One riot, one Ranger

Second in a series: How are narcotics warrants obtained?

‘He doesn’t know he’s right’

 The thing about the Ranger is he intimidates you by what he might know, and just doesn’t talk about – that’s his strong suit.  – veteran lawman

 McGregor – When police answered a call at 801 N. 3rd, the bleeding victim they found told them he got shot in the back while trying to “settle some s__t.” 

He said he had a problem with a man who lived at 107 Johnson St., a man he said had been selling dope to his brother.

 An offense report revealed how Jose Valdez went to see Shawn Johnson at his house. In the melee that followed, he alleged, Jason Saldana shot him in the rear shoulder with a .44 magnum.


Indian attack, plain and simple.

 That’s when retired Texas Ranger Steve Foster, who now serves as Chief of Police in this city, put a seasoned veteran on the case, one of a select group of perhaps a dozen narcotics officers in the state who wrote the book on how to work such a case – for all it’s worth.

Jose L. Coy, a retired Sergeant with the Department of Public Safety’s Narcotics Service, is presently a Special Investigator for the McGregor Police Department. Neither of the veteran lawmen returned a phone call placed to them. 

 In corporate parlance, his status would be that of a consultant. In the dime novels written about the old west, he would have been called a “hired gun.” Judges who read his affidavits of probable cause know better.

 Judges know his probable cause affidavits will stand up to the scrutiny of the defense bar, the appeals courts, and public opinion. They sign the paperwork that certifies there is a reasonable suspicion that evidence may be found on the premises to be searched, or the surrounding property. They furthermore authorize the arrest of the people he says may be found there, doing what he alleges, and that there should be no announcement of a search warrant or a knock at the door.

 There is a lot of sensitivity to the issue because of the debacle created when a rogue freelance cop named Tom Coleman perpetrated a huge fraud on the public at Tulia, Texas. It resulted in the incarceration of dozen of persons who were totally innocent of any violation of the law – all based on false allegations by a peace officer sworn to protect the people, to preserve their peace and dignity.

 That won’t happen with the methods employed by Mr. Coy. 

 When rookie agents take the course on how to develop probable cause for what is known as a “72-hour search and arrest warant,” no knock narcotics raid, they often study his long career spent taking down dope houses where pushers sell everything from grass to crank, crystal, rock cocaine, powder coke, Nazi meth, Oxycodone, Vicodin, heroin – or anything that addicts users and creates violent social problems, or the kind of trifling, insidious, petty crime that makes life miserable for people who hit the ball and pay their dues.

 Mr. Coy has a reputation and a track record for the kind of meticulous documentation it takes to turn an investigation of an incident such as a shooting into a major operation that eventually resulted in the arrests of almost a dozen people at 4 locations – one of whom floated between the dope houses where he stashed his product and purveyed his wares.

 Ask any small town police chief why he and his officers can’t do much about the drug problems that flood the community, and he will recite a litany of well-worn, common sense difficulties that involve everything from a scant budget for man hours to a lack of prosecutorial alacrity for the kind of zealous prosecution of relatively minor serial drug cases it will take to make any kind of lasting impression on the problem. That’s just for starters. Then there is the issue of jail overcrowding – and we’re off to the races.

 Meanwhile, the armed robberies, burglaries, murders, rapes, beatings, home invasions, prostitution and pure dee meanness that accompanies any drug scene persists – day in and day out, month to month and year to year. People begin to accept the chaos as the way it’s always been, something a community just has to get used to – and get over.

 Wrong. It doesn’t have to be that way.

 The case Jose L. Coy developed against the people who lived at 107 Johnson Street, and three other locations scattered all over this railroad town smack dab on the way to everywhere in north, south, east and west Texas, is a classic study of a prairie community circling the wagons, calling for a Ranger who arrives promptly, and in due course shows a beleaguered Sheriff, his deputies, and the local posse how to organize the community to fight back with full effect.

As hackneyed a B-movie plot as it seems to be, it’s how things are still done in the Lone Star State. The point is that it works as well today as it did during storied days of yesteryear, when off the reservation Comanches and Apaches menaced settlers, and cattle rustlers fought fence-cutting drovers in range wars with sodbusters.

 While the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office over a period of years developed no such drug cases, its drug task force disbanded and the officers reassigned to other detective duties, not long ago 30-year veteran narcotics agent Jose L. Coy quietly and effectively put a large number of people out of the drug business using available resources and a highly organized methodology that includes surveillance, the use of confidential informants – even surreptitious trash pickup.

 Start with the basics. There are two kinds of narcotics cases.

 The first is the “hand-to-hand” method, whereby an undercover officer makes a purchase of some controlled substance, and thereby effects an arrest – on the spot.

