EL PASO, Texas - A post on Willie Nelson's Website is asking fans to donate to the Hudspeth County Sheriff's toy drive - the same sheriff's office that busted him Nov. 26 for marijuana possession.
Nelson was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, Texas. He was then arrested by the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office for marijuana possession. Nelson has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor possession of 4 ounces of marijuana, punishable up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The amount of marijuana on Nelson changed from the original 6 ounces - a felony - that the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office reported on the day of the arrest.
"For what it's worth, we appreciate the mention and we're glad to take any donations for the children of Hudspeth County," Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department told Rolling Stone. "We think that's pretty good."
The post on Nelson's Website states: "Hudspeth County Sheriff?s Office every year takes donations to buy gifts for our school kids in Sierra Blanca ISD, Fort Hancock ISD and Dell City ISD, on December 13, 2010 Santa Clause will fly to each school and deliver the gifts. We would greatly appreciate your support.
Hudspeth County Sheriff?s Office P.O. Box 39 Sierra Blanca, TX 79851
Make your donation in the Willie Nelson name so that they know how much we support Willie."
Doyal was at the sheriff's office when Nelson was booked, and said he was surprised by the remarkable media response.
"He had a little bag of marijuana and I would never have dreamed of the coverage it got," he said. "Nonetheless, we've got a job to do and we've got to do what we've got to do. We handled it as easily as we could and still do our job. The man's, what, 77 years old? What are we gonna do to him? He was very cooperative and nice and pleasant to be around."
"I'm betting it doesn't go there, but that's between him and the county attorney," Doyal said. "We did our part. Now it's up to the lawyers and the judges."
Nelson's arrest did not sit well with legal expert Dick DeGuerin, a criminal defense lawyer.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, DeGuerin questioned the lawfulness of the search of Nelson's tour bus where the marijuana was found.
"It needs to be contested," DeGuerin said. "It's supposed to be a checkpoint only for aliens, and [agents] overstep their authority all the time. I've had several cases from that checkpoint and they just use the opportunity to check out anybody they want to. If you have long hair, if you're driving a van or it looks like you're from California or you look like a hippie, they do profiling."
Author-singer-political candidate Kinky Friedman told Rolling Stone he believes Border Patrol agents overstepped their boundaries and said it showed a lack of priorities because he claimed a drug cartel is taking over Hudspeth County, where Nelson's pot bust occurred.
Friedman joined Nelson on his tour bus for three days before the Thanksgiving break to work on a fiction book and said Nelson, "Rolls 24 hours a day. I couldn't take it - staying out all night, smoking dope. And I was the youngest person on the bus."
In January of this year, Nelson's tour bus was stopped at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol check point for five hours and searched, according to a blog post by Nelson's daughter at the time of the incident. The group received one citation, but she did not say what it was for.
That same month, six of Nelson's band and crew members were busted in North Carolina for allegedly possessing moonshine and marijuana in a vehicle they were in. They were issued citations.
Authorities searched Nelson's tour bus back in 2006 in Louisiana and found about a pound-and-a-half of marijuana and mushrooms. Nelson was charged with a misdemeanor.
Nelson's friend Snoop Dogg has spoken to TMZ about Nelson's arrest and he's got the country legend's back.
"They better leave Willie the (expletive) alone, man," Snoop said. "Willie Nelson is a legend. Sometimes you need to back up off of certain people and have a certain amount of respect for your elders. And Willie Nelson is our elder. Willie Nelson is my people. If you got a problem with Willie Nelson, you got a problem with me."
Since the bust, Nelson was also nominated for a Grammy for his covers album Country Music for Best Americana Album.