State Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D-Eagle Pass) admitted Thursday that the cocaine inside an envelope he dropped at an Austin airport in September was his.
Authorities said security camera footage at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport showed Nevárez dropping the envelope as he climbed into a black SUV owned by his chief of staff.
A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday afternoon and he faces a charge of third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, according to the Texas Tribune. The maximum punishment is 10 years in prison.
In a statement Thursday, Nevárez wrote:
I do not have anyone to blame but myself. I accept this because it is true and it will help me get better. In a weird way, I am grateful. Grief and addiction were consuming me, but oddly enough, I feel better now than I have in a long time and I mean that. I have many relationships to repair starting at home and I intend to seek treatment. I apologize to each and every person that feels I have let them down. I look forward to a future with my family and friends, to being healthy and finally, home.
An affidavit by the Texas Department of Public Safety said investigators later confirmed that that substance was cocaine. The total net weight of the contents was 2 grams.
“Through training and experience, I have learned that individuals involved in the possession of narcotics would like to remain discreet and typically conceal the narcotics as best they can,” wrote Special Agent Otto Cabrera in the affidavit.
“Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that [Nevárez], using his own letterhead envelope, licked and sealed the envelope that contained the cocaine in order to keep it concealed,” he concluded.
Last week, the Eagle Pass representative announced he would not seek re-election in 2020 and stated that he wanted to put “family and health” first, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Nevárez also tweeted that he would deactivate his Facebook account and cited the social media company’s lack of interest in the truth as the reason for his decision.
— Rep. Poncho Nevárez (@poncho_nevarez) November 7, 2019
State Rep. Chris Turner, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said Thursday that he is “deeply saddened to learn 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.”
“By not seeking reelection, he will be better able to focus his attention on his family and his health, which is where it should be,” Turner concluded.