Thursday, November 21, 2019

¡Poncho! Livin' too large

It would be easy to take shots at Texas state Rep. Poncho Nevarez, a front runner among Texas Monthly's list of Worst Legislators of 2019, after he dropped four packets of cocaine in an envelope with his name printed on it while leaving the Austin airport and was charged with a 3rd degree felony. So let's do that now.

First, who transports cocaine in their personalized stationary? I suppose it's a tad more secure than lugging it through the airport in a satchel stamped with, "THIS IS WHERE I KEEP MY COCAINE." One imagines the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee chairman getting to his final destination and consuming the product using a monogrammed crack pipe.

When captured on video dropping the cocaine, Nevarez was getting into a black SUV owned by his chief of staff in a special section of the airport used by state officials, having flown into Austin on a private plane owned by his solo-practitioner law firm. When you think about it, that's awfully convenient for government officials who want to smuggle drugs or anything else. No long line through a phalanx of drug dogs sniffing your stuff, no X-ray machine or questions from nosy TSA agents who might open your bags. Must be nice.

Still, an envelope with a Texas legislator's name on it isn't a diplomatic pouch. So when airport staff found the envelope, they opened it, found Poncho's blow, and we're off to the races.

In a way, the chairman is still getting the benefit of the doubt. Normally, cops might assume the guy in the fancy suit and flashy watch who brings drugs from the border in user-level packaging via private aircraft through an insecure part of the airport before being picked up by a driver in a black SUV might be a drug dealer. Maybe there was more cocaine in other envelopes, they might have surmised, and a flurry of search warrants, ancillary investigations, and even asset-forfeiture claims might ensue.

In Austin, though, everyone seems comfortable the dope was all for him. Two grams sounds like just a travel-size amount of nose candy for a guy living that large.

Nevarez said that, in a "weird" way, he was "grateful" he was caught. I feel the same.

As a policy matter, Grits believes Texas should reduce the penalty for possession of that quantity of cocaine to a misdemeanor charge and addicts should receive treatment, not incarceration. But I've little sympathy for a lawmaker who never lifted a finger to help with that agenda, attempts to thwart #cjreform bills that come before him, then is outed as a hypocrite.

Plus, Nevarez operated the Homeland Security committee with the demeanor of a snide frat boy. Texas Monthly's assessment  of his performance was that he "sorely needed less testosterone and more humility."

Grits wishes him no special ill, but neither does he deserve special treatment. And I'm relieved he won't return to the capitol in 2021.

Poncho Nevarez is the kind of Democrat who would make bipartisan #cjreform efforts necessary even if the whole Legislature turned blue. Maybe Eagle Pass Dems can find a #cjreform proponent to replace him.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This incident seems to show us what all (ok most) democrat lawmakers think of the law. It applies to everybody but me. The elite elected class believe we the people should do as they say, and don't hold then accountable for what we do!!

BarkGrowlBite said...

Scott, I agree with you about this jerk, but I disagree with you about changing possession of coke to a misdemeanor. Such a move would not discourage the use of cocaine.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Clearly, making it a felony hasn't discouraged cocaine use, either, BGB. Apparently, addicts don't check the penal code bf consuming illegal drugs. Who'da thought?

@11:38, if you think it's only Dems who behave that way, in a state run nearly entirely by Republicans, you've got another think coming.

Steven Michael Seys said...

Having seen the results of locking addicts in prison first hand, I agree that some method of intervention other than incarceration must be found. Prison has turned into an addict's playground, with drugs more readily available than most neighborhoods on the street. Prison guards do not make drug busts a priority because it would mean arresting a fellow guard for a second degree felony in the vast majority of cases. But I still believe some sort of criminal stigma should attach. If we say, "Poor baby, did the big bad drug monster eat you? Let me kiss it and make it better," most of these addicts will think nothing of it, and once sober, find another, more secure way to obtain and use their chemical of choice.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@Steven - misdemeanor still = "criminal stigma." Just avoids the life-long "felon" tag, and also risk of incarceration in state prisons, where treatment is risibly scarce.

Make me Philosopher King and addiction would be treated solely as a public-health issue, not something for criminal courts at all. But bc things are so bad now, with little near-term prospect for change in TX, I'll settle for harm-reduction, which to me starts with ↓ possession penalties to a misdemeanor. That would avoid many (but not all) of the worst unintended consequences of this misguided approach.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it odd that the only place in the entire country where cocaine possession is a misdemeanor is the nation's capitol Washington, D.C.? Code Section 48-901.02 et seq., 48-904.01 et seq.

Yet Republican politicians across the nation continue to create harsher penalties for anyone outside of their stomping grounds: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/01/27/trey-radel-resign-congress-cocaine/4934741/

Anonymous said...

Poncho should have consulted a professional. Ex Narc teaches how to Sneak Weed Through An Airport.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Idj32U6A-Q&feature=youtu.be

Gunny Thompson said...

From Unfiltered Minds of Independent Thinkers of the 3rd Grade Dropout Section:

The real trug traffickers are not Brothers and Sisters who are engaging in our small business free enterprise system, it's those who are regulating the importation of drugs into this country that are the problem. As long as Wall Street, Bankers, the CIA, DEA and others are the gate keepers controlling drugs into this country, for the most part, there will always be restrictions and or taxes that benefit this Fascist Regime.Just Saying!!

