Willie’s pot case: gone for a song
By STERRY BUTCHER
SIERRA BLANCA – The Hudspeth County Attorney is ready to make a plea deal with the Red Headed Stranger.
“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,” County Attorney Kit Bramblett said this week. “You bet your ass I ain’t gonna be mean to Willie Nelson.”
Nelson was arrested November 26 after a Border Patrol agent smelled pot wafting from Nelson’s tour bus at the Sierra Blanca checkpoint. A little more than six ounces was found on the bus. Shotgun Willie was arraigned and on the road again after paying a $2,500 bond.
Thousands of vehicles roll through two Border Patrol checkpoints in Hudspeth County every day and finding pot here and there is pretty common. Bramblett handles 10 or 12 personal use cases every month. The 6.24 ounces that was found when Willie was arrested is above the amount Bramblett can handle in his jurisdiction. Well, no problem.
“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,” Bramblett said.
Actually, he explained, once you take the dope out of its packaging, the weight drops and that’s how Willie landed in the county attorney’s case load. Usually, those small personal use cases come from people traveling across the country on the interstate – they’re on their way someplace. If it’s a misdemeanor amount, like Nelson’s, Bramblett commonly allows them to plead and pay a fine and court costs through the mail. When the singer rolled through, County Judge Becky Dean Walker issued a mandate to Bramblett: “She told me you don’t dare let Willie Nelson plead through the mail,” the attorney recounted.
The fine will be $100 and court costs amount to $278. Bramblett said he’s in contact with Nelson’s lawyer. Next time the singer’s tour schedule brings the Honeysuckle Rose close to Sierra Blanca, Bramblett’s office will be notified and Willie will make a scheduled stop at the Hudspeth County courthouse.
“Willie Nelson is 77 years old and I’m 78,” Bramblett said. “He’s been my favorite artist all my life. We all know he smokes a little pot.”