Willie Nelson Teams Up With Sheriff's Department That Busted Him

Chief deputy says he 'never would have dreamed of the coverage' Nelson's arrest got

Stefan M. Prager/Redferns
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While fellow Texans — including Kinky Friedman and Texas lawyer Dick DeGuerin — have expressed outrage at the Hudspeth County sheriff that busted Nelson on a marijuana charge Nov. 26, Willie Nelson himself has responded differently: On his website, he's asking fans to donate to the Hudspeth County Sherriff's Office's annual Christmas toy drive.

"For what it's worth, we appreciate the mention and we're glad to take any donations for the children of Hudspeth County," Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department tells Rolling Stone. "We think that's pretty good."

Doyal was at the sheriff's office when Nelson was booked, and says he was surprised by the remarkable media response. "He had a little bag of marijuana and I would never have dreamed of the coverage it got," he says. "Nonetheless, we've got a job to do and we've got to do what we've got to do."

He adds: "We handled it as easily as we could and still do our job. The man's, what, 77 years old? What are we gonna do to him? He was very cooperative and nice and pleasant to be around."

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Nelson is charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year and a fine of $4,000. "I'm betting it doesn't go there, but that's between him and the county attorney," Doyal said. "We did our part. Now it's up to the lawyers and the judges."

Meanwhile, Willie's friend Snoop Dogg — watch them perform "Superman" in Amsterdam in 2008 — has spoken to TMZ about the arrest. "They better leave Willie the fuck alone, man," Snoop said. "Willie Nelson is a legend. Sometimes you need to back up off of certain people and have a certain amount of respect for your elders. And Willie Nelson is our elder."

He added: "Willie Nelson is my people," he added. "If you got a problem with Willie Nelson, you got a problem with me."

Since the bust, Nelson was also nominated for a Grammy for his covers album Country Music for Best Americana Album.