86th LegislatureState HouseStatewide NewsRep. Poncho Nevárez Admits to Possession of Cocaine After Affidavit Surfaces

Prior to the affidavit going public, Nevárez announced he would not be seeking reelection last week.
November 14, 2019
Late Wednesday night, Direct Action Texas announced it had obtained an affidavit stating Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) had dropped an envelope holding four packets of cocaine in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) employees found the envelope.

According to the affidavit, there was video evidence of Nevárez dropping the envelope.

Additionally, the envelope’s letterhead read “Office the State of Texas House of Representatives Member Poncho Nevárez.”

Filed on October 29, the affidavit states that on September 6, 2019, surveillance footage depicted Nevárez dropping the envelope as he walked out the door to his ride — a car driven by Carlos Edwardo De La Pena, Nevárez’s chief of staff. Airport records show Nevárez arrived at the airport at 10:24 a.m. in his personal plane, a single-engine Cessna T206. 

The envelope was dropped shortly after that.

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It was not discovered by the TXDOT employees for almost two hours. Upon further examination, police determined the envelope contained 2.10 grams of cocaine.

Nevárez, who chairs the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee in the Texas House, told the Texas Tribune the “news is true” and that “I do not have anyone to blame but myself. I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better.”

Nevárez then stated he had a substance abuse problem and that he plans to “seek treatment.”

The strange series of events began a week ago when Nevárez announced he had deleted his official Facebook account — citing Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policies on “targeted messaging.”

Two days later, the Eagle Pass legislator announced he would not be running for reelection.

Lawmakers and other organizations reacted to the news, many offering sympathies for the stated addiction.

The Texas Democratic Party sent a statement to The Texan, stating, “Addiction is a serious issue and it’s important for people to access the help they need moving forward. Rep. Nevárez is taking responsibility and seeking the help he needs. We wish the best to him and his family during his recovery.”

Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), said, “I am deeply saddened today’s news but I am also encouraged to see that through his statement today, Poncho is taking responsibility for his actions and intends to seek treatment.”

Similarly, Rep. James White (R-Hillister) stated, “I will continue to hold Rep. Nevarez in my prayers — for guidance and strength. He and I probably disagreed on some issues from a partisan standpoint, but every day he woke up trying to serve his district well.”

Nevárez lives in Eagle Pass and owns a ranch right on the Rio Grande River. 

As of yet, no official charges have been filed, but the affidavit suggests he is guilty of “possession of a controlled substance” — a third-degree felony which could bring between two and 10 years in prison.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.