 “Any rookie narc can make that case,” says a veteran agent.

But the “seventy-two-hour method” of developing probable cause through intelligence gleaned from “credible and reliable” confidential informants busted with contraband they just bought at the dope house thus under surveillance makes for a very sophisticated combined search and arrest warrant. Agents can observe the resulting cash flow, the transportation patterns, the names and faces, discover the manufacturers and smugglers of the drugs – and seize them all once they connect the dots.

 It works a lot better in the kind of small town atmosphere many drug sellers prefer for the very fact that everyone has a lifetime program with the players’ names and numbers, family trees, historic analyses – and everyone knows everyone else’s business.

 In the narcotics business, an illicit racket with very large profit margins, large cash flow, and huge risks, it’s not what you know, but who you know – dialed up.

 Consider the laconic prose of Mr. Coy’s probable cause affidavit in support of a search of 107 Johnson Street, the place where the shooting took place.

“…Based on my prior training and experience, I have observed that narcotics traffickers keep and use cellular telephones and the technology associated with this type of equipment as a primary means of communication in order to conduct their narcotics trafficking business. Additionally, narcotics traffickers commonly maintain telephone numbers and address books or papers which reflect names, addresses and/or telephone numbers for their associates…

 “…Narcotics traffickers maintain books, records, receipts, notes, ledgers, bank records, money orders and other papers relating to the importation, manufacture, transportation, ordering, sale and distribution of illegal controlled substances…

 “…Narcotics traffickers keep and utilize computers and other electronic devices for the purpose of maintaining records, receipts, notes, ledgers, bank records, money orders and other documents or records relating to the importation, manufacture, transportation, ordering, sale and distribution of illegal controlled substances…

 “…Narcotics traffickers routinely conceal large quaitites of currency, financial instruments, precious metals, jewelry and other items of value, typically proceeds of illegal controlled substance transactions…

 “…Narcotics traffickers often take photographs of themselves, their associates, their property and illegal contraband…

 “…Narcotics traffickers maintain documents, letters and records relating to their illegal contraband…

 “…Narcotics traffickers maintain documents, letters and records relating to their illegal activities for long periods of time. This documentary evidence is usually secreted in their place of residence, or residences of family members…

 “…Narcotics traffickers often own, possess and/or use weapons…”


Boiler plate of these assertions is inserted in each of the affidavits used to obtain search and arrest warrants that netted seizures and arrests of Shawn Johnson, Oscar Lopez, and Florencio Mondragon at 107 Johnson Street. All this led to other searches and seizures at still other locations.

 Renita Driver and David Alan Rivas were arrested, their drugs and other accoutrements of their trade confiscated at 604 W. 6th St.

 Desiree Garrett and Melissa Nosey were charged for the evidence seized at 805 N. 2nd St.

 Billy Byford, who had previous arrests for carrying a prohibited weapon and engaging in organized criminal activity, answered a no knock warrant at his residence located at 1009 S. Taylor St. The search yielded methamphetamine and packaging materials.


In each case, Mr. Coy inserted the admonishment, “Affiant is aware that individuals who are involved in the distribution of controlled substances fear arrest by law enforcement and these individual are likely to destroy evidence that would asist law enforcement in the prosecution of criminal acts by these same individuals. Affiant fears that announcing would be dangerous, futile and would inhibit the effective safety and investigation of the crime involved in the puposes of this sarch if law enforement officers are required to announce themselves before entering the said suspected premises. Considering ______’s past criminal history and past arrest record, Affiant requests that law enforement oficers serving this search warrant be allowed to enter the said suspected premises without knocking and announcing.”

 Relatively small amounts of drugs were seized in each case, but the investigators mined the records and photos, phones and ledgers thus seized as high grade ore.

 In one of his affidavits, Mr. Coy remarked in his typical tongue in cheek tone that one would think a prudent operator would destroy ledgers and journals recording long-ago transactions, deeming them to be of no real worth at the present. Every fact thus gleaned is worthy of scrutiny, it seems.


In all cases, the affidavits asserted that officers or a confidential informant had observed people coming and going at short intervals on various errands, and had seen illicit substances inside the residences within the previous 72 hours.

 In the methamphetamine case developed against Billy Byford, an agent took the trash bags placed at the curb to the DPS office and discovered a number of sandwich baggies with the corners cut off – a clear sign to a knowledgeable observer that the people inside were packaging the dope in the bags thus cut down.

 An eighth-ounce package – or “eight ball” – of crank may be considered dynamite in a very small package. Besides, it all pays the same.

 In most cases, checking with the Texas Workforce Commission showed that no employer was paying taxes on the employment of the people targeted in the probable cause affidavit. We’re talking thorough, here.

