|Beaver County News
|No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)
|Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
|Beaver County News
. g Uncle Sam: pi j ' TTV 1 i Detective $ I Detective 2 I $ .... A 5. $ !! of Justice, o !! S By WILLIAM ATHERTON DU PUY I I M i 3 I With tlie Revolution Makers I i is Copyright by W- Ci. Cbupmaa The Isla Doloroso la In the Rio Grande a few miles below El :Paso. It is Mexican territory and is gowned by an aged ranchman named Jose Encino. If one should start a campfire anywhere on the island he would be running a monstrous risk, for so great Is the quantity of ammunition am-munition that has been smuggled thus far on Its way to revolutionary war .and burled, that any such fire might cause a huge explosion. It w-s in the moonshine of a clear November night in 1911 that a boat drifted down the Rio Grande from the American side, pulled up among the cattails of the north shore of the island is-land and was beached beneath a great Cottonwood tree that stood out against the sky as a landmark. Two men stepped ashore and waited in the Ehadows. Fifteen minutes later two riders splashed Into the water from the Mexican side, floundered through the stream that but came to the stirrups, stir-rups, and pointed the noses of their horses for the same huge tree. Near-ing Near-ing it they halted. "Reyes," said a voice from the darkness. "Gomez," responded a rider. I A small, dark man emerged from the shadow of the cottonwood and helped the riders to dismount. One of these latter proved to be a woman who was treated with great courtesy by the small man. When the horses were tied the four seated themselves , beneath the tree in a spot where the underbrush shut out the world. From the fitful light of an occasional match that served to light the eternal cigarettes ciga-rettes of these Mexicans, an observer, if it had been possible for one to : have been present, might have studied ' four interesting faces. The bearer of news and evidently the leader of the party was the small, dark man already mentioned. As it afterward developed he was Dr. Rafael Ra-fael Flores of El Paso. Doctor Flores, as the flicker of a match revealed, was a man of some sixty years of age, a thin, wiry individual with refined and . almost classic features. He was a practicing physician, a citizen of means and repute in the border city. The man who had come with him in the boat was named Comacho. He was short, square built, deeply pock - marked. He was notorious .along the . border, particularly in Lower Califor-. Califor-. nia. He was an anarchist and an expert ex-pert with explosives and was suspect-,-ed of having been connected with many deeds. The man who came on horseback was huge and heavy and wore always a red flannel shirt. He it was who had led the assault on Juarez when the troops of Francisco Villa had cap-. cap-. tured that city early in the Madero , campaign. He it was who inflicted . some of the early atrocities upon pris-.. pris-.. oners, who plied the torch and who had to be discouraged in his activities by even his bandit associates. "Red Shirt" Pena he had since been called, j His specialty was smuggling fire arms ; .over the border. He had sixty loyal j followers in the vicinity of El Car- ! men. j And the woman! Senorita JoseCa Calderon was the name by which she ! was known. She was from the in- : 'terior, was something of a mystery never entirely understood, but the current belief was that she was a sister of General Orozco. That uncontrolled un-controlled chief of rebels was even then stationed at Juarez in command of Madero troops and was vacillating between allegiance to the new president presi-dent and the leading of a revolt against him. Senorita Calderon, veiled, dark-eyed, slim as a cactus, was thought to be his messenger. "There is news," said Doctor Flores, I as soon as the party had settled itself. it-self. "General Reyes is in San Antonio. An-tonio. He arrived at New Orleans a week ago, came on to San Antonio where be was given a great demonstration. demon-stration. He has opened revolutionary headquarters there and every mail brings letters and every train brings messengers assuring him of support in overthrowing Madero. H3 has arranged ar-ranged for money to finance the movement. move-ment. The friends of Emilio Vasquez Gomez are busily at work along the border. The American financial interests in-terests in Mexico are back of us. We are to open headquarters in El Paso and begin the active organization of our forces.'' "But the money." said "Red Shirt" Pena. "We can do nothing until we have money with which to buy ammunition." am-munition." "The money," assured the doctor, "is to be immediately forthcoming. In that connection I have a mission for the Senorita Calderon. She is to go immediately to San Antonio to report re-port to the chief and to get the money." "When the money arrives," said Comacho, the anarchist, "all things will be possible. There is dynamite cached at Newman and more at Ala-magordo. Ala-magordo. Ramon Sanchez has other stores of It at Phoenix. We can start action at half a dozen points and wake every dozing peon in Mexico. But provide the money, doctor, and I will guarantee to wake up two nations. na-tions. There is little question of getting get-ting results either through the overthrow over-throw of Madero or intervention by the United States." "Likewise will the arms begin to cross the river as soon as they may be bought," volunteered Pena. "I have many men ready to travel back and forth and each will carry a gun and a box of cartridges each trip." "And the senorita?" asked Doctor Flores. "Can she go for us to San Antonio?" "As the senor wishes," said that young woman. "But where shall I report on my