The Back MicThe Back Mic: A Timeline of the Rep. Poncho Nevárez Debacle

In this week's Back Mic — a closer look at the details and the timeline of the Poncho Nevarez story.
November 15, 2019

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“The Back Mic” is a weekly look inside Texas politics and policy presented by The Texan. In just a few bullet points every Friday, you’ll know about the critical developments from the candidates, elected officials, and policies that impact Texans everywhere.

In a bombshell this week, an affidavit was made public by Direct Action Texas which stated that Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) dropped an envelope containing four packets of cocaine while exiting a private plane at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). 

Here’s a rundown of the contents of the affidavit, and a timeline of what is known so far.

The Timeline of Events, Per the Search Warrant Affidavit and Press Coverage

The Texan Tumbler

September 6th:

10:24am: Nevárez’s plane, a Cessna T206 owned by his law firm, lands at ABIA.

Photo of Rep. Nevarez’s plane, obtained via

10:30am: Nevárez exits TxDOT Flight Services and enters a black Range Rover Evoque, owned by his chief of staff, Carlos De La Pena. A white envelope is dropped by Nevárez before he enters the vehicle.

12:13pm: Two TxDOT employees exit the flight facility and stand outside before picking up the envelope, marked by Nevárez’s official state letterhead, off the ground several minutes later. One employee opens the envelope to find the contents.

12:27pm: The two TxDOT employees re-enter the building.

12:38pm: A DPS aviation lieutenant observes the contents of the envelope. 

12:48pm: The aviation lieutenant calls for “the assistance of a Trooper.”

1:25pm: The first trooper arrives on the scene and takes custody of the envelope and its contents, placing them in a clear plastic bag.

2:30pm: Officer Otto Cabrera, author of the affidavit, arrives on the scene and sends the sample to a DPS Crime Lab in Austin. He confirms that DNA evidence was in fact gathered from the envelope.

October 15th: Carlos De Le Pena is interviewed by law enforcement, who tells officers “that he keeps his vehicle clean and organized when he picks up [Nevárez] from the airport,” and has not seen similar official envelopes in his car previously. He claims he did not possess or even see the envelope dropped by Nevárez on September 6th.

October 25th: A search warrant is requested by Special Agent Cabrera to secure DNA samples from Nevárez, in order to see if the samples match the DNA evidence obtained from the dropped envelope.

October 29th: A search warrant for DNA is granted and issued.

November 6th: Nevárez announces he is deleting his official Facebook page as state representative, laying the blame at the feet of Mark Zuckerberg. 

“Lamentably, we are discontinuing our use of Facebook in all areas. Professionally, personally, and politically…Facebook’s leader has made it abundantly clear he has no interest in the truth when it comes to target messaging or otherwise.”

November 8th: Nevárez announces he will not seek reelection to House District 74.

“We talk about how important family and health is in all this, and as such my family needs me and I need them. I must heal up for the rest of what may come in my life. So, it is time to come home.”

November 13th: The search warrant affidavit divulging the September 6th incident at ABIA is publicly released by Direct Action Texas.

Affidavit photo of Nevárez.

November 14th: Nevárez issues a statement to the Texas Tribune, saying “the news is true.” The publication later obtains a warrant that had been issued for Nevárez’s arrest with a bond set for $10,000.


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McKenzie DiLullo

McKenzie DiLullo serves as Senior Editor and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.