Visual surveillance of known users of methamphetamine or other drugs yielded an arrest for possession. Two of these persons were “turned” as confidential informants, who were able to assert as “reliable and credible” witnesses that they had observed contraband material inside the residence within the past 72 hours. It’s a common sense rule, according to case law on the subject, that 72 hours is a prudent period in which to pinpoint the presence of dope in a dope house operating as a distribution point for storage and sales of dope.

 Common sense seems to rule in 72-hour search and arrest warrant operations. In fact, there are few rules, only rights and responsibilities.

 No doubt, the floggings will continue until morale improves.


Fishback Sky

There is a growing body of internet interest – especially videos – that addresses the totally frightening and extremely ugly notion that seeding clouds with metallic salts with an affinity for bonding to water – salts such as barium, copper iodide, silver iodide, aluminum oxide is all part of a sinister and worldwide plot to control population – and in some cases, to punish certain regions for forming policies that are not all that hot for the international corporate conglomerations.

A Scandinavian organization called Weatherwar101 may be found on YouTube making extremely cogent arguments that the cloud seeding – an old technology first used 70 years hence – is practiced in conjunction with power plants which use wet surface air cooler systems that cause high degrees of steam emission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Doppler NEXRAD WSR 88 system to steer the heavily-laden clouds into cyclonic patterns.

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These patterns then allegedly  form killer winter storms, early autumn hurricanes, and torrential spring and summer floods where the population favors policies that are contrary to the petroleum interests such as the cultivation of industrial hemp – Colorado – or the political alignment is decidedly left of center (New York, the mid-Atlantic seaboard).

They go so far as to indict the corporations for making war on the planet  herself. Headache! The payoff? Higher insurance premiums, highly lucrative disaster loans, construction contracts,  and war bills for repairs and renovations.

Here’s an interview with a State of Texas official who relates how local groundwater conservation districts receive matching funds from the state to seed clouds and conduct their own chemtrail seeding programs.

Like most conspiracy theories, the debate is spirited, vitriolic, and unforgiving. The silver lining is simple enough. According to a large body of literature, there are easily discernible patterns in the art and practice of disinformation.

Shelved storm clouds

Terrible swift sword

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Ft. Hood – An enraged Specialist Ivan Lopez argued with non-commissioned officers of his transportation unit about a request for leave.

Within minutes,” he “brandished” a .45 caliber pistol, then killed one soldier and wounded 10 others.

That “verbal altercation” unleashed an 8-minute rampage that left this self-contained military city of 100,000 in shock on Wednesday, April 2.

According to Chris Grey, the U.S. Army CID investigator heading up the inquiry into what caused the murder of three non-commissioned officers, the wounding of 16 other soldiers, and the subsequent suicide of the shooter, the “verbal altercation” began at the office located on the corner of 72nd Street and Tank Destroyer Boulevard, and involved “at least one” of the wounded.

Though there is no “confirmed” motive at this time, Grey told the world’s media at a Monday afternoon press conference here, Army investigators and FBI agents are still working to sift through interviews and witness statements of 1,100 people, 235 pieces of evidence, and the autopsy results that establish that after he fired 35 rounds, Lopez took his own life after a female military police officer fired at him. Her bullet missed its target.

The murderous path carved out by the shooter followed these lines:

“The subject then exited the administration building through a door on the South side, and got into his privately owned vehicle, that was also parked on the South side of the building.

“The subject then drove his vehicle Westbound and turned North onto 73rd Street. According to witness statements, the subject was traveling very slowly North bound in the South bound lane.

“Along the way – circled here in yellow – the subject fired his weapon from his moving vehicle at two Soldiers who were standing behind a building, wounding one of them.

“He then continued North and turned West onto Motorpool Road, and then turned into Building 40027’s parking area – circled here in green.

“Specialist Lopez then allegedly exited his vehicle and entered the building, which encompasses the unit’s Motorpool office and the vehicle bay area.  This is also where Specialist Lopez was assigned and worked.

“The subject opened fire and shot one Soldier in the motor pool office, who unfortunately died later of his wounds.

“The subject then moved to the motor pool’s vehicle bay area and began shooting, wounding two more Soldiers.

“The subject then returned to his vehicle and began driving East bound on Motorpool Road toward 73rd Street.

“While driving Eastbound – depicted here by the blue box –   the subject allegedly fired into the front windshield of a moving Westbound privately owned vehicle that was occupied by two Soldiers, striking and wounding the passenger.

“The subject then turned North and then East into the parking lot of the Medical Brigade,  Building 33026, – circled here in blue -firing at and wounding a Soldier who was walking outside the building.

“The subject then exited his vehicle and entered the main entrance to the Medical building. 

