Jesus Salgado Nanez (Brewster County Jail)

Jesus Salgado Nanez (Brewster County Jail)

West Texas Border Patrol Agent Facing New Charges in Sexual Assault Case

The Alpine, TX-based Border Patrol agent who was arrested in early June on felony sexual assault charges was arrested again last week and is now facing more charges, according to Brewster County authorities.

Agent Jesus Salgado Nanez was originally arrested June 3rd at the Border Patrol’s Alpine Station after a female victim told authorities Nanez had raped her while she was under the effects of pain medicine she takes for cramps in her legs.

Authorities believe the victim was sexually assaulted at least twice between December 2015 and April 2016. Authorities do not believe the alleged assaults took place while Nanez was on duty as an agent.

Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said Nanez is now facing four counts of “invasive visual recordings” after authorities later discovered what Dodson described as “really improper” images of underage girls on Nanez’s phone.

Arrest documents obtained by the Big Bend Sentinel show the sexual assault victim in the case told authorities her pain medicine makes her unresponsive to any movement or noise while sleeping, and that she did not and could not have consented to sex with Nanez while under the effects of the medicine on at least two occasions.

According to an arrest affidavit, authorities found sexually explicit videos on Nanez’s phone of the “passed out” victim, and the videos exhibited “a clear indication of sexual activity.”

During their investigation, authorities also found phone videos of underage girls being filmed without their knowledge while walking and while in stores.

“There were several hundred images captured on his cell phone of very, very young girls, that, you know, would have been invasive,” Dodson said.

“But there’s one particular girl he paid a lot of attention to, and she was unaware she was being photographed in particular ways.”

That “particular girl” is not the same woman who came forward with the rape allegations.

A Border Patrol spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Nanez is still on administrative duties, meaning he’s working in an office capacity but without his gun and badge. He was placed on administrative duties after the first arrest.

“I can’t believe the government does that,” Dodson said, reacting to the fact that Nanez is still employed. “We think that the government’s been sued so many times by individuals getting fired that they just kinda do what they do, you know, we can’t control what they do.”

The Border Patrol previously would not comment on the internal protocol for dealing with agents accused of a crime.

Mexican Police on patrol in Juárez, Mexico in 2008. (Scazon via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Mexican Police on patrol in Juárez, Mexico in 2008. (Scazon via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Amnesty International Releases Report on Torture of Women by Mexican Authorities

MARFA, Texas — Amnesty International has released a report that details physical and psychological torture of women arrested by Mexico’s army and police.

This reinforces the United Nations’ conclusion that torture is commonplace in Mexico. In April, a video was leaked showing Mexican police and soldiers suffocating a woman with a plastic bag while interrogating her.

What happened after the camera was turned off is unclear. The video sparked revulsion across Mexico and provoked a public apology from the Minister of Defense. The Associated Press reports the woman is in prison on weapons charges. Amnesty Int’l has released a report suggesting what was seen on that video is almost certainly not a lone event.

Amnesty Int’l  interviewed 100 women in 19 states across Mexico who reported violence during their arrests. All described some form of sexual harassment or psychological abuse, including misogynist insults and threats in the hours that followed. 33 said they had been raped. The report was released as Mexican President Peña Nieto traveled to Canada for the “Three Amigos” summit to meet President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As of June 29 2016, Mexico had not responded to the report.

– Lorne Matalon

Incident Information System photograph
The Coyote Fire burned across the high country of Guadalupe Mountains National Park between May 7 and June 17, 2016.

Incident Information System photograph The Coyote Fire burned across the high country of Guadalupe Mountains National Park between May 7 and June 17, 2016.

