Overzealous marijuana enforcement in infamous Texas town a burden to local taxpayers


Sierra Blanca, Texas.

Sierra Blanca, Texas. It’s not in any worthwhile tour guide books and you probably would have never heard of it except for Sheriff Arvin West and the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s department. See, it’s in Sierra Blanca that police love to search musician tour buses (and us normal citizens) and bust them with marijuana.
They don’t care who you are. Snoop Lion, Fiona Apple, and even Texas hero and legend Willie Nelson have been pulled over and arrested near this tiny wetfart of a West Texas town at an “interior border checkpoint” on I-10. But now county officials are saying they can’t pay for all of this enforcement unless the feds keep ponying up to foot the bill.

According to KENS in San Antonio, people caught with small amounts of marijuana over the summer have been ticketed and released because Hudspeth County taxpayers can’t pay for putting people in jail every time their sheriff’s department has a bust over a nickel bag. And that’s exactly what they do. According to West, any time the amount of drugs is less than what the feds would normally prosecute.
Basically, he was a pig eating the scraps left behind by the feds. And there were a lot of scraps. West says that as many as ten people a day are busted at his checkpoints. And they’ll bust people for everything. Marijuana-infused candies, hash oil, herb, seeds, joints, roaches. This douche has called busting people for possession a full-time job, and they milk every opportunity they can.
But not this summer.
Unfortunately, West hasn’t had a change of heart. He probably still thinks marijuana leads to violence or something stupid like that. No. This is all about money, buster. Federal money reimbursing the sheriff’s department for their arrests, which West says has stopped coming in recent months.
“We’re providing the federal government a service if you quit paying, we’re going to quit doing it,” West tells KENS. “Somebody’s got to pay it but it shouldn’t be [Hudspeth County] taxpayers.”

Border checkpoint at Sierra Blanca, Texas

Well, Sheriff, maybe the pencil-pushers in D.C. sending out your checks realized that YOU AND YOUR TOWN ARE MILKING THE SYSTEM to keep yourself employed in what even sympathetic Texas reporters call a “virtual ghost town in a poor, rural community”.
See, while the feds reimburse the county, the county gets to keep all of the fines paid by those busted. All that money that goes to nice fancy new trucks, SUVs and cruisers that the local sheriff’s no doubt get to drive home every night in.
Even the judge in town admits what the drug busts mean for the town.
“We’d live in Mayberry if it wasn’t for that checkpoint,” county judge and a former chief deputy of the sheriff’s office Mike Doyal told NPR back in August. “We’d just wait for the town drunk to show up once in a while.”
The active town clerk puts it more succinctly: “We’re broke,” she said. “We need your money, and when you come to court, bring lots of it, and I’ll take every penny you have.”
West’s bitching did get him some money in recent weeks – about $150,000 – and the arrests have started up again. And let us stress: they bust people for ANY amount they find. Avoid it at all costs, even if you are driving clean.
According to KENS, most of the people who pass through the checkpoint are American citizens. If the federal courts wouldn’t prosecute these people for small amounts of personal cannabis possession, they shouldn’t be funding it in lower courts anymore either. Especially when even the local cops admit it’s a financial burden on them.