“Upon entry, the subject allegedly shot and killed a Soldier who was on duty at the main entrance desk and wounded another. 

“At this point, we do not know why he entered that building, and we may never know why.

“The subject then exited the Medical Brigade, re-entered his vehicle and traveled South on 72nd Street and turned East into the front parking lot of Building 39002.

“The subject then exited his vehicle – circled here in purple – and walked Eastbound across the parking lot where he approached  a responding Fort Hood Military Police Officer.

“Subsequently, there was a verbal exchange between the officer and the subject.  The Military Police Officer drew her weapon and fired one round when the subject reportedly brandished his weapon,” Grey said. 

“Autopsy results of the alleged shooter from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has confirmed that the subject was not struck by the military police officer’s fire,” Grey continued. 

“The subject then allegedly placed his .45 caliber handgun to his head, and took his own life. This entire scenario described lasted approximately eight minutes from when the first 911 calls were received until the shooter allegedly took his life and we received calls that the shooter was down.”

Investigators have not ruled out any terrorist motive, but “We have not uncovered any history of criminal convictions or previous criminal activity by Specialist Lopez,” said Grey.

Col. Paul Reese, III Corps and Fort Hood chief of operations, announced that President Barack Obama will attend a memorial ceremony at Ft. Hood on Sadowski Field at the III Corps Headquarters Building at 2 p.m. April 9 for the Soldiers who died from the April 2 shooting incident here. The ceremony is by invitation only.

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Cops detonate pipe bomb

To the taskClick on photo for an expanded view

Waco – Police and firemen spend a tense Monday afternoon dealing with an unexploded pipe bomb found abandoned in an ice chest in the 2800 block of Columbus Avenue.

An occupant of a duplex apartment behind a residence found the improvised explosive device and notified 9-1-1 at noon as emergency workers scrambled the McLennan Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad, Waco Fire Department and Police officers  to remove the deadly bomb.

“Apparently, the guy that lived there left it,” said Sheriff Parnell McNamara as he assisted officers in keeping order at the scene as bomb disposal technicians carried out the delicate task.  “We’relooking for him now.”

“It’s a bona fide pipe bomb,” Sheriff McNamara said.”It’s almost completely filled with powder and has wires running to it. We x-rayed it.”

The bomb squad placed the device in an open area between buildings, and settled down to wait.

When a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Agent arrived to investigate around 5 p.m., the technicians once again donned their bulky protective gear, fire and rescue workers surrounded the bomb with sand bags, and a few minutes before 7 p.m., the bomb exploded under controlled detonation with a muffled boom.

Authorities released no further details Monday evening.

Mutt and Jeff

Quality of life is an issue

 First in a three-part series about drug enforcement…


There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes…” – John Prine, singer-songwriter

Somewhere on the Banks of the Bosque River – Sheriff Parnell McNamara can’t contain his disgust as he explains why his department takes an extremely hard-nosed approach to drug enforcement.

He and some trusted members of his posse are sitting at an aromatic and roaring fire built of oak and mesquite and cedar in a pit lined with blocks of stone beneath a massive antique wrought-iron spit and rotisserie made of oilfield pump-jack “sucker rod” that uses horse shoes welded at various heights to hold a rod long enough to roast a cabrito or a fatted calf, or hang a pot of beans, or bury a dutch oven full of biscuits or chicken and dumplings in the coals.

It’s an item that his family has owned for more than one or two generations after a Rocky Mountain outfitter and hunting guide “gifted” it to his father, the U.S. Marshal. In fact, McNamara’s life is filled with items of great value, venerated family objects of utility that are cherished and used by generation after generation of McNamaras.

“We work these drug cases anywhere,” said Sheriff McNamara. “They don’t have to be out in the county. We work them right in the city – in Waco, McGregor, Robinson. Anywhere. We don’t care.” He gestures expansively.

Clearly, the others, each one with hair as silvered as the Sheriff’s, don’t much care, either. They know drugs are drugs, and their use brings grief into the lives of families everywhere they are found. Used. Bought. Sold. It’s axiomatic in the annals of human suffering, and it’s just down the streets, and around the corners where they were raised – and have raised families of their own.

In this circle, nothing else matters anywhere near as much as results. 

Then he began to talk about a case involving a young woman who lost her life in the bathtub of a sprawling luxury mansion constructed of Austin stone on a fashionable stretch of Rock Creek Road in Bosqueville – very near where his family has lived since McLennan County, Texas, was first organized, when in ante bellum times it was carved out of a much greater area vaguely labeled on Spanish maps as, simply, “Bosque,” or woods. It’s an ancestral home, a redoubt for a tribe of lawmen who have served as Constables, Sheriffs, Deputies, U.S. Marshals – men who rode with the fabled Texas Rangers – and every kind of federal cop you ever heard about – and some of which you will never learn. He and his brother Mike followed in his father’s footsteps, serving the U.S. District Court at Waco for almost four decades, as Deputy U.S. Marshals. They started as guards, helping transport prisoners before they got out of high school. 