The Coyote Fire: A “Good Burn” in the Guadalupes

They were a homeland for the Mescalero Apache, and a landmark for Butterfield Stage drivers. The Guadalupe Mountains rise 5,000 feet above the desert plains and sand dunes in Far West Texas. The surroundings are misleading. The high country of … Continue reading

Nature Notes is broadcast Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 am and 4:45 pm.
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1. (Callie Richmond)

A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The clinic, one of 22 remaining abortion providers in the state, does not currently meet requirements that will take effect on Sept. 1. (Callie Richmond)

Don’t Expect Shuttered Abortion Clinics to Reopen Soon

While the Supreme Court handed Texas abortion providers a major victory Monday by overturning two key restrictions from the state’s 2013 abortion law, providers say they don’t expect abortion clinics that shuttered in wake of the law to reopen soon. Along with financial and logistical constraints, some closed clinics will need to be relicensed by the state.

“Clinics don’t reopen overnight,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president of Whole Woman’s Health, the lead plaintiff in the case, said in a conference call Monday afternoon. “We have a daunting task in front of us, determining whether and how we can reopen health centers.”

In a 5-3 vote, the high court overturned restrictions passed as part of House Bill 2 in 2013 that required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards including minimum sizes for rooms and doorways and pipelines for anesthesia. The court also struck down a separate provision, which had already gone into effect, that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic.

This means Texas’ 19 remaining clinics — of the more than 40 that were open before HB 2 passed — will be able to continue performing abortions. But representatives of Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health — two of the state’s largest abortion providers — said there is no timeline on when the clinics that closed due to HB 2 will reopen.


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Abortion rights supporters and opponents rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 20. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

Abortion rights supporters and opponents rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 20. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.)

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions In Texas

The Supreme Court has overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was predicted to close many clinics and further reduce availability of abortion in Texas; the court has ruled the law violated the Constitution.

With a 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the court reversed a decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which had upheld the law. Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, while Anthony Kennedy joined the liberal justices in the majority.

The case involved a challenge to a Texas law regulating abortion. The law in question has two key provisions, as NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported last fall:

“First, it requires that all doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion takes place. But because the complication rate from abortions is so minuscule, most abortion providers cannot meet the minimum number of admittances that hospitals require before granting privileges.

“Second, the law requires that abortion clinics be retrofitted to meet elaborate statutory hospital-grade standards, including wide corridors, large rooms and other expensive construction and equipment standards that do not apply to all other outpatient facilities where other surgical procedures like liposuction and colonoscopies take place.

“The provisions also apply to doctors who prescribe medication-induced abortions; such procedures involve giving the patient two pills and sending her home.”

The state said the provisions protect women’s safety; medical groups like the American Medical Association and the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say the law in fact impedes safety, Nina has reported.

Opponents of the law said the restrictions would block three-quarters of the state’s clinics from providing abortion services, meaning 900,000 women of child-bearing age would need to drive more than 300 miles round-trip to reach a clinic that provides abortions.


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Abigail Fisher, who challenged the use of race in college admissions, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court on Dec. 9, 2015. The Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas' affirmative action program in a 4-3 decision. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Abigail Fisher, who challenged the use of race in college admissions, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court on Dec. 9, 2015. The Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas' affirmative action program in a 4-3 decision. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Supreme Court Upholds University Of Texas’ Affirmative Action Program

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the University of Texas’ affirmative action program.

“The race-conscious admissions program in use at the time of petitioner’s application is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause,” the court held.

For the second time, Abigail Noel Fisher, who didn’t get into UT in 2008, was challenging the policy in front of the high court. Fisher, who is white, argued that she had been the victim of discrimination because of her race. She argued that students of color with the same credentials were accepted into the school, while she was denied admission.

The first time around, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of the program, but the Supreme Court sent the case back with new instructions on how it should approach the question. The appeals court reconsidered and came to the same conclusion: UT’s program was constitutional. Fisher appealed once again to the Supreme Court.

It’s worth noting that UT’s admission policy is complex: Most of its in-state students are admitted based on a policy of guaranteed admission to the top students of every high school. The rest are admitted using a combination of factors that include academic achievement and race and ethnicity. That part of the admissions process is what was being challenged in court.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, said universities should be afforded wide latitude in achieving intangible “qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness.”


