life, he kept true to the Marine Corps motto - Semper Fi, or Always Faithful.
As a State Representation, Uresti has become a recognized leader protecting the health and safety of children and the elderly.
Uresti and his wife, Yolanda, have two sons, Michael and Carlos Uresti Jr. Michael is a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University. Carlos, Jr. recently enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
On his wrist, Uresti wears a blue band in memory of Jovonie Ochoa, a 4-year-old who died on Christmas Day, starved to death by his own grandmother. The story of Jovonie led State Representative Uresti to hold legislative hearings to bring to the public’s attention the neglect and abuse of children. He then co-sponsored and passed a bill that brought $250 million new dollars to Child Protective Services, while reforming the agency to ensure no child falls through the cracks.
While more work still needs to be done, the “Any Baby Can Alliance,” recognized Uresti’s leadership with their “Angel Award.”
The Texas Senior Advocacy Coalition named State Representative, Uresti, “Legislator of the Year” in 2003. As he took n the reform effort of Child Protective Services, he also found that the same abuse and neglect was happening to seniors under the supervision of Adult Protective Services.
Uresti led the fight to hire more investigators and case workers, while also standing up to Republican efforts that would cut the $2 a day allowance seniors in nursing homes receive from Social Security to $1.50.
“The problem with Child Protective Services was that the caseworkers were overloaded,” said Uresti. “The caseload was quadruple what it should have been and some of the individuals were not properly trained,” he said.
Uresti said that it was recommended that a caseworker handle 12-18 cases a month. “These caseworkers were trying to handle 60-100 cases a month,” he said.
Uresti said that it was the same thing with APS, Aging Protective Services.
“I plan to work harder for both the children and the elderly in our communities,” he said.
County early voting strong; May election sign-ups slow
Early voting for the March 7 primary elections in Reeves County was heavy during the first three days of balloting, officials said, while filing has gone slowly for positions in the May city, school and hospital district elections.
With five candidates seeking to replace Jimmy Galindo as Reeves County Judge, and seven others seeking the Precinct 2 and Precinct 4 commissioner’s positions in the March 7 Democratic primary, over 300 people voted on the first two days, and more came in to cast ballots on Thursday.
“We had 175 vote on Tuesday and 153 on Wednesday,” said early voting clerk Nora Briceno. “That’s a pretty good number.”
Early voting will continue until March 3 at the Reeves County Courthouse Lobby. Voters can cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primaries, though there are no contested local races in the Republican primary.
In conjunction, an Election School will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, March 1, in the second floor District Courtroom at the Reeves County Courthouse.
Everyone that will be working during the Primary Elections is urged to attend.
For the May 13 local elections, the filing period opened last week, and so far, only two persons, both incumbents, have filed for new terms.
Michael Benavides has signed up to run for the position of councilman, a position he has held for the past five years. The positions of Benavides, Angelica Valenzuela and Mayor Dot Stafford are up for election this year.
In the hospital board election, Terry Honnacker has filed for a full two-year term as Precinct 3 representative. Honnacker was appointed in late 2004 to replace Bill Wendt, who died in August of that year.
the at-large position of Leo Hung and the position of Precinct 1 representative Brenda McKinney also are up for election.
No candidates have filed yet in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD election. The seats currently held by Amy Montgomery Miller and Steve Valenzuela will be up for election on May 13.
To sign up to run in the city council race, individuals can do so at city hall with city secretary Connie Levario; to sign up for a position on the hospital board, they can contact Nadine Smith at Reeves County Hospital and to sign up to run for a position on the school board, individuals can contact Tracy Shaw at the school administration office.
City elections also will be held on May 13 in Barstow, Toyah and Balmorhea, along with the Balmorhea ISD board election. This year’s voting will be held on the second Saturday in May instead of the first Saturday, as the result of a measure passed by the Texas Legislature.
Guerra cites job experience in Precinct 4 bid
A former Pennzoil and Reeves County Detention Center employee has announced his candidacy for Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 4.
Ramiro “Ram” Guerra is seeking the seat currently held by “Hivi” Rayos. Along with Rayos, Alex Ramirez and Conchita Hernandez also are seeking the Precinct 4 seat in the March 7 Democratic primary election.
Guerra was raised in Pecos, is married to Grace Guerra and the couple have one son, R.J.
“I am currently working as an Operation Specialist at Enterprise Products Operating,” said Guerra. “My other employment opportunities have included Pennzoil and the Reeves County Detention Center as a correctional officer.”
He said that although his employment at the Reeves County Detention Center was limited, he felt he was able to gain some insight of the every day operations at the RCDC.
“It is important to be able to relate to all employees of the entity you are representing because they are the individuals that continue to keep our country vibrant,” said Guerra.
As a long time employee of Pennzoil, “I not only witnessed and experienced the layoffs that were brought forth by this company’s misfortune, but also the closing of many of our local businesses.”
“After this event our population began to decline. Many of us chose not to be a number in the decline of our population, but instead remained loyal and continued to invest in our community, hoping to revitalize the economy,” said Guerra.