“This girl hauled off and died in there in that bath tub, and she’d been in there for four or five hours,” he recalled. The others listened very carefully. He had their full attention. “So he called this other girl and she went in there and came right back out, said, ‘She’s dead in there. You’d better call the cops.'”

That didn’t happen right away. “When we were taking her out of there, we had a lot of trouble bending her arms and legs – she…” He stops himself, shrugs helplessly.

“What did he do? He sat there and played his guitar for quite awhile before he got around to calling it in.” As the hours passed, the drugs disappeared. “We had to wait for Waco Mortuary Service to get there, and he sat there on that couch and pIayed that guitar. I finally grabbed him, told him, ‘Look, man, there you sit playing that guitar and this woman has died…’”

“When they called me, it was in the middle of the night. When I heard the address, I said, ‘Well, that’s right down the road,’ and I got up and got dressed and went down there. We found her there, dead, and there wasn’t much doubt what had happened. She got some kind of old hot shot, but there wasn’t any evidence. Then, we got to looking, and here’s two empty syringes laying there on the bathroom sink.”

The perception of the growing horror began to appear on the mens’ faces. The young woman was no older than some of their grand daughters. She died a thoroughly ignominious death – alone – in a bathtub, naked, after injecting some kind of drug, and no one helped her. No one got her any medical attention while the man of the house, a man not her husband, sat and played his guitar.

These men do not travel that way. They don’t know anyone who does; in fact, you can tell from their affect and their startled expressions that they have never even heard or thought of such a thing.

This story represents as much of a culture shock to them as it would if Officer McGruff of the D.A.R.E Program (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) had paid a call at an elementary school to talk to little kids about any similar problem involving addictive drugs, or what those drugs do to people who use them. They don’t know it in their world. It’s like looking into some thoroughly exotic but decidedly filthy back alley in a land far, far away – in a place where time stands still, and God Almighty seems to have forgotten all about it.

They are nonplussed – spellbound. The Shireve – that ancient and honorable figure of the English common-law method of organizing a county, has their attention. He is instructing the men of his constituency in the lingua franca of that which they must know for themselves in order to make an informed decision. It goes with the territory, the lanes and channels, far-flung fields and dim thickets trod by the Shireve and his men, and it’s a very rough neighborhood, very abusive toward women. They and their children are thereby enslaved, neglected, deprived of nutrition and medical care, education, held accountable for the actions of others by a world unkind, harsh, unforgiving, a world with little time for mistakes, and even less pity for the mistaken. 

Everyone knows this. After all, these are the men who meet the payrolls, pay the taxes, develop the properties. They are not ignorant. It’s just not their job, and this is the only law enforcement official who is truly selected by their preference, the only elected cop in the entire system. What they know about the problem is its cost, and its cost is as abstruse and complicated and incomprehensible by design to them as the problem itself – and the system of police departments and federal grants and court bureaucracies and jails and penitentiaries and legislative committees and commissions and blue ribbon panels. Because that’s the way it is. And it is that way. What this man is saying is simple enough. Utilize. Don’t analyze. Use it. It’s the only way to get results.

He’s very good at this thing of signing them up. This is the moment, the time when there is no turning back. This is the hour when the posse is formed. There are ways of doing things, and this is how this particular thing is done.

Well, he bonded out, so we waited a few days. We got us a warrant and we went back a few days later,” the Sheriff continues. “Got in there, and there it was. Black tar heroin, all kinds of drugs. Just laying out in plain sight. And there were girls there, too. Young girls, underage. – I mean,” and at that, he’s overcome with emotion, I just hate these people!

So, we’re processing the evidence, and there he sits in the living room, playing his guitar. Looked out in the driveway, and here’s a BMW. Asked him whose car is that, and he said it was his, so we said, ‘Thanks for the BMW…Confiscated it. You can do that, you know. Then we had to go back again. His family wanted to evict him, so we called ______ Brothers and boxed all his stuff up and moved it out in the front yard. He said, ‘You can’t do this to me,’ and all along it was his mother who signed the eviction order.”

His listeners cheer up on that note.

Then there is the story of the microwave ovens – big, shiny, stainless steel outfits that look like the most expensive, el rancho deluxe model of Magic Chef in the catalogue.

I looked at the menu for the commissary, oh, it’s way more than a page long, it unfolds; there’s more than a hundred items on there, and here’s chicken cordon bleu, of all things, stuff like Alberto VO – 5.”

