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State Rep. Poncho Nevarez busted for cocaine possession

It’s been a week, hasn’t it? I have three things to say about this.

Rep. Poncho Nevarez

Authorities issued a warrant Thursday for the arrest of state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, an Eagle Pass Democrat, on felony drug possession charges. A state special investigator claims in the warrant, which was obtained by The Texas Tribune, that Nevárez was caught on surveillance footage in September dropping an envelope with cocaine as he was leaving the Austin airport.

A magistrate judge in Travis County signed the warrant Thursday afternoon. Nevárez faces a charge of third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Neither Nevárez’s office nor the Travis County District Attorney’s Office immediately responded to a request for comment.

Thursday’s news came hours after an affidavit detailing the allegations, filed Oct. 29 in Travis County court by the Texas Department of Public Safety, was revealed and later obtained by the Tribune and other news outlets. The affidavit was attached to a warrant seeking to conduct a test to determine whether Nevárez’s DNA was on the envelope. The document says that the envelope had Nevárez’s official House seal and held “four small clear baggies” containing a substance found to include cocaine.

Nevárez, who chairs the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, announced last week he was retiring from the lower chamber. And in a statement to the Tribune Thursday morning before the warrant was issued, Nevárez confirmed that the “news is true” — and that the events detailed in the affidavit prompted his decision to not seek reelection.

“I do not have anyone to blame but myself,” he said, noting that he plans to seek treatment. “I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.”

1. Nevarez had previously announced he was not running for re-election, which I think we can all agree is for the best. Sometimes, regardless of other considerations, stepping back in order to get one’s life together is the stronger course of action.

2. And I really do hope he gets his life back together. Addiction is a terrible thing, and it has real costs not just on the addict but on the addict’s family and friends. Even if I am grossly overstating the issue here – I am making some big assumptions – I stand by the main point about the personal cost to all involved.

3. I hope we take this as an opportunity to further reflect on how the criminal justice system handles drug usage and possession. I would not advocate for decriminalization of cocaine, but I would hope we would all by now recognize that a ten-year jail sentence for possessing a small amount of it is ridiculous and serves no worthwhile purpose. It’s needlessly punitive, exorbitantly expensive, and surely does not have a positive effect on addiction and drug abuse. And we should reflect on the fact that while someone like Rep. Nevarez is unlikely to spend much if any time in jail, many many people in Texas and around the country are not so fortunate. Our drug laws are harmful and woefully out of date. We really should do something about that. If Rep. Nevarez’s situation helps even one legislator realize that, then at least one good thing will come out of this.

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6 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    The Trump economy is so good that our politicians can’t even carry all the coke they bought without dropping some!

  2. Manny says:

    Trump economy is so good that more people can buy weapons of destruction and commit more mass shootings.

    Trump economy is not so good, wages are stagnant, while reports show more employment many of those recently employed are part time low paying jobs, such as uber drivers.

  3. C.L. says:

    I was in an Uber yesterday – driver had 6,900+ drives under his belt in a three year time. 30 min ride, chatting the entire way, and never once did he disparage his ‘employer’. Was driving a nice Toyota RAV4, was personable, was interesting, and I tipped him handsomely. For this guy at least, the economy was doing just fine.

  4. Manny says:

    C.L. there are always exceptions, so your point is that one guy that drove Uber did not complain to you is therefore happy.

    Plus if you bother to read, Uber technically does not consider them employees, but contract workers, so Uber is not his “Employer”.

    You can request him again and ask him what his full time job is and how much he makes an hour working for Uber.

    Why not leave your job and become as happy as the Uber driver since he drives a vehicle you seem to admire? He at least can afford a car.

  5. C.L. says:

    Manny, I don’t bother to read anything outside of your thought out, well crafted posts.

  6. Leo216 says:

    Oh Poncho… Oh Manny!