After more than six months, still no answers on pot found on VHHS bus

By Deanna Lucas Proctor —

More than six months ago, nearly 500 pounds of marijuana were discovered
aboard a Van Horn school bus that was returning home from Presidio
carrying student athletes. When the driver stopped in Marfa to begin
clean-up of the bus and allow students a break, he discovered several
duffle bags in the under-carriage compartments. He immediately informed
two Border Patrol agents who happened to be in the convenience store
where they had stopped.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in
Alpine took custody of the case and since that time, little, if
anything, has been disclosed on the progress of the investigation.
According to Sheriff Oscar Carrillo, the DEA is not communicating with
local agencies.

“Not once have I been contacted by the DEA who
took custody of the case,” said Mr. Carrillo. “Who better to know who
the kids are on that bus than local officers? I know every kid on that
bus. I know their parents. I know what they’re capable of. I know what
they’re not capable of. Nobody has even asked.”

This event,
however, has started a chain reaction in providing for the safety of the
students. Buses are no longer being passed through border check points,
and the canine units are now “running the buses,” according to
Carrillo. “Buses are now being checked — which is a good thing.”

The
schools have also stepped up their procedures to ensure something like
this cannot happen again. CCAISD Superintendent Marc Puig said that
safety procedures have been implemented including updating the basic
checklist for the bus trips.

One item on the checklist which has
been added is to secure the bins. More secure locks have also been
added in the bus barn area and drivers have been given additional
training. “We’ve done our part here and will continue to do our part in
keeping our area safe and secure. It’s in law enforcement’s hands. Let’s
just hope they get something done, Mr. Puig said.”

Dennis
McEntire, Presidio Independent School District administrator, declined
to talk about the issue.”I’m not going to comment at all. As far as
we’re concerned, that issue is closed, said Mr. McEntire.” When asked
specifically about his school’s security cameras and whether any video
had captured potential suspects, he again declined to comment. “This is
a Van Horn issue. If there’s something I can do — to talk to you about
in terms of Presidio and what a good place we are… [however], I’m not
going to discuss any of this with you.”

Although no information
has been made public concerning the active investigation, Bernard Bolf,
Resident Agent in Charge of the DEA in Alpine said progress has been
made on the case, but the agency is not ready to divulge any
information at this point.”