The problem was that the individual wings and tanks at the county lockup – an installation with a population the size of some small cities – were frequently without electrical power because the big, shiny microwave ovens would overload the circuit breakers, and corrections officers often had to wait for building maintenance supervisors to come and reset the system and check for any damage or overheating.

And that wasn’t all. They had TUPPERWARE. You could order tupperware, and they were bartering bowls of this and bowls of that, and I don’t know what all.”

It was either get the electrical grid upgraded at great expense, or just take the microwaves out. The McNamara administration decided the jail can get by without microwave ovens and elaborate cordon bleu menus.

His friends start to crack up. It’s a treasured McNamara story, one that won’t be forgotten soon – on either side of the bars.

Other Sheriffs bring prisoners in here from other counties, and those boys tell us, ‘This is just no fun, anymore. This is just no fun.’”

He mugs. His posse laughs even harder. Someone speaks up, says, “Sheriff, you of all people should know it. They are crying big, salty tears about the hard time y’all are giving them out there on the streets – and in the jail, once they’re busted.”

McNamara grins; his eyes twinkle. Then, of a sudden, his affect becomes dead serious.

Good!” He spat forth the word, as if it is an expletive laced with poison.

Later, he leads a beautiful little pony, a noble little mare with pink ribbons woven into her mane and tail, and she’s saddled with a small brown piece of tack specially designed to fit little bitty rumps, and bridled with a hackamore, and given as a gift to his grand daughter Emmy at her birthday party.

You remember that picture of me in the cowboy clothes and with the cap guns and chaps? I have it on my office wall?” He grins. His opponent in the decisive Republican Primary that assured him election to this first term went negative and tried to ridicule him over that picture and his image as a horseman, a mounted lawman. He got clobbered for it.

“That’s the saddle that was on that pony.”

His daughter Amanda, the mother of Emmy, says, “I rode on that saddle, on my pony, too.”


NEXT: How warrants of search and arrest are obtained…

The Cabrera residence

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Somewhere near Corpus Christi in rural Nueces County, Texas – Deputies arrested Gabriel Cabrera after he raised his hand to block an officer’s route to the family’s pistol range. He is charged with assaulting a police officer.

The peace officers responded to a neighbor’s complaint that shots had been fired. They wanted to know why, and how. To the Cabreras, it was just another Friday afternoon shooting their pistols.


The ensuing hassle is not pretty to watch, nor is it anything less than time-consuming. But there it is. Please follow these links to see the entire videos. The “precipitating” incident may be seen at 1:30  – Part 1:

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“Do you pay taxes on this place?”

 The arrest, Part 2:

It is a well-known fact that in the Hispanic community, it’s best to first consult with the father of the family before raising hell with anyone else in the house. Cabrera, Sr., was inside keeping the children out of harm’s way. That sounds like a pretty good idea, since everyone had their hands on their guns at beer-thirty on a Friday afternoon. He is seen on-camera only after his son had been handcuffed, placed in custodial detention, and advised of his rights. – The Legendary

‘Argument’ caused attack

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps Cdr.

Ft. Hood – Mr. Chris Grey is the poster-perfect Man In Black, right down to his wrap-around streamliined sunglasses, an Army CID investigator out of Quantico, Virginia, in charge of 120 others, including 80 FBI agents who have saturated this world’s largest military base and the surrounding communities searching for the answers to exactly why Specialist Ivan Lopez suddenly chose to attack fellow soldiers over a two-square block area in three specific indoor crime scenes and a number of others in outdoors areas at a quarter past the hour of 4 p.m. on April 2 with a .45 caliber semi auto he bought at a Killeen gun store on March 1.

Both he and III Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Milley in their Friday afternoon news conference continued to hammer at the fact that the murderous handgun rampage that left three dead and 16 wounded was not caused by mental health issues, or a medically unconfirmed traumatic brain injury the angry soldier reported himself.

They also claimed no one person or group of people were targeted.

The “causal” factor was an “escalating” argument between Lopez and members of his 49th Transportation Battalion; both stressed the seeming paradox over and over again in the face of increasingly skeptical questioning.

Other than that, all other details are part of an ongoing investigation; they refused to answer any questions in any substantive area beyond that fact.

Media shoguns refused to accept that. They seemed to sense a serious flaw in the fundamentals of what they are being told.

Asked if one of the indoor crime scenes was at the Chaplain’s Service where Family Recovery Groups meet and emergency leave requests are processed, Gen. Milley repeated his disclaimer that the matter is under investigation. He will not discuss it at this time.

And yet, there are numerous reports in the media about Lopez’ dissatisfaction with the amount of emergency leave time he received in a request to attend his mother’s funeral in Puerto Rico.

