Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas on April 6, 1975 · Page 3
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Lubbock Avalanche-Journal from Lubbock, Texas · Page 3

Lubbock, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 6, 1975
Page 3
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Page 3 article text (OCR)

4-A—IUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL—Sunday Morning. April 6. 1975 Dope Depots In Area Humming (Continued From Page One) craft carrying the contraband drug. Investigators have discovered that Lubbock. the Hub City of the South Plains, is also the "Hub CHy" of an international air-smuggling operation- Voyles describes much of that operation as "organized." "I'm not talking about the Mafia," he said. "By 'organized" I mean there are people who work together regularly to smuggle." he said. Behind it, all are big time dope dealers, who arrange for purchase of marijuana in Mexico in order to supply dealers — and ultimately, users — in the United States. There's no secret that it is a lucrative business. Marijuana .•sells for only $10 a pound in "Mexico. It's worth about $100 a pound around Lubbock. The weed brings as much as $200 a jxmnd in Chicago. Broken down into one-ounce "lids" the dope ultimately sells to users for twice that amount. Voyles said Lubbock stands in the middle of one of the major air smuggling corridors from Mexico into the United States. . „ "Marijuana Junction" TO MANY, Lubbock is 'Mari- •juana Junction" — the end of the international smuggling operation and the beginning of the illicit distribution throughout the country. Based on information secured by Voyles and his agents, here's the origin, route and destination of a t>T> ical load of marijuana that passes through "Marijuana Junction:" The weed is grown on small, remote farms near Durango, Mexico. Despite occasional — and sometimes bloody — raids by federal authorities, tlie natives find marijuana to be a profitable crop and well worth the risk. The journey to Lubbock probably begins by burro, \\"itn the marijuana collected from several farms gathered by a Mexican dealer who has received an order for a ten of "grass" from an American dealer at the other end of the smuggling operation. Transportation Is Factor ARRANGEMENTS for payment are made, and the marijuana is loaded in a truck for the second stage of its trip north — a 500 mile drive up Federal Highway 45 to Chihuahua City. Voyles, who •points out that smuggling enterprises are directly dependent on ease of. transportation, notes that FH 45 is the first north south highway east of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, making it a prime smuggling corridor. At Chihuahua City, the truck turns west and south on State Highway 16, a meandering secondary road that deadends in the mountains after about 10( miles. Voyles said it is on dirt tracks off this road where the air smuggling operation begins. One load confiscated by the Lubbock Task Force was picket up by smugglers at Gran Morelos, about 30 miles southwest of Chihuahua City. Meanwhile, preparation for the pickup has been Ion planned in the United States. THE aircraft to be used is an aging, twin Beech. The plane has two engines, ample cargo space and enough range to dart into Mexico and out again without refueling. Voyles said the smugglers jrobably secured the plane through a "false purchase" — a scheme in which the owner is iven a down payment in return for a 90-day tryout of the airplane. It is a common practice in the pin-chase of aircraft and, the owner believes, he has nothing to lose because the down payment is usually the same amount of money he would have received by leasing the aircraft to someone. In fact, however, the owner 'aces the real possibility of losing his airplane to Mexican or American authorities. Or, it could crash and burn. Securing a pilot for the risky trip isn't a difficult matter. In some cases, with the more lighly organized gangs, Voyles said pilots are actually on the payroll. However, in most cases :he pilots work for a percentage of the revenue from the illegal load. "They all know each other. A pilot may fly one trip for one dealer and another trip for a second dealer," he said. Keeping Pilots Honest INVESTIGATORS said dealers are constantly faced with the possibility that a pilot might decide to keep the whole load for himself. Paying him a percentage of the profit on the Scholarship Deadline Set SAN ANGELO (Special) Prospective journalism majors who plan to enter Angelo State University this fa!] have until April 21 to apply for a $300 MiHard Cope Memorial Journalism Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded each year to a freshman journalism major entering the University. Students receiving the awards as freshmen are eligible to apply for