return?" "Back of my residence," said the doctor, "there is a small building opening into the alley. There are no windows. We will meet there." . After a long discussion of the details de-tails of the organization of the junta, this first gathering of the arch-conspirators broke up. It was a week after this meeting on the Rio Grande that Archie Dobbs, special agent of the department of justice, assigned particularly to the Mexican border to look after violations viola-tions of the neutrality laws, began to notice the frequency with which groups of Mexicans were to be seen engaged in earnest conversation in the streets of El Paso. About the Orndorff hotel there were in evidence groups of wealthy appearing grandees, such as own great ranches beyond the border. Idling about the Mexican saloons sa-loons were many big-hatted vaqueros, such as make up the armies of any revolutionary movement when trouble starts across the line. Dobbs went to see Juan Ortego. This young son of Chihuahua was one of the dependable men of Madero. "Ortego was a member of the personal secret service of the new president and his station at El Paso was regarded re-garded as important as an outpost of trouble for the government. "What is in the air?" asked the American special agent of Ortego. "Revolution," said the Mexican. "Who have they got?" "Reyes, Gomez, probably Orozco, possibly Villa," said Ortego. "Have you got an informer among them?" Dobbs asked. "No, I have failed in that respect," j was the answer. "Who is the one military leader that Madero can trust?" Dobbs wanted want-ed to know. The Mexican secret service serv-ice man recommended General Her-rera Her-rera at Chihuahua. He also stated that Doctor Flores was the Reyes rep-, resentative at EI Paso. Archie Dobbs acted at once. The department of justice has its special agents who will fit into almost any condition that is likely to rise. Billy Gard, for instance, had been assigned to this work on the Mexican border because of his knowledge of Spanish. ! As he was growing up his father had i served for many years in the consular service and Billy had become as a native of the Latin countries. It had been his pride as a lad( to assume every characteristic of the land to which his father was assigned and it was probably this dissembling that led him into the detective game. With a bit of a Mexican touch to his wearing wear-ing apparel and a covering of alkali dust he now became a typical son of the land of the south. Such was the appearance presented by Gard when, two days after the talk between the secret service men of two nations, he came into El Paso from the South. He .bore credentials from General Herrera which it had been possible for him to get through Madero's secret service man, Juan Ortego. He appeared much worn and dust covered when he began a search of El Paso for Doctor Flores. Having Hav-ing found that gentleman in consultation consul-tation with a party of ranch owners at the Orndorff hotel, he presented himself and asked for a word in private pri-vate with the junta chief. "I am from General Herrera," said j Gard. "I bring to you his greetings and these credentials which will assure as-sure you that you may treat with me in confidence. He bids me say that he holds General Reyes in a deferential deferen-tial respect which he gives to no other living Mexican. He awaits an opportunity oppor-tunity to co-operate with you." This news was, to Flores, the best he had heard since he organized the junta. Assurances had come from many sources of support to Reyes who, in reality, occupied an enviable position in the hearts of the Mexican people. But Herrera, the Madero general gen-eral who had been regarded as firmly firm-ly against them! His coming over was too good to believe. The doctor embraced the young man, according , to the Mexican custom, and kissed him first on one cheek and then on the other. Thus did a special agent of the 1 United States become a member of a ' Mexican revolutionary junta. Through Gard the department of justice soon ha'J all the particulars of the Reyes revolution as far as they were known to the El Paso junta. It knew that the aged general had been promised support from many sources, that he had been provided with considerable con-siderable sums of money, that arms had been bought in hundred lots from dealers all along the border, that these were being doled out to individuals who were to cross over the border at I a given time and form the nucleus j of the revolution. In El Paso some , two hundred men had already been ; thus provided. These men were be-; be-; ing maintained at boarding houses about town and were being handed regularly small sums of money. Gard ! mat every day with the members of the junta and talked over the details of these matters. In the little building which had no windows and which stood back of Doctor' Flores' house, Gard also met the individuals who were the firebrands fire-brands of the revolution. "Red Shirt" Pena was always there and was steadily engaged in smuggling ammunition am-munition across the border. The pockmarked pock-marked anarchist, Comacho, was maturing ma-turing his spectacular plans. Senorita Josefa Calderon, slim as a cactus, came now and then, with a message from Reyes or Orozco. Often she brought large sums of money. Gard once accompanied her to Juarez and used all his charms in an effort to develop a love affair with her, but in vain. He afterward learned that she was mourning a sweetheart who had died in fighting Madero and was devoting de-voting herself to this cause in hope of revenge. Toward the end of December the plans for the revolution grew near maturity. ma-turity. General Reyes was to slip out of San Antonio and across the Rio Grande where he