In almost the next breath, he praised an unnamed Chaplain who he said appears to have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help save lives, and others who responded “heroically” with little regard for their own safety.

Though he said he is gathering all the facts, he emphasized that he has made no hard and fast decision to recommend those individuals for decoration.

Throughout the question and answer session, members of the national media corps hammered at what they perceived as a serious disconnect between the bare bones facts and the top brass’s extreme reticence as to how one could be involved in an escalating argument and become so enraged that he appears to have retrieved a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire indoors at three locations, fired at random while driving a vehicle from one area to the other, and yet did not actually target any individuals in the murderous attack.

CBS Network News Correspondent Anna Werner asked the General point blank after he came to Mr. Grey’s rescue in deep water as two other television reporters fired questions and the New York Timesman Manny Fernandez peppered him with specific inquiries about when and who and why and where, all of which he answered in just as rapid fire as he received. It’s all still under investigation.

Here is a clue. The General stepped in and told Ms. Werner that there was “no specific traumatic event” on record, or as yet discovered, that he could have suffered in combat, or as a result of combat. Lopez served a 4-month combat tour in 2011 as an infantryman before his transfer to Ft. Bliss, where he was reclassified as a military transport operator and reassigned to the motor pool battalion at Ft. Hood.

Ms. Werner continued to pursue the question. She said “You’re saying the people involved in the argument were victims, but you’re saying they were not targeted. Can you explain?”

The General repeated his original disclaimer and went on to the next question, which was handled in much the same way as the next question – and the next question.

The out of town media representatives simply do not believe them.

One may hear for himself by listening to the audio clip:

The Army released the names, ranks and home towns of the three non-commissioned officers who died in the murderous attack, all of whom had long-term combat experience in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. They are:

Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Michael Ferguson, 39, whose home of record is listed as Mulberry, Fla.;

Staff Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38, whose home of record is listed as Aguadilla, Puerto Rico;

Sgt. Timothy Wayne Owens, 37, whose home of record is listed as Effingham, Ill.

One of the good guys

Milley and Cornyn

Killeen – The times that try the souls of citizen soldiers and their families begin this way. This is a community drawn drum-tight, its snares rattling with every vibration the world throws its way.

A U.S. Senator promises a thorough review of Defense Department policy on which servicemen facing mental health issues can own a gun, and where they can take it.

The commanding general of an entire Army Corps acknowledges investigation of a soldier from Puerto Rico who was disgruntled at the time he was given to attend his mother’s funeral after reporters hinted he may have gone to confront a Chaplain. It’s all under investigation, said the general. He reminded the media that Ft. Hood has a population of roughly 100,000, making it difficult to search each person and their belongings as they come and go on any given day.  

Dawn came on Thusday at Ft. Hood with the growing awakening of the rising sun on a new day in which mothers had to coax their children out of the car, to trust Army troopers standing by on security detail at elementary schools on-post. An Army wife recalled a little girl asking, “But, mama, is he one of the good guys, or one of the others?”

What others?

The ones who shoot people,” the child said fearfully.

During the hours before noon, a passerby noticed what he identified as a pipe bomb under the hood of a red pickup truck at a business located at 800 Gray Street. He contacted police who cleared the area between Second St. and 10th Street downtown. The people thusly displaced were taken to the Killeen Arts and Activities Center at 802 N. 2nd St until the all clear was given a short time later. Police would give no further details.

A major dude and his old lady passing by on the street high-fived each other. She cackled, “Probably some politically-motivated crack addict,” and they both cracked up.

At a press conference at the main gate of Ft. Hood, III Corps Commanding General Mark Milley appeared in a press conference with U.S. Senator John Cornyn.They both appeared to be visibly disgusted with sick-making news they dispensed.

General Milley released for the first time the name and rank of Specialist Ivan Lopez, 34, who according to witnesses on Wednesday, April 2, killed three and wounded 16 fellow soldiers before turning his .45 caliber semiautomatic on himself and committing suicide as a female military policeman drew her sidearm and “engaged him.” Lopez, who hailed from Puerto Rico, transferred to Ft. Hood from Ft. Bliss, where he had been reclassified as a transportation operator after an abbreviated tour in Iraq of four months in combat as an infantryman.

As the press conference began, NBC News revealed the report that the Smith & Wesson pistol had been bought legally from Guns Galore, an area dealer that also sold the FN Herstal pistol with laser sights to Maj. Nidal Hasan.

The news raced from mouth to ear among the throng of more than 100 reporters and cameramen with the speed of an electrical current.

Hasan mowed down 13 people before he was cut down by a civilian Department of Defense police officer’s pistol shots in Nov., 2009. In a visit to the store, a sales clerk assured newsmen that “We have no information for you.”

