Environmentalists in Texas are standing by their leader even after it was revealed he had been imprisoned for various charges, including rape by force, and has been on the run from authorities for over a decade.
Protesters were shocked this week when Pedro Rabago Gutierrez, who went by Pete Hefflin while leading protests at the site of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline in West Texas, was arrested and had his criminal history and true identity exposed.
Gutierrez had not been seen since he was released on parole from California in 2002 after a long series of serious crimes. He was first imprisoned in 1984 on charges of forcible rape and drug possession with an intent to sell, according to the Houston Chronicle. …
[I]n November 2016, Gutierrez emerged as an environmentalist in Texas protesting a Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting over a proposed pipeline that would carry natural gas from the state into Mexico. He became a vocal leader of the protest, eventually rising to become the activists’ head of security and ceremonies. He also was made a board member of the Society of Native Nations.
Many activists at the camp are standing by the man they knew as Pete Hefflin despite the serious charges that brought about his arrest.