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Tomas Martinez, with GLAHR, a grass roots organization from Atlanta, chants to excite the crowd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 18, 2016. Hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to show their support for President Obama’s immigration executive action as the Court hears oral arguments on the deferred action initiatives, DAPA and expanded DACA. (Lexey Swall)

Tomas Martinez, with GLAHR, a grass roots organization from Atlanta, chants to excite the crowd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 18, 2016. Hundreds gathered in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to show their support for President Obama’s immigration executive action as the Court hears oral arguments on the deferred action initiatives, DAPA and expanded DACA. (Lexey Swall)

Supreme Court Tie Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration Order

Dealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had deadlocked on a lower court’s decision to block the plan, which would’ve provided relief from deportation and work permits to millions of people.

The program was blocked in February 2015 by a Brownsville-based federal judge, Andrew Hanen, days before it was scheduled to begin. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction in November.

In a one-sentence opinion on the 4-4 split, the Supreme Court declared the 5th Circuit’s “judgment is affirmed by an equally divided Court.”

Wednesday’s order was immediately hailed by conservatives across the country.

“By going around Congress to grant legal status to millions of people here illegally, the president abused the power of his office and ignored the will of the American people,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement. “The president can’t circumvent the legislative process simply because he doesn’t get what he wants, and I’m glad the rule of law was affirmed.”

Democrats, meanwhile, said this won’t be the end of the road for the policy.

“Today’s ruling is a setback, but it’s not the end of the road for these much-needed programs or for the millions of people eligible for them,” said U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio. “I am confident that this case will come before the Supreme Court again.”

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced in November 2014 and could have granted deportation relief to more than 4 million people living in the country illegally — including more than 1 million undocumented immigrants in Texas. The program would also have allowed the immigrants to apply for renewable work permits if they have lived in the country for more than five years, pass background checks and pay fines.


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“Physical Altercation” in Marfa Leads to Man Being Stabbed 17 Times

A late-night confrontation in Marfa over the weekend resulted in one man being stabbed 17 times, and the 20-year-old Marfa resident who allegedly committed the act charged with a second degree felony.

According to the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrived at 300 W. Galveston Street in Marfa just after 2 AM Sunday morning and found that a “physical altercation” between two men – Paul Baeza and Luis Aguilar – had escalated into Aguilar stabbing Baeza 17 times.

Authorities said Aguilar initially fled the scene on foot, but was later apprehended at his home on W. Sacramento Street just before 3 AM.

Aguilar was booked into the Presidio County Jail and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second degree felony. He was still in custody as of Tuesday afternoon.

Baeza was taken by Marfa EMS to Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine, and later transferred Odessa for further care, where authorities said he was in stable condition as of Monday.

Emma Rogers on the same street where the stabbing allegedly took place. She said she heard people loudly partying near that location late into the night on Saturday.

“It was just pretty much like a really, really rowdy get-together,” she said. “The cars were just filling the streets.”

Rogers said she went to sleep and later woke up and saw police lights flashing outside. She said the next morning cars were still lining the street near the party, and at least one deputy was back on the scene.

Authorities said Aguilar was taken into custody by Presidio County Deputies John Subia and Mitchell Garcia “without incident.”

Citing the “open case with litigation pending,” Sheriff Danny Dominguez has not released any further details on the incident.

National Murrow Award

Marfa Public Radio Wins National Murrow Award

Marfa Public Radio is the recipient of a 2016 National Edward R. Murrow Award. That marks the first time the station has achieved such an honor.

The awards are given by the Radio Television Digital News Association and are among the the most prestigious in broadcast journalism.

The national honor was given for reporting by Lorne Matalon for his series entitled, “Towns on Path of Proposed Mexican Pipelines Suffer Rash of Violence.” It won for the category of Investigative Reporting in the Small-Market Radio Station division. The National Murrow Awards recognize reporting from calendar year 2015. These reports were first broadcast in October 2015.

For the story, Matalon traveled to the Juarez Valley in Mexico, southeast of El Paso, Texas. He found that real estate speculators – preparing for proposed oil and gas production – had forced an exodus of area residents.

“Lorne’s reporting revealed that people living in the Juarez Valley suffered during a brutal land grab,” said Tom Michael, General Manager of Marfa Public Radio, who also serves as News Director. “He has a wide lens. Lorne is able to weave in the long threads of politics, business, and history – and still tell a personal story for radio. We’re lucky to have such a skilled journalist on our team.”