“I believe it is time to take an active part in the revitalization of our communities by running for Commissioner Precinct 4,” he added.
Guerra said he will not make any promises. “The answers are not always easy to find. I don’t know what the future holds, but as a citizen of Reeves County I will diligently search for solutions that will improve our quality of life,” he said.
Reeves County does not stand alone, according to Guerra.
“We have counterparts such as the city and the school district. It is vital to our communities to continue to improve our relationship with them and help incorporate all our views for the good of our county,” he said.
“It is important, as it is in any business, to become familiar with the budget, the employees and the regulations. I can and will do this by practicing the attributes that every elected official should possess (honesty, reliability, trustworthiness, and hardworking),” said Guerra.
Brack takes break from year in Iraq
B.J. Brack, a medic with the U.S. Army, will be coming home from Iraq.
Brack was there for one year and is a Pecos High School graduate.
He is the son of Margaret and Raul Garcia and Darvin and Annette Knapp of Edmond, Okla.
Brack has two sisters, Myranda of Midland and Leticia of Edmond, Okla.
Church enchilada sale next Friday
An Enchilada Plate Sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Friday, March 3, at Santa Rosa Hall.
Plates will be $5 and consist of three red enchiladas, rice, beans and salad. The fundraiser will also include a delicious bake sale.
The event is sponsored by the Prayer Group at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.
For orders call 445-2302 and four plates or more will be delivered.
Churches set Ash Wednesday services
First United Methodist Church will have an Ash Wednesday service March 1 and weekly studies throughout the Lenten season.
The 7 p.m. service will include imposition of ashes and communion. The Lenten series will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 2.
Pastor John Barrett will lead the Lenten series of study, to be held in the church fellowship hall at 7 p.m. each Thursday for seven weeks.
Topics for the series include The Way of the Cross, the Lessons of the Cross, the Marks of the Cross, the Gifts of the Cross, the Words of the Cross (two sessions), and the Glory of the Cross.
“This will be a very informal series,” said Rev. Barrett, also an evangelist for On the Rock Ministries of Odessa. “There will be some singing and refreshments served afterward.”
Any or all of the sessions may be attended. Anyone interested is welcome to participate.
The Methodist Church is located at Third and Elm Streets in Pecos.
OC Career Fair planned next week
The annual Odessa College Career Fair is scheduled for next Thursday at the junior college’s campus.
OC students, area high school students and the general public are invited to attend from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., on Thursday, March 2.
Those attending will have the opportunity to meet with area employers about job positions in the Permian Basin. Representatives from OC will be available to help with career and college planning.
For more information, contact Odessa College Career Services at 335-6835.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Information contained in the Police Report is obtained from reports filed by the Pecos Police Department, Reeves County Sheriff’s Office, or other officers of those agencies. The serving of warrants by an officer for outstanding fines of either traffic citations, animal control violations or other court costs are considered arrests and will be printed as such unless indicated that the fines were paid. In such instances we will indicate payment and release.
Jason Scott Jefferson, 31, of Lafayette, La., was arrested by police on Feb. 20 on a charge of public intoxication. Police said the arrest took place at the Swiss Clock Inn, in the 1000 block of West Palmer Street. Police said the arrest took place at the motel’s restaurant, after officers were called in response to a disturbance. Jefferson was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Javier Arturo Provencio., 31, of Gainesville., Tx., was arrested on Feb. 16 on a charge of possession of marijuana under two ounces, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place at 2:30 p.m. at mile marker 38 on Interstate 20, following a traffic stop. Provencio was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Florentino Salcido, 43, 501 N. Willow St., was arrested by police and charged with driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Police said the arrest took place following a traffic stop in the 1100 block of South Eddy Street. Salcido was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Ruben Hernandez Contreras, 48, 323 S. Cherry St., was arrested on a warrant by police on Feb. 16 charging him with motion to revoke on an earlier charge of forgery. Police said the arrest was made at 8:24 p.m. at the Reeves County Adult Probation Office. Contreras
was then transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Ruben Martinez, 26, 2000 1/2 Scott St., was arrested by police on a warrant charging him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony. Police said the warrant was served on Martinez while he was in the Reeves County Jail on a separate charge, and was issued following a stabbing allegedly committed by Martinez at the Suevacito Club, 900 s. Cedar St., on Jan. 28.
Ciro Baltierra Ortiz, 56, 1332 Leader St., was arrested by police on Feb. 13 on a charge of disorderly conduct. Police said the arrest took place after they received a call about a reckless driver, and officers said after the vehicle was located in the 200 block of South Locust Street, Ortiz was seen urinating in a public place. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
Lorenzo Antonio Ybarra, 30, 1802 W. ‘F’ St., was arrested by police on Feb. 13 on warrants out of Ward County charging him with aggravated assault and evading arrest. Police said the arrest took place at Wal-Mart, 1903 S. Cedar St. Ybarra was placed under arrest and transported to the Pecos Criminal Justice Center.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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