renewals each year providing they maintain a good academic record. Last year, three freshmen awards were given. Students selected for the scholarships must enroll in ASU as journalism majors and must agree to work as staff members on one of the campus publications. Application forms may be obtained from the ASU financial aid office. The scholarships are financed from the proceeds from a $25.000 trust fund established by the late Houston Harte and hi wife as a memorial to the late Millard Cope, publisher of the San Angelo Standard Times at the time of his death in January of 19frJ. On Jan. 30, 1902, an Anglo- Japanese alliance was formed to protect Japan against encroaching Russians. delivered load, plus the threat of retribution "keeps hint honest." Voyles said the pilot is usually the only person in the aircraft. The smugglers believe that the weight of an additional aircrew member isn't worth the money that can be made by using that part of the aircraft's capacity for extra marijuana. Voyles said there is no typical smuggling pilot. Freelance smugglers usually use young, law-breaking daredevils. The organized gangs employ more mature, experienced pilots. An acquaintance of a suspected air smuggler described him as an outwardly respected businessman, moderately successful and -the associate of some very prominent citizens. If the aircraft has only been recently secured by the smugglers, it is flown to a small airport and the passenger seats are removed to make room for its bulky load of contraband. Fuel Poses Problem MEANWHILE, the ground crew has been recruited. They've rented a trailer and loaded it with 55-gallon drums of gasoline in order to refuel the plane when it reaches "Marijuana Junction-" By then, the aircraft's tanks will be dangerously low. "You don't just call a gas truck out to an airplane loaded with marijuana," Voyles said. A landing site at one of the many small airstrips north, south or west of Lubbock is selected and as the ground crew prepares to position itself the pilot begins the carefully timed and risky flight. The pilot, his plane's tanks brim full, heads across the Texas-Mexican border directly for hihuahua City. The airplane is just one of many aircraft flying legally in Mexico until it fails to land and clear Mexican authorities at the Chihuahua City airport. The moment it disappears from Chihuahua City radar and lands in the countryside southwest of town it is illegal. Voyles said only minutes are spent on the ground at the rendezvous with the Mexican smugglers. "They can load a ton of marijuana in less than 10 minutes," he said. When the last big, plastic bag of marijuana is thrown into the passenger compartment, the pilot takes off on the most dangerous part of his mission. "If the Mexicans catch him. he is in really big trouble," Voyles said. Terrain Is Danger THE aircraft is also loaded to the limit and, because of the low-level flying in rugged terrain that is to follow there is a danger of consuming too much fuel and being forced to land r smashing into a mountain side A veteran of countless legiti mate flights into and out of Mexico said there are several places where an aircraft can slip across the border without notice. All that is required, in the West Texas and New Mexico area, is to keep mountains between the aircraft and radar facilities at El Paso. One such place, according to the pilot, is almost due south of Deming, N.M. "If you came through low tnough, the first tone the (El Paso) radar would pick up would be when you were already in New Mexico- They wouldn't have any idea where you came from," he said. Smugglers heading for Marijuana Junction, however, use a different route — ironically, an illicit border crossing spot as old as the Texas-Mexico border tself. From the Chihuahua City area, the smuggler — flying low — heads for a gap in the mountains of the Big Bend area. Here the mountains shield his airplane from radar units at El Paso. Gap Leads To Funnel VOYLES said the pilots time the operation to reach the mountains at dusk. Threading Five Flights Intercepted Agents of the Lubbock Task Force of the Drug Enforcement Administration along with local authorities have intercepted ive accused air smugglers since the first of the year. —Feb. 19, 1,560 pounds of marijuana was confiscated and three men arrested at Lamesa airport. —Feb. 14, 560 pounds of marijuana were confiscated at the 3rownfield airport but no ar rests were made. —Feb. 6, 1,500 pounds of mar- juana were confiscated and :hree men arrested at Colorado ty after a gunfight. -Jan. 18, 1,400 pounds of marijuana were confiscated by Dawson County authorities at Lamesa airport. —March 25, 330 pounds of marijuana were confiscated and two men arrested at the Abernathy airport. Bnerctofl 5302 Avenue Q Suburban 4908 • 5ft b A\V DUJfYEC AL It's