The 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards recognize the best in journalism – radio, television, and online – both commercial and non-commercial media. They are named after Edward R. Murrow, a pioneer of broadcast news on CBS radio and television. This year, Marfa Public Radio was a regional winner in 8 categories.

The national trophies will be presented at the Edward R. Murrow Awards Gala in New York City on Monday, October 10, 2016.

Illustration of K2-33b (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustration of K2-33b (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Young, large, and in fast orbit: Texas Astronomers find New Exoplanet

This week Texas astronomers announced their discovery of a giant new exoplanet, which orbits close to its star. It’s a young planet: only 11 million years old. And it’s a large planet: 5 times the size of the Earth. What’s unusual is that it’s very close to its star, with an orbit of less than 6 days.

Andrew Mann and his team of 17 astronomers made use of data from the Kepler spacecraft and the IGRINS spectrometer at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. According to Mann, the planet – named K2 33 B – is “actually, pretty close. It’s about 150 parsecs, which is a little over 300 light years away.”

Mann’s team and a competing group from Caltech were looking for the same thing: young planets around young stars. “It took a long time to observe. And actually when we found it – at the point we found the signal – we weren’t sure it was real.”

But they didn’t have a long to observe. In a manner of speaking, the sun photo-bombed the picture.

“The star was behind the sun,” said Mann. “The Earth was not in a good position to observe it, too confirm our findings. And so we were only were able to prove it, you know, sort of quickly as it rose again (in) January (and) February. It took a little while. But we were able to get enough follow-up measurements to prove to us that it was real.”


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Blue Origin's "New Shephard" rocket booster lands back on the ground in West Texas on Sunday, June 19, 2016. (Blue Origin)

Blue Origin's "New Shephard" rocket booster lands back on the ground in West Texas on Sunday, June 19, 2016. (Blue Origin)

Blue Origin Sticks Fourth Reusable Rocket Landing

The commercial space company Blue Origin completed another rocket launch from West Texas Sunday morning, marking the fourth time the company owned by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reused a rocket booster.

The company’s New Shepard space vehicle blasted off just after 9:30 AM on Father’s Day from the company’s test facility north of Van Horn. Some West Texans and Blue Origin employees gathered on the side of the highway to watch and take pictures.

It was the fifth test since New Shephard first took flight in May of 2015, and the first time the company has live-streamed video of a launch, a step in a more public direction for the historically-secretive company that nevertheless still fully controls its own messaging and marketing – Blue Origin has never allowed members of the media inside its sprawling West Texas facility.

The test flight lasted all of about 20 minutes and was apparently successful. Blue Origin’s reusable rocket again landed safely back on the ground, as did its crew capsule. Employees narrating the live-stream called it an “impeccable” landing.


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The orange ribbon on a west Texas ranch marks the route of the Trans Pecos Pipeline. The controversial pipeline will ferry natural gas from the oil and gas rich Permian Basin of Texas to Mexico. The pipeline was commissioned by Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission. Construction is headed by a consortium that includes Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, led by CEO Kelcy Warren, and Grupo Carso, owned by Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim.  in 2015, Slim was ranked second on the annual Forbes' Billionaires Ranking. (Lorne Matalon)

The orange ribbon on a west Texas ranch marks the route of the Trans Pecos Pipeline. The controversial pipeline will ferry natural gas from the oil and gas rich Permian Basin of Texas to Mexico. The pipeline was commissioned by Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission. Construction is headed by a consortium that includes Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas, led by CEO Kelcy Warren, and Grupo Carso, owned by Mexican industrialist Carlos Slim. in 2015, Slim was ranked second on the annual Forbes' Billionaires Ranking. (Lorne Matalon)

Texas To Mexico Pipeline: Unfinished Business In The Big Bend

MARFA, Texas —Six landowners in west Texas have won a series of awards totaling in the millions of dollars against a company building a controversial natural gas pipeline. A seventh case went against a landowner.

