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Democrat Texas lawmaker charged with felony cocaine possession
A top Democrat in the Texas state legislature turned himself in to law enforcement authorities on Thursday and is now facing a charge of felony possession of cocaine, Fox News reported.
Rep. Poncho Nevarez, a Democrat who represents Eagle Pass, was reportedly arrested, fingerprinted, photographed, and then released on a $10,000 bond following allegations that he dropped an envelope containing small baggies of powder cocaine at the Austin airport in September.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Nevarez has admitted that it was “true” that the illicit drugs were his and that he was prepared to accept the consequences of his actions, in addition to his announced plan to seek treatment for his addiction.
“I do not have anyone to blame but myself,” the disgraced lawmaker said in a statement released to the media, Fox reported. “I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.”
The Texas Tribune noted that the shocking news of his arrest came a little more than a week after Nevarez had inexplicably deactivated his social media accounts and, days later, surprisingly announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2020.
Nevarez currently serves as the chairman of the Texas House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and is the vice-chair and ranking Democrat on a recently formed special select committee tasked with gun violence and mass shootings.
Nevarez faces a charge of third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
According to the arrest warrant filed in Travis County, surveillance cameras at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport captured Nevarez on video as he dropped an envelope — emblazoned with Nevarez’s official House seal — which contained four small baggies of cocaine that collectively weighed around two grams.
The Fox affiliate in Austin reported that a judge granted an order to collect a sample of Nevarez’s DNA, which upon testing revealed that the lawmaker had “licked and sealed” the envelope containing the baggies of drugs. That envelope had initially been recovered by two airport employees who turned it over to the police.
Troubles continue to mount
The Tribune reported that, following the news of his arrest, some of Nevarez’s fellow committee chairs were discussing whether to strip him of his committee assignments and leadership posts.
Further, they discussed the possibility of referring Nevarez to the General Investigative Committee to “determine if any additional Texas laws or rules of the Texas House have been violated.”
This is nothing short of embarrassing for Texas Democrats and Nevarez’s colleagues would be wise to distance themselves from his criminal behavior, lest it ends up dragging them down as the 2020 elections draw near — something that may already be unavoidable.
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