Fiona Apple

Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office

Why are so many stars getting busted for pot in a tiny town in Texas? What are Fiona Apple and Armie Hammer doing out there in the desert to begin with?
—B.T. Cruel, via Facebook

You speak of Sierra Blanca, a tiny town, as you put it, which sits about 85 miles east of El Paso. The town also has witnessed the arrests of stars ranging from Fiona Apple and Armie Hammer to Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and Paul Wall.

And I found out why.

Sierra Blanca, in Hudspeth County, Texas, is a hub for two things: Drug trafficking and celebrity trafficking. The town is about 20 miles from the Mexican border, which is why there's a U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint sitting there. That checkpoint busts myriad would-be mules every month, largely with the help of drug-sniffing dogs.

That checkpoint also happens to sit on I-10, an interstate highway that runs from Los Angeles to Florida. Why is that important? Because film crews often travel through there to shoot. And musicians often bring their tours through the Southwest on that very highway. They also, oftentimes, bring their stash. And arrests are bound to follow.

"Little Miss Fiona, last night her bus rolls in here, and the [drug-sniffing] dog hits the smell of pot from outside of the bus," says Rusty Fleming, public information officer for the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office. "We searched the bus and found it in a sealed glass container inside of a backpack way in the back of the bus. That's a pretty sensitive dog."

Fiona Apple gets busted on a bus

It is, at that. More fun celebrity drug-arrest details for y'all:

"With Fiona, if all she'd had was the marijuana, she would have gotten a ticket and none of this would have happened. But she had hashish, and in Texas, having any amount is a felony."

So why aren't more celebrities, say, rerouting their tours to avoid Sierra Blanca's fabulous drug-sniffing canines?

Because many of them don't seem to know state laws.

"Ninety percent of the people out here will try to flash their medical marijuana cards," Fleming explains. "Snoop flashed his real quick. But those don't matter to us. We're Texans. This isn't California!"

One more piece of intel: You may have heard that actor Steven Seagal is a reserve sheriff deputy around those parts. That is true. However, the town has yet to witness a celebrity-on-celebrity bust.

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