The border patrol checkpoint at Sierra Blanca, Texas, has been dubbed “checkpoint to the stars” because of the many stars that have been arrested there. People such as singer/songwriter Willie Nelson, singer Fiona Apple, rapper Snoop Lion, rapper Nelly and actor Armie Hammer are some of the names who have gone through this checkpoint, only to have their vehicles stopped and searched—with the check often ending in an arrest.
“With Its ‘Checkpoint of the Stars,’ Sierra Blanca Gains Notoriety” was the title of a newspaper article in February 2012. “‘Checkpoint to the stars’ snares another celebrity” was the title of a story in September 2012.
Wikipedia: Sierra Blanca, Texas
Sierra Blanca is a census-designated place (CDP) in and the county seat of Hudspeth County, Texas, United States. The population was 533 at the 2000 census, and had decreased to 510 according to a July 2007 estimate.
The town, founded in 1881 at the completion point of a long-sought southern transcontinental railway, was named for nearby Sierra Blanca Mountain, which was named for the white poppies which grew on it (sierra blanca is Spanish for white range).
In September of 2012, Fiona Apple was arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish, and spent the night in jail there. A few weeks later, a Nelly tour bus was stopped at the same checkpoint, and ten pounds of marijuana were found on the bus along with heroin and a loaded gun. The singer was not arrested, but a member of his entourage was. Previously singers Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson as well as actor Armie Hammer had all been arrested separately for drug possession in Sierra Blanca. The U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint at Sierra Blanca sends the county thousands of drug cases a year and inspects 15 to 20,000 vehicles every day. The county is unable to prosecute the vast majority of these cases as the federal government no longer funds such activities.
Hudspeth County Herald and Dell Valley Review (Dell City, TX)
With Its “Checkpoint of the Stars,” Sierra Blanca Gains Notoriety
Posted by: hcherald
Posted date: February 3, 2012
Do an Internet search for “Sierra Blanca, Texas,” and among the first hits you’ll pull up contains the phrase “celebrity pot bust.” With news emerging last week of a third high-profile marijuana bust here in a little more than a year, the Hudspeth County seat has, for the moment, won itself a bit of national notoriety – as a bane of pot-toting celebrities.
Big Bend Now
‘Checkpoint to the stars’ snares another celebrity
September 27th, 2012 under Top Stories
By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA
FAR WEST TEXAS – Singer Fiona Apple has become the latest well-known musician to be arrested at the Sierra Blanca ‘checkpoint to the stars’ for possession.
KHOU.com (Houston, TX)
‘Checkpoint to the Stars’ catches celebrities with drugs
by Angela Kocherga / KHOU 11 News
Posted on October 12, 2012 at 7:22 PM
Updated Friday, Oct 12 at 7:43 PM
HOUSTON—Rapper Nelly is the latest celebrity to run into problems at a busy Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate-10.
Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes, and his entourage were stopped after a drug sniffing dog alerted agents there were drugs on board the rapper’s tour bus.
Sierra Blanca, aka “checkpoint to the stars,” where Willie Nelson, Snoop Lion, Fiona Apple have all caught w/ drugs http://ow.ly/mbPhw
3:35 PM - 19 Jun 13
Center for Investigative Reporting
Top 5 investigative videos of the week: ‘Busted in Texas’
Jul 08, 2013
“Busted in Texas” investigates a particularly notorious checkpoint along Interstate 10 in West Texas that has become an unlikely frontline in the war on drugs and illegal immigration. Sierra Blanca has earned the nickname “checkpoint to the stars” because Border Patrol agents there have busted a series of celebrities including Willie Nelson, Fiona Apple and Snoop Lion. (The checkpoint also has received several reviews on Yelp, one of which was humorously and melodramatically interpreted by an actor in this video.)
The film’s most startling find is that although the Sierra Blanca checkpoint was set up to catch major drug traffickers and those who enter the country illegally, it primarily ensnares thousands of unsuspecting Americans.