Welcome to Sierra Blanca, Texas -– The Black Hole of Tour Bus Drug Busts

From The Hollywood Reporter:

If you ever happen to be driving through Sierra Blanca — the dusty West Texas town (pop. 553) just 30 miles from the Mexican border — leave your drugs at home.

Since 2010, a slew of entertainers including Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Fiona Apple and actor Armie Hammer (The Social Network) have been busted at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checkpoint there, most often for marijuana. On Wednesday, rapper Nelly’s tour bus was stopped and searched, turning up 10 pounds of pot, 36 small bags of heroin and a gun on board. His bodyguard Brian Keith Jones took the rap and has pleaded not guilty.

Sierra Blanca, which roughly translates to “white mountain,” is on Highway I-10 about 85 miles east of El Paso. The checkpoint, whose main focus is to catch illegal aliens sneaking across the border, is on the eastbound side of the highway, and all cars and trucks are stopped.

What can a driver expect? After a license plate scan, “It all depends,” agent Abel Meza explained to the El Paso Times in February. “You have five to 10 seconds to determine if someone has something suspicious about them or their vehicle.”

Heat-sensitive cameras and radiation detectors at the inspection stop seek signs of weapons, but it’s the dogs that will find any drugs. Naturally, in the case of rock stars, a luxury tour bus screams probable cause, and it usually doesn’t take long before a canine is brought onto the coach to sniff out a stash.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Hollywood Reporter