was to pick up his recruits enlisted on the American side and those on the Mexican side who had promised to join with him. At the psychological moment Pena of the red shirt, and Comacho, the anarchist, an-archist, were to put on performances so spectacular as to attract the attention atten-tion of the world. Comacho had his dynamiting plans well developed. Personally he intended intend-ed to place a bomb under the international inter-national bridge at El Paso. An associate asso-ciate was to perfoYra the same service 1 - "A SPY! A TRAITOR! HE IS AN AC STA1 with relation to the American customs house at Nogales, and the consulate at Laredo was to be blown up. While Comacho was performing these outrages, "Red Shirt" Pena was to be busied in the fine art of murder. The sheriff of El Paso, Juan Ortego, and Archie Dobbs were the men against whom the capacities of Pena as a killer were to be directed. But failing these he was to run amuck and do whatever damage he could. Any representative of the American army, any Madero official, was to be regarded regard-ed as a fair mark. The object was to at least create a great sensation to advertise the new revolution, and possibly pos-sibly to bring about intervention. At any rate the border should be awakened. awak-ened. With all this information in hand the United States authorities were ready to act. They wanted, however, to time their coup in such a way as to have the most discouraging effect possible upon the revolutionists. With this idea in mind they postponed making mak-ing arrests until the last moment. The revolutionists were to be taken into custody by Captain Hughes of the Texas Rangers. There were some fifteen of the active plotters that should be arrested and the Ranger force was the best fitted agency on the border to cope with these. Every man was known to the Rangers and all were being kept pretty well Jo-cated. The manner of making these arrests was peculiar to this cowboy police of the southwest. The plan was that, when the time to strike should come, operations should begin at the little building without windows where the ringleaders of the revolutionists gathered. gath-ered. These 6hould be arrested, none being allowed to escape and give the alarm. They should all be put into a wagon, inclosed with white canvas such as is common in the southwest and which would attract no attention atten-tion in passing through the streets. This wagon, with two or three rangers rang-ers aboard and others riding carelessly careless-ly near it. should then drive about El Paso, picking up a man here and another an-other there until all those wanted were under the white canvas. So was it planned that a clean sweep of the revolutionists should be made in a manner of raid that might seem queer to those accustomed to the methods of metropolitan police but which was intended to accomplish its purpose. But as far as Billy Gard was concerned, con-cerned, the raid came near coming too late. The position of Gard, the American special agent, in revolution headquarters as a Mexican conspirator, conspira-tor, was never one of especial security. secur-ity. There was the danger of his identity being found out, which would not only spoil his case but might result re-sult in personal violence being done him as his associates were not men to trifle with. There was the difficulty diffi-culty of getting his Information to Archie Dobbs and thence to the department de-partment at Washington without this connection being discovered. Finally there was his part to be played in the arrests. Eventually the time came to strike. General Reyes had disappeared from San Antonio and was believed to be fleeing for the Mexican border. The order was issued from Washington to intercept and arrest any of the Reyes party that might be found at any border points. The trap was to be sprung at EI Paso. On that morning, December 22, 1911, Billy Gard reported at the windowless building at ten o'clock. Doctor Flores was there and was soon joined by Comacho, the dynamiter. Presently a ranchman from Sonora was admitted. Senorita Calderon was expected from San Antonio with additional funds, and Pena and other moving spirits were to drop in. "Is there any news from General Herrera?" Doctor Flores asked Gard. That young man reported that the Herrera troops would go over to Gen- 1 i ENT OF THE PERFIDIOUS UNITED FES." eral Reyes as soon as his forces started start-ed into the interior. "And is senor, the dynamiter, ready to perform his service to the cause of liberty?" asked the doctor of Comacho. Co-macho. "The noise we will make will be heard from Tia Juana to Brownsville," responded that inflammatory and enthusiastic en-thusiastic individual. "Pena is now on the street ready to strike," stated the leader. "This afternoon Reyes will cross the Rio Grande and, pish! the powder will be ignited." At this moment a careful knock was heard at the one entrance to the rendezvous, and the doctor, who always al-ways sat with his back against this door, opened it an inch. He recognized recog-nized the man outside and welcomed him. He ushered him inside and began be-gan his presentation to those already assembled. He was a revolutionist from Los Angeles who had but just arrived. ar-rived. The entrance of the visitor would have been of no great importance but for one fact he was from Los Angeles. An-geles. Gard had done much work 'n Los Angeles and a few of the members mem-bers of the revolutionary junta there had learned his identity. The visitor was- one of that few. If Gard were recognized he would be exposed and in this desperate company would be in a delicate position. The lieht la the windowless build-1 inf was very dim and' the stranger had come in from- the sunlight. His eyes were