BarkGrowlBite said...

Scott, stop being an idiot. I've dealt with hundreds of drug users and addicts, and while they may not have read the penal code, almost all of them were aware of the penalties. And a good number of them cleaned up because they did not want to go back to prison. Reducing cocaine possession to a misdemeanor removes the incentive to stop using it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BGB, all the boorish name calling becomes tiring, have a little self respect. You're not 12 years old.

Most people who stop using drugs do NOT do so because of anything the criminal justice system does. And the "felony" tag harms them decades after the addiction is gone. I'd say you'd have to be an idiot not to understand that - it certainly seems that way to me - but instead, why don't we both try to play nice?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:21, that's not true. Oklahoma has reduced penalties to a misdemeanor, and I'm pretty sure they're not the only one.

Anonymous said...

Quantify "a good number" for those of us who are actually held accountable for the results of our work.

Anonymous said...

A little cocaine once in a while never hurt anyone. It was legal for centuries and should be legal now.

BarkGrowlBite said...

OK Scott, I'm willing to play nice but it's hard for me to respect you with the anti-police attitude you often display.

You are right that "the 'felony' tag harms them decades after the addiction is gone." But that is a consequence when someone willfully breaks the law.

But a lot of addicts who have been imprisoned stop using drugs, not because of any drug treatment program, but because they do not want to go back to prison. Numerous heroin addicts have told me something to the effect of "I'm tired of going in and out of prison" when I asked them why they stayed clean.

And how about the countless people who do not use drugs to begin with because of the severe criminal justice penalties for the use of illegal substances. Reducing those penalties would also reduce the deterrence to drug use.





Gritsforbreakfast said...

BGB, if it's so hard for you to respect me - or for that matter, to behave as though you have even a smidgen of self respect - I'm not sure why you visit here, much less choose to engage.

The overwhelming majority of ppl who quit using drugs haven't even ever been arrested. Some individuals may have said such things to you, but as a practical matter, most drug users who quit don't do so bc of jail they quit because of the effect addiction has on their lives. And jailing them over and over before they get to the point where they're ready to change doesn't help anything or anyone. It just damages the possibility of rebuilding their lives once addiction has been kicked.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again Cato the Officer.

BGB doesn't worry about rebuilding lives because only people have lives, these are Criminals we're talking about here.

Next time you think you hear the "war on cops" dog whistle, it's still just going to be your tinnitus.

George said...

BGB evidently doesn't respect anyone but himself and his brethren who carry a gun and can, in many cases, legally take a citizens life without a whole lot consequences. This may be one of the only place he can come to and vent his frustration.

As a frequent visitor to GFB, I've tolerated BGB's ignorance and called him out on some of his comments before. I respect him as a human being but that's about as far as it goes. I hope he wakes up one day and sees the reality of what his line of thinking has gotten our country into --- I won't hold my breath.

BarkGrowlBite said...

Scott,my police officer friends have long bashed me for reading your anti-police blog. So thanks for uninviting me. As for all the police haters that you cater to, like George and Oil Lease and hundreds of others who accuse cops of being murderers on your blog, they can go and screw themselves. Adios Asshole!

DK3 Mack said...

I stop here at GFB often, I just don't understand BGB's non-stop attempts at conflict. Relentless, egregious, mean spirited, obvious trolling. WHY?

Anonymous said...

Ok boomer

Anonymous said...

BGB:

So Cops murdered 1) Couple in Houston in no knock raid, 2) Lady in her home during wellness check in Fort Worth, 3) Man in his apartment in Dallas, 4) Teens leaving party near Dallas.

I'm sure there's lots more I've forgotten.

Explain to me why a reasonable person wouldn't believe cops are murderers?

Adios yourself asshole.

Anonymous said...

BGB is like the Terminator "He'll be back". I will say this..he seems to be fairly intelligent..But then again so was Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ted Bundy and lots of other psychopaths and sociopaths. You will never change his mind or way of thinking....

Anonymous said...

It may not be a diplomatic pouch, but I'm not sure where any officer has pc to open an envelope with the owner's name on it. Maybe it's just me, but I think 4th amd concerns are always far more interesting than the "please help them they're addicts" -- "no, lock them up forever" debates.

Jim S.

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Anonymous said...

BGB, don't leave. You provide a valid counter to the prevalent "Hug a Thug" attitude constantly portrayed on this site. Just avoid the personal attacks and name calling, regardless of the provocation. The readers that recognize Victim's rights as being inherently superior to the angst of sex offenders and ex-cons appreciate your input.

Anonymous said...

Please anonymous 12:33...BGB has an extremely foul mouth and temper..he is the one that starts the name calling .just go read his posts. Good riddance

Anonymous said...

Who are you quoting when you say "hug a thug?"

I didn't realize class C misdemeanors we're the real gangsters, or that addicts ran all the organized crime in town.

Anonymous said...

"Hug a Thug" was the cynical nick name for a '90's program called Victim-Offender Mediation, where it placed the offender on an illusory equal footing with the victim, or survivor of a Victim, in an attempt to get "Closure" for both parties. IMHO, it was a part of the restorative justice school, which seemed to imply that the offender was also a victim of the crime that they had committed.
I'll reserve my personal thoughts as to the validity of these philosophies.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so it was something nobody here is advocating. Good to know.

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