time ogoin for Payne's Jewelers annual April "Diamond Dusfer" Sale. Through the cooperation of our New York diamond suppliers, Payne's has again obtained a large selection of loose diamonds on memoranum from which you may choose. Payne's is offering these diamonds in the month of Aprilat 20% off the regular market value. All popu ?r shapes of diamonds are included in this sole. Payne's Jewelers has only one sale a year and Ihis is it. Below are but a few of the listings. SHAPE Pear Room) Round Pear Pear Morqus* Marquise Emerald Cul Round Round Round Round Round Round Round Round Round Round WEIGHT $.58, 3.8X 2.76 .4<S .35 .63 .32 .80 1.48 .98 1.05 .95 .50 .50 .33 JO .26 .27 MARKET VAIUE S3O20 12.J4S 8JOO 795 400 7.040 405 1,360 4435 995 2035 6500 270 1)30 155 350 115 235 SALE PRICE 577.456 9,956 6,800 636 320 832 374 1,088 3548 796 1628 5200 216 904 124 280 92 188 DIAMONDS - COLD - PRECIOUS OEMS MCMMft AMERICAN CtM SOCIETY his way through the mountains, the pilot knows the aircraft is shielded from El Paso radar to the west. Straight ahead, the Davis Mountains blank out Midland-Odessa radar. Once out of the protection of the mountains, the smuggler's airplane is just another blip on the radar screen. If an alert radar operator becomes suspicious, the smuggler could be in trouble. But most often his aircraft is considered to be just another of the many legal private aircraft flying in the area. In about an hour, the air smuggler is landing at the small airport near Lubbock. The selected field is usually lighted, but unattended at night. Runway lights, however, aren't absolutely necessary for the smuggler. An experienced pilot can make a reasonably safe landing with the runway lighted only by headlights of a car. Wichita, Is Target IN SOME cases, the marijuana is removed from the aircraft for transportation by vehicle to such places as Dallas or Denver. However, according to Voyles, the aircraft is probably quickly refueled and continues northward"We believe most of it goes to the Wichita, Kan., area," he said. From tiiat point, the marijuana can more or less be easily distributed in relative safety. Maps confiscated from air smugglers caught by Voyles' agents indicate they had made flights — or planned flights — to Denver, Oiicago, Detroit, New York City, Washington, D. C., Atlanta, Dallas and Miami. Voyles said there is nothing new about air smuggling — and the Lubbock "connection" has been around for quite a while. "It's probably been going on for a long time. They are getting attention now because we have begun to catch them," he said. JCPenney Sale 9.59 Reg. 11.99. Suede wedge sandal. The straps and insole are real leather, the outsole a durable synthetic, natural, only Sizes 5-9,10. Sale prices effective thru Wed. April 9. Our 'Festival' perm, Special 8.44 Mon., Tues., Wed., only! Perm includes shampoo, style set (Not recommended for color treated hair.) Hair cut only J 2 Special cut, 6.8 8 Our blower cut includes shampoo and a special conditioner. Reg. 9.25 No appointment necessary. Charge it. Solon hour* 8 am til 7 pm Monday thru Sturday Tel. 792-6841 - ext. 250 FLOW OF MARIJUANA — Staff drawing by Celeste Loueks traces routes that marijuana smuggled into the United States from Mexico takes once it reaches Lubbock, dubbed "Atarijuana Junction" in some circles. Officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration here believe the city is the hub of an international air smuggling operation. JCPenney Hurry to our diamond sale. 20% off every sparkling one. Sate 104.00 Sale500.00 Sale380.00 Reg. $130. Man's diamond ring set in 14 Kgold has a 'double 1 band effect. Reg. $625.Half-carat solitaire engagement ring in 4-prong 14K gold Tiffany' setting. Reg. $475.Wide 14K gold wedding band with 1/3 carat diamond in 4 prong setting. Sale 296.00 Sale 84.00 Reg. $370 Snowflaka Reg. $ lOS.Single- ring has 16 diamonds diamond cocktail ring surrounding a center with 14K gold stone; 14Kgold. 'rosebud'mounting. Sale 300.00 Reg. $375 .One quarter carat diamond bridal set with matching 14K gold criss-cross bands. Sale 232.00 Sale 92.00 Reg. $290.14K gold Reg. $115 Two heart-shaped pendant diamonds sparkle on outlined with 16 14K gold earrings for diamonds, pierced ears. Safe 300.00 .Reg. $375.Man's 14K gold ring with seven diamond? in a square shape selling. Sate34oB Sate Sagoo »ea.«43S niamn^ D— ccoe »j._.- r***"* •^•»«W Keg. $425.Diamond engagement ring and 14K gold matching bands, Reg. $525. Man's diamond ring set In 14K gold. Mounted on 'grooved' top. c .u South Jofe price* effective through Saturday April 25. ,, JCP«nr»y c horg« ottount. Mall . . . Shop 10 a.m. 'til 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Reg. $180. Diamond and ruby pendant set in 14K gold 'snowflake 1 design.'

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