A Democrat chairman in the Texas House, appointed by Speaker Dennis Bonnen, suddenly announced last week that he would not seek re-election. New information reveals the reason why.
According to an affidavit obtained by watchdog group Direct Action Texas, on September 6, an envelope containing “four small clear plastic baggies” of cocaine was found at the Texas Department of Transportation’s hangar at Austin-Bergstrom Airport by DPS officers stationed there.
From there, it wasn’t difficult to deduce who the cocaine belonged to, as the envelope bore the letterhead of Democrat State Rep. Poncho Nevarez, who had flown in on a private plane from his home in Eagle Pass, a city that shares a border with Mexico, earlier that day.
Security camera footage verified that Nevarez had accidentally dropped the drug-filled envelope when transferring from his plane to his car.
It is not yet known what business Nevarez was attending to in Austin that weekend, though it is notably the same weekend that the University of Texas football team played Louisiana State University, a high-profile matchup that attracted many lawmakers. Nevarez, a graduate of UT, was wearing a burnt orange shirt at the time he dropped his cocaine.
On Thursday morning, Nevarez told The Texas Tribune that “the news is true” and “I do not have anyone to blame but myself.”
While the details of the situation are new, rumors in the state capitol had been percolating since last week when Nevarez announced he would not seek re-election to the Texas House just days after suddenly shutting down his Facebook account. At the time, Nevarez claimed he was doing so in a baffling protest of Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerburg.
Upon his retirement, the Texas Democrat Party released a statement in which they praised Nevarez as a “champion” of public safety.
But while the dropped cocaine incident sheds some light on the circumstances for his stepping down, it raises more questions. Namely, if this happened in September and Nevarez admits it is true, why has he not been arrested or tried? Was a special deal struck for him to leave office in exchange for not being publicly arrested and charged?
Nevarez, who has served four terms in the Texas House, had been a favorite of now-disgraced Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who appointed him this year to lead the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, where he most notably took credit for killing constitutional carry legislation, a top priority of the Republican Party of Texas.
But it is also this same committee that oversees the Department of Public Safety who filed the official complaint and affidavit, as well as an arrest warrant.
And yet, Nevarez has not been publicly arrested or charged.
Texas Scorecard has reached out to the offices of Gov. Greg Abbott and Speaker Dennis Bonnen to determine when they were made aware of the situation, but has not received a response as of publication.
Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, however, had no fear in speaking out on the situation, taking to Facebook to call for his “immediate removal from this position of trust” and blasting Bonnen and other elected officials for their silence on the matter:
Why are the people of Texas just now hearing about this when the search warrant was executed on October 29th? Surely, some of our state elected officials would have been informed of this serious matter. It’s been sixteen days! Why hasn’t Speaker Bonnen removed this liberal Democrat from his Chairmanship. Why was he appointed to this position in the first place?
He also was appointed by Speaker Dennis Bonnen to serve on the Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety during the summer.
In 2017 Nevarez made news on the last day of the legislative session for threatening now-former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi on the floor of the House, amidst disruptive protests by illegal aliens against sanctuary city legislation.