The landowners are part of a group of approximately 40 people or landholding entities that are contesting compensation offers from Trans-Pecos Pipeline, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer of Dallas.

The pipeline has been designated by Texas state regulators as being in the public’s interest, specifically that this pipeline project meets the standard of “common carrier,” that it will transport, in this case natural gas, for any natural gas producer who has the money to pay for the pipeline service, without discrimination.

 With “common carrier” status comes the notion that a given project is in the public interest and with that comes legal power of eminent domain, the power to seize private land. Companies that exercise that power are obligated to pay compensation to affected landowners in recognition, in this instance, of the change to that land that construction of a 143-mile pipeline implies.


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Fri. Jun 24 Interview: Lannan Resident: Timothy Donnelly

Laura Copelin talks to Timothy Donnelly, who is an author of several books of poetry. The writer’s work has been widely anthologized and featured in several prominent publications like The New York Times, The Nation and The Paris Review. Donnelly is the chair of the writing program at Columbia University, and is also the poetry editor at The Boston Review.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Wed. Jun 22 Interview: Jason Amos on His Propane-Powered Hot Rod

Jason Amos is a part-time Sanderson, TX resident who just wrapped up a more than 1,400-mile road trip in his propane-powered 1970 Ford XL.

Amos, who lives in Los Angeles when he’s not in Texas, joined us to talk about the “Hot Rod Power Tour”, the history of his car and some of the benefits he’s come to discover of using propane as a gasoline alternative.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Sarah Hepola Book Signing

Mon. Jun 20 Interview: Author Sarah Hepola Live Interview & Book Signing

In a new approach for West Texas Talk tonight, join us live in the lobby of the Marfa Public Radio studios at 6:30 PM, as we interview Sarah Hepola, the author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, a best-selling memoir.

This Texas resident appeared on NPR on Weekend Edition and on Fresh Air, which also included this commentary. She also previously appeared on Marfa Public Radio.

Her memoir of her time as an alcoholic has a dark humor and an honesty that inspired a critic in the The New York Times to describe it as “Simply extraordinary. Ms. Hepola’s electric prose marks her as a flamingo among this genre’s geese. She has direct access to the midnight gods of torch songs, neon signs, tap beer at a reasonable price, cigarettes and untrammeled longing.”

Marfa Public Radio HQ is located in Marfa TX at 106 E. San Antonio (Hwy 67/90) next to Ballroom Marfa.

Sarah Hepola (photo by Zan Keith).

Sarah Hepola (photo by Zan Keith).

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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Fri. Jun 17 Interview: Lannan Resident: Amitava Kumar

Natalie Melendez talks to writer Amitava Kumar, a recipient of a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship and an english professor at Vassar College. They discuss Kumar’s latest work, Lunch with a Bigot, which is twenty-six essays that pertain to Kumar’s approach to writing.

West Texas Talk is broadcast live at 6:30 pm each weekday.
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One Ranger Joaquin Jackson

Iconic Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson Dies in Alpine at age 80

Joaquin Jackson died on Wednesday (June 15) at age 80 at his home in Alpine. His career as a Texas Ranger was legendary. His exploits were recounted in the 2005 book, One Ranger.

He appeared on Marfa Public Radio in 2008 on the program Voices of the Big Bend, describing his career in law enforcement. He began as a Texas State Trooper and advanced to the elite levels of the Texas Rangers, where he worked for 27 years, before his retirement in 2003.

Jackson quelled riots in Zavala County, ran into a shootout in Carrizo Springs, tracked a horse thief for a week, and participated in more than a few skirmishes along the Texas-Mexico border.

He served in the Marine Corps, attended classes as Texas Tech and Sul Ross, and was on the board of the National Rifle Association. He was featured on a well-remembered cover photo for Texas Monthly in 1994. In film he appeared as both an actor and as a model for other characters, such as for the Nick Nolte role in Extreme Prejudice.

His memoir, One Ranger, written with David Marion Wilkinson, was one of the fastest-selling books for the University of Texas Press. It was followed by One Ranger Returns, in 2008.

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