not adjusted to the darkened dark-ened apartment and he therefore did not recognize the special agent when presented to him. Appreciating the reason for this lack of recognition, Gard made an excuse for going out and approached the door. Flores again sat with his back against it. When the young man gave his excuse for wanting to go the doctor waved him aside and tated that he desired that he should hear the report of the man from Los Angeles. Gard dared, insist only to a reasonable extent. Doctor Flores would not hear of his departure. Quietly he settled into the remotest and darkest corner. The man from Los Angeles began to tell of the part he had played in lighting the fuse that was about to start a revolution. His remarks were addressed to Doctor Flores and to Comacho, the dynamiter, an associate of his. The man in the corner was given little attention. But as the talker's vision became adjusted to the darkened room, he turned his glance occasionally in the - direction of the special agent. That young man sat' as one hypnotized hypno-tized with the possibilities of the situation. situ-ation. He felt very sure that, as time passed, the visitor's eyesight would adjust ad-just itself and he would be recognized. His mind ran ahead and saw the scene that would then be precipitated. The thrill of it held him taut, ready for any emergency. It was the' third' time that the eye of the visitor passed him that it lingered- a- moment queationingly, and passed on. He looked at the dynamiter during a long explanation of some preparation prep-aration and then-his glance again returned re-turned to Gard.' By this time his eyesight eye-sight had" become entirely readjusted. He started forward, mouth agape. He sprang to his feet. He pointed an accusing finger at the special agent and fairly screamed: "By the Holy Virgin, a Bpy, a traitor! He is an agent of the perfidious per-fidious United States. He is a detective, detec-tive, an informer. I knew him in Los Angeles. He peeped into our windows and stole our papers. He has already betrayed you and the cause." A vile oath was ripped from the throat of the pock-marked dynamiter. The nervous little doctor sprang to his feet and started as if to spring at the throat of the special agent. But as he advancedthe found himself looking into the muzzle of a big American Amer-ican pistol. He recoiled. "Don't make a great mistake," said Gard. "What this man says may be true and it may not. Granting that it is true I am then in the best position posi-tion right now I could hope to be in. If one of you advances a step toward me I will fire. None of you dare fire upon me as the shots that would follow fol-low would expose you. Now sit tight and talk business. What do you propose pro-pose to do about it?" "Gringo pig of a spy, you shall die and be fed to the buzzards," hissed the dynamiter. ' "Mother of Mary, we have been betrayed," be-trayed," almost sobbed the little doctor. doc-tor. "It may not be as bad as it seems," argued Gard, talking against time.-"The time.-"The four of you should be able to get me if you insist on shooting it out I will get one or two of you, however, and the police will get the rest. I would suggest that it would be wiser for you to let me back slow-ly slow-ly out of that door and that you all beat it for Mexico." The little doctor stiffened stubbornly stubborn-ly against the one exit, but before this proposition could be seriously considered consid-ered there came a loud rapping at the door. The noise of it sounded as though it were made with the butt of v a revolver. The Mexicans present stood transfixed with fear. The knocking knock-ing was repeated with greater vigor. Then a drawling Texas voice sang out: "Oh, you greasers, lift the latch. This ain't no way to treat visitors." "Break it in, captain," called out Gard, who recognized the voice of the ranger chief. "This bunch is he.lf cap-tured cap-tured already." Then came the creaking of door hinges as though a great weight was being thrown against them and, finally, final-ly, a mighty crash. As the door came in nothing could be seen but the blank side of a thick cotton mattress. Few other things will stop bullets like a cotton mattress and it is therefore an excellent breastwork in an attack which is likely to be met by bullets fired through a door. This was not the first time such an object had been used in ranger strategy. Presently the head of a ranger peered cautiously around the mattress and a request for a parley was made. The Mexicans decided upon discretion and surrendered without a fight. Gard was thus relieved of a very delicate situation. The four prisoners from the windowless win-dowless house were loaded into the white-topped wagon. It moved on unostentatiously un-ostentatiously to other parts ot the city and around it the ranger dragnet tightened. "Red Shirt" Pena was found in the act of boarding a street car to cross the bridge into Juarez. He made fight but a ranger floored him with a blow from a big forty-five six-shooter. In two hours fifteen of the ringleaders of the El Paso revolutionists revolu-tionists were behind prison bars and any expedition that might have been launched in this vicinity was leader-less. leader-less. At Brownsville a similar dragnet had operated at about the same time. General Reyes himself succeeded in getting across into Mexico. But the leaders from the American side had been discouraged and failed to follow fol-low him even where they were not under arrest. The Mexicans did not rally to the aged general's cause after he entered his native land, as had been expected. Discouraged and heartbroken he surrendered to the Madero authorities a few days later at the little town of Linares, and his revolution was at an end.