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Legality Of Willie Nelson Pot Bust Questioned

By Staff Report
Published On: Jul 15 2012 02:24:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Dec 02 2010 12:55:27 PM CST
EL PASO, Texas -

The arrest of Willie Nelson at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca last Friday for pot possession is not sitting 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 six ounces of pot were found. If convicted, the 77-year-old country legend could face extended jail time - the offense carries a minimum sentence of 180 days in jail and a maximum sentence of two years plus a $10,000 fine.

"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.

Read the full Rolling Stone article here.

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