Quick, aside from being busted for carrying weed, what's the one thing Fiona Apple, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dog, and Armie Hammer all have in common? Well, for starters, they can all tell you what a cell at Sierra Blanca's Hudspeth County Jail looks like.
Apple, as news outlets reported, was released on bail on Thursday in Sierra Blanca, Texas--a town, which if you're a Willie Nelson fan, or a Snoop Dogg aficionado, or a giant fan of Mirror Mirror should sound vaguely familiar since Nelson in 2010, Snoop Dogg earlier this year, and Armie Hammer in November were all busted for carrying marijuana in the same Texas town. In fact busting celebrities for weed has become such a regular occurrence that deputies in Sierra Blanca have even engaged in tomfoolery with the famous busts:
Deputies posed for pictures with Snoop Dogg after authorities said they found several joints on his bus earlier this month. When Nelson was busted here in 2010, the county's lead prosecutor suggested the singer settle his marijuana charges by performing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court. Nelson paid a fine instead, but not before county commissioner Wayne West played one of his own songs for the country music legend.
So what is it about this Texas town that brings weed-toting celebrities from the music and film together? (From the looks of it on Google Maps, it looks like a lonely place.) And perhaps more importantly, why do they keep getting busted here?
Well, there are three major reasons (unfortunately none of them include Steven Seagal who is a sworn-in border cop in these parts):
Location, Location, Location
The thing about Sierra Blanca (population 557) is that it sits on a stretch of I-10--an interstate highway that stretches from California to Florida. "Film crews often travel through there to shoot. And musicians often bring their tours through the Southwest on that very highway," writes E!'s Leslie Gornstein. And that--that it's both a route and a shooting destination--hopefully explains why a heartthrob like Hammer, a musician who probably wouldn't be caught dead with heartthrobs like Apple, and Willie Nelson would, as fate have it, all end up in the same jail in the same small Texas town. Oh and there's also the fact that, the town sits near the Mexican border which brings us to the next reason ...
There's a Freaking Checkpoint Here
So this is where I-10 comes into play. "The highway is sending thousands of drug bust cases Sierra Blanca's way, courtesy of a Border Patrol checkpoint just outside of town where drug-sniffing dogs inspect more than 17,000 trucks, travelers — and tour buses — daily ..." wrote the AP in January. So, yeah, even though officials told the AP that it was one sensitive dog that busted Apple, that Border checkpoint also did its part.
Texas Doesn't Care About Your Medical Marijuana License
The final piece in this puzzle as E!'s Gornstein reports, is that medical marijuana licenses in Texas are null and void. As Gornstein found out, it's not like celebrities and other non-famous people don't try to get out of their sticky situations. "Ninety percent of the people out here will try to flash their medical marijuana cards," Rusty Fleming, public information officer for the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office told E!. "Snoop flashed his real quick. But those don't matter to us. We're Texans. This isn't California!"
So there you have it folks, if you go to Sierra Blanca with weed--you will get busted. Lady Gaga, consider yourself warned.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.