General Milley said that preliminary investigation shows that Spc. Lopez had not yet been placed in a medical unit awaiting a discharge from the Army, but that he was in the process of being diagnosed with PTSD, had self-reported traumatic brain injury, and was taking medication for depression and anxiety.

In a brief, anonymous interview at a local fast food restaurant, the same woman who related the trouble with getting the little girl to trust the soldiers at her school said she feels trapped at Ft. Hood, a part of an area targeted by soldier on soldier violence. “The Army tries to make you think they can cure this by pushing pills at you. I tell my husband it’s going to take more than that, but he just shrugs it off, says it goes with the territory…” They settled down to eat their sandwiches, and she said, “I had a bad feeling this was about to happen.”

The following is an audio recording of General Milley and Sen. Cornyn answering questions from a brutally critical phalanx of reporters and correspondents from the national media.


Soldier on soldier attack

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Ft. Hood – As General Mark Milley, III Corps Commander answered questions from the national media, he skirted the issue of allowing soldiers to carry weapons on-base.

“I’m not getting into a debate on allowing concealed weapons on base,” he declared. But the call and response pattern of the news conference bespeaks a greater dialogue both national and international, and the mood is ugly.

Soldier on soldier violence is the new jihad, and it is carried out in garrisons and forts and military installations throughout our nation – here, and now, not somewhere else, in a land far away.

For a few of the highlights of the general’s remarks, follow this link:


“Ft. Hood is a target”

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Ft. Hood – As Commanding Lt. General Mark Milley spoke to the national media, thousands of military families fought bumper to bumper standstill traffic as they struggled to retrieve their children from the more than half-dozen public schools located on this sprawling post.

They had been locked down since approximately 4 p.m., when a gunman opened fire on fellow soldiers and police sealed the base to those who wished to depart and anyone who tried to enter. During those five tense hours, a caller who contacted a local television news team on his cell phone described soldiers being led out of the Family Readiness Center, a help center that provides logistical services to families of deployed combat personnel, at gunpoint to a parking lot where police made them kneel with their hands on their heads before clearing and releasing them.

Throughout the emergency, “the big voice,” a blaring emergency speaker system, boomed out over the base telling military families and soldiers to shelter in place, to stay away from doors and windows.

Though he would not identify the shooter who left three others dead before a female military policeman confronted him at gunpoint and he shot himself in the head with his own .45 cal. Smith & Wesson semi-auto pistol, the general gave a recital of the grim facts of the attack, which targeted only soldiers in combat uniform.

Ivan Lopez, 34, transferred to his new duty station in February from another Army base located in Texas. He had served four months in combat in Iraq in 2011, and was presently going through the lengthy process of diagnosis for PTSD when he approached the headquarters of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), opened fire, then got in a vehicle and drove the short distance to the 49th Transportation Battalion, his assigned unit, where he brought the total of dead to three and wounded to 16. Gen. Milley acknowledged that the soldier was on medication for depression and anxiety at the time of the attack. He had not been assigned to the medical unit, nor was he going through a transition to exit the military service.

13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) relies upon a network of Family Readiness Groups that respond to emergencies and family problems in soldiers’ lives during their deployments overseas.

A Facebook page maintained by the command says, “The difference between a click and a bang is logistics.” According to a recent editorial in the Killeen Daily Herald penned by the unit commander, Brig. Gen. Clark LeMasters, Jr., “The strength of our Nation is our Army…The cornerstone for suppotr to our families and soldiers are Family Feadiness Groups. The witness who talked to broadcasters on the phone described “a building marked 13 SCE, “next to a little chapel,” where police were leading soldiers out to a parking lot.

In his wake, witnesses said, the shooter left panicked soldiers leaping over fences in an effort to escape as more than 90 police cars suddenly appeared on base, helicopters hovered and zoomed overhead, and SWAT teams from area law enforcement agencies reacted.

According to General Milley, the situation was contained within 15 minutes as base security worked feverishly for the next several hours to sort out the victims and witnesses. When the all-clear came at 8:50 p.m., the bottleneck began to clear as those who needed to leave the post were allowed to drive out and those who needed to get to their homes on-base were allowed to return.

Many unit commanders told their troops to return to their headquarters for an all-hands check-in.

As the newsmen readied for the live press conference, an anchorman recalled the horor of the handgun attack of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and the apprehension of Pvt. Jason Nasser Abdo with materials for making a bomb he intended to detonate in a popular restaurant, and said, “Ft. Hood is a target.”

General Milley said he is not ruling out terrorism, but at this preliminary stage of the investigation, there is no indication that Lopez’ attack was so motivated.

For highlights of General Milley’s remarks, click here:

To read about Family Readiness Groups, follow these links: