EL PASO, Texas - A U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas famous for arresting celebrities on drug charges has arrested a person associated with the rapper Nelly.
At about 8 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 10, a 2007 Black Prevost Tour Bus belonging to Cornell Iral Haynes, a.k.a Nelly, was traveling eastbound on I-10 when it approached the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint. Nelly was on board at the time.
During a routine check of U.S. citizenship the inspecting Border Patrol agent, a canine detected the presence of concealed humans and/or controlled substances emitting from the seams of the main entrance of the vehicle and requested the driver to pull into the secondary inspection lane for further inspection, according to a Hudspeth County Sheriff's news release.
The agent then asked everyone on the bus to get off the bus so that the canine could conduct an inspection of the vehicle. Upon entering the bus the canine alerted to a cardboard box. A further search produced a small plastic container containing marijuana, and 36 very small bags containing heroin weighing .64 ounces and a loaded .45 cal pistol, according to Hudspeth County officials.
At that time all seven occupants of the vehicle were detained and read their Miranda Warning Rights.
The canine then found a large green duffle bag containing nine vacuum sealed bags containing marijuana, weighing 10.4 pounds. It was found in an outside lower compartment of the bus.
Hudspeth County officials said that at that time Brian Keith Jones freely admitted that the controlled substances along with the weapon belonged to him and he was placed under arrest by U.S. Border Patrol agents and detained.
The vehicle and all subjects except for Jones were released from the checkpoint and allowed to travel with no further incident. At approximately 930pm the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office was contacted and upon arrival, Mr. Jones was taken into custody and transported to the Hudspeth County jail and is currently awaiting a bond-hearing expected to take place later today or tomorrow.
No other information is available at this time.
Other celebrities have been busted for drug possession in a two-year period.
"You would think after a few celebrities get busted here the word would get out before you go there they might want to throw the dope out the window, but for some reason they don't," Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office spokesman Rusty Flemming said in late September.
Willie Nelson, "Social Network" star Armie Hammer, Snoop Dogg, and most recently, Fiona Apple have been stopped at Sierra Blanca and transported to the Hudspeth County Jail after being arrested on drug charges.
Apple was allegedly caught at the Border Patrol checkpoint with marijuana and hash Sept. 19. Two days later she spoke to her audience during a show in Houston about her time inside the jail. She told them four of Hudspeth County's officers committed acts that were "probably illegal."
"(Apple) started this," said Flemming. "She threw the gauntlet down and all I did was simply answer her."
A few days after Apple's concert speech, Flemming shot back with a two-pronged response that was part press release and part personal note. Flemming signed off with the message, "Shut up and sing."
"It was really a nice way of saying, put up or shut up. If you have a legitimate complaint please, by all means, report it. Don't make veiled threats," said Flemming, who still stands behind both his official and personal statements.
"Miss Apple gave me the microphone to use," Flemming admitted. He hopes the star power might help to shine a light on drug trafficking in the region.
"The young people and the juveniles that are being forced into carrying loads of marijuana, the drug cartels, that's what the people buying the baggies don't see," said Hudspeth County Chief Deputy Mike Doyal as he showed ABC-7 the evidence room where Apple's small amount of hash and marijuana is kept.
Doyal said the singer's drugs are dwarfed in comparison with hundred pounds of narcotics that surrounds them. "It's not the baggy of marijuana we're fighting against, it's the organized crime behind it."
"When one little pop star or one celebrity gets arrested my office gets flooded with phone calls for a press release. That's pretty messed up," Flemming said.
Nelson's late November 2010 drug charge in Hudspeth County has still not been resolved, according to Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean-Walker.
"No Change," Dean-Walker said in an email to ABC-7 on Sept. 26 when asked about the status of Nelson's case. "The County Attorney has refused to prosecute the dope charge. It could still be prosecuted until the statute of limitations run out but (that's) not likely to happen."
Nelson's bus was traveling through the Sierra Blanca Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in late November 2010 when agents said they noticed 6 ounces of marijuana.
Nelson was arrested but never charged with felony drug possession.
Hudspeth County Attorney Kit Bramblett told ABC-7 in July 2011 that because he did not see the marijuana and because he questioned the way evidence was handled, he decided to only charge Nelson with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.
Bramblett said Nelson was ordered to pay a $500 dollar fine along with $278 in court costs as part of a plea deal.
In Hudspeth County, misdemeanors land in the court of Dean-Walker.
Dean-Walker said in July 2011 that she believed Nelson received special treatment and that is why she refused to sign off on the deal.
"To me, it's wrong" she told ABC-7 last year. "I think that he should be charged with something that shows drugs were involved."