Willie Nelson drug charges result in a fine, court costs and a song
Last fall, law enforcement officials in Hudspeth County, Texas, made headlines across the nation when they arrested legendary country music singer Willie Nelson on drug charges.
Specifically, border patrol agents conducted a search of Nelson's tour bus on November 26, 2010, after they detected the distinct smell of marijuana during a stop at a Sierra Blanca checkpoint.
After the search uncovered slightly more than six ounces of marijuana, Nelson was placed under arrest. He was subsequently arraigned and then released after posting a $2,500 bond.
According to law enforcement officials, it's not uncommon for border patrol agents to discover small amounts of marijuana in vehicles traveling through Hudspeth County's two checkpoints on their way to another location.
In fact, Kit Bramblett, the Hudspeth County Attorney, estimates that he typically handles between 10-12 marijuana possession/personal use cases each month.
If the amount of marijuana in question qualifies as a misdemeanor, Bramblett typically allows defendants to plead and pay both a fine and court costs via the mail.
However, he was forced to deviate from his procedure when County Judge Becky Dean Walker learned of Nelson's arrest for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
"She told me you don't dare let Willie Nelson plead through the mail," said Bramblett.
Accordingly, the next time Willie Nelson is traveling through Hudspeth County, he'll have to swing his tour bus by the local courthouse to plead, and pay a fine of $100 and court costs totaling $278.
"I'm gonna let him plead, pay a small fine and he's gotta sing 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' with his guitar right there in the courtroom," said Bramblett when asked how he would handle Nelson's court appearance. "You bet your ass I ain't gonna be mean to Willie Nelson."
While the amount of marijuana originally discovered during the search of Nelson's bus - 6.24 ounces - was outside of Bramblett's jurisdiction, he indicated that once it was taken out of its packaging, it's overall weight dropped to a level his office could legally handle.
However, Bramblett offered another explanation to one reporter.
"Between me and the sheriff, we threw out enough of it or smoked enough so that there's only three ounces, which is within my jurisdiction," he said jokingly.
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