Have musicians and celebrities learned nothing about traveling along I-10? The Sierra Blanca border checkpoint snagged yet another celebrity in its web when drug-sniffing dogs allegedly found a stash of pot and heroin on Nelly’s tour bus while it was stopped Wednesday night, less than a month since Fiona Apple was arrested at the same spot after pot was found on her bus.
As far as Sierra Blanca celebrity busts go, this was a fairly big one: authorities found 36 baggies of heroin (.64 ounces worth) and more than ten pounds of marijuana, as well as a loaded .45 handgun, according to TMZ. Authorities arrested Nelly’s bodyguard, Brian Keith Jones, after he admitted the contraband belonged to him. (Other celebrity busts at the checkpoint have been far lower volume: allegedly, Apple was stopped with 0.01 pounds of marijuana and 0.01 pounds of hash on her bus, Snoop Dogg with 0.13 pounds of marijuana, Armie Hammer (who might have something of a sweet tooth!) with three pot cookies, one pot brownie, and 0.02 ounces of marijuana, and Willie Nelson with six ounces of marijuana.
Nelly’s bus was headed eastbound on I-10 at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night when it reached the border checkpoint. Aaron Bracamontes reported at the El Paso Times that the bulk of the marijuana on Nelly’s bus was found in an outside luggage compartment in nine vacuum-sealed bags. (The baggies of heroin, gun, and a small amount of marijuana was found on a box inside the cabin of the bus.)
Nelly tweeted about his anger with Jones, writing “I’m not gone front I’m MAD as Hell about this sh#t!!2have some1 who works 4u n who u call a friend 4 ova 10years jeopardize ur life WTF?”
The rapper also cleaned up his language and grammar in an official statement on the drug’s presence on his bus in a statement to TMZ. “It is my understanding a member of my staff made an unfortunate decision to bring unlawful materials onto our tour bus that resulted in his arrest this morning,” he said. “Neither I nor anyone else on the tour bus was aware of his decision to bring these on board. Law enforcement officials did not press charges against anyone other than that individual.”
At Grantland’s Hollywood Prospectus , Amos Barshad wasn’t entirely convinced by Nelly’s statement:
Member of the staff, huh? And what were this particular staff member’s duties, exactly? Would he, perhaps, been responsible for the transportation of narcotics? A “weed carrier,” to use the outdated-but-still-apt nomenclature?
But we came here not to raise a skeptical eyebrow to Nelly’s legalese, but to celebrate the man. He knew he was rolling through the dastardly Sierra Blanca checkpoint, the one that had felled so many of his fellow celebrities. And so he took the proper precautions. No, not not having drugs, but rather making sure his weed carrier was onboard and prepared to carry out his professional obligations. Let this be a message to the future Lil Wayne and T.I.’s of the world: Remember! You are a famous rapper! You can pay someone else to handle your illegal business for you!