On Thursday, authorities issued a search warrant for the arrest of Texas State Representative Poncho Nevárez, a Democrat from the Eagle Pass area, for felony drug possession charges.
The Texas Tribune reported that the state special investigator claims in the warrant that Nevárez was caught on surveillance footage dropping an envelope containing cocaine as he was leaving the Austin airport back in September.
On Thursday afternoon, a Travis County magistrate judge signed off on the warrant. Nevárez faces a charge of third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance. Such a charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years of jail time.
Neither Nevárez’s office nor the Travis County District Attorney’s Office offered an immediate response when requested for comment.
The news on Thursday came hours after an affidavit highlighting the allegations, which the Texas Department of Public Safety filed on October 29 in Travis County court, was unveiled and then sent to the Tribune and other news outlets. The affidavit was tacked on to a warrant aiming to carry out a test to determine whether Nevárez’s DNA was on the envelope. The document claims that the envelope had Nevárez’s official House seal and contained “four small clear baggies” of a substance which included cocaine.
Nevárez, the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee chair, announced last week that he was retiring from the State House. In a statement to the Tribune on Thursday morning before the warrant was issued, Nevárez confirmed that the “news is true.” The events listed in the affidavit spurred him to not run for reelection.
“I do not have anyone to blame but myself,” Nevárez stated, also revealing that he plans to seek treatment. “I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.”
According to the affidavit, the series of events leading to Nevárez’s arrest warrant started on September 6 when two Texas Department of Transportation employees discovered the envelope outside the entrance of a section of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport frequently used by traveling state officials. DPS was then called, and investigators analyzed the surveillance tape showing Nevárez leaving the airport, and hopping on board the front passenger seat of his chief of staff’s black SUV and “dropping a white paper object,” the affidavit stated.
The affidavit revealed that DPS immediately seized the contents that Nevárez left behind. Lab results showed that the white powdery substance found in the envelope tested positive for cocaine. According to the affidavit, the total weight was roughly 2 grams.
“Through training and experience, I have learned that individuals involved in the possession of narcotics would like to remain discreet and typically conceal the narcotics as best they can,” stated Special Agent Otto Cabrera. “Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that [Nevárez], using his own letterhead envelope, licked and sealed the envelope that contained the cocaine in order to keep it concealed.”
Nevárez was a thorn in the side of Texas gun owners during the 2019 legislative session.
After he was appointed to the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee by establishment House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, he made sure to roadblock and eventually kill pro-gun Constitutional Carry legislation.
With Nevárez now out of the picture, Texas gun laws can actually be liberalized if things go well during the 2020 election cycle.
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