Probation for Willie Nelson

ST. MARTINVILLE — Country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson and his tour manager paid $1,024 each in fines and court costs and were sentenced to six months of probation after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana here Tuesday.

Nelson, tour manager David Anderson, Nelson’s sister and two drivers were cited on misdemeanor drug charges in St. Martin Parish in September.

State Police said they found more than a pound of marijuana during traffic stop of his tour bus near the Breaux Bridge exit on Interstate 10.

Nelson and Anderson entered their guilty pleas on a routine court day in St. Martin Parish.

As other defendants and courthouse workers looked on, 16th Judicial District Judge Paul deMahy asked Nelson the same questions routine for all guilty pleas.


“Willie Hugh Nelson.””


“I was born in 1933.”


“I’m an entertainer.”

Nelson could have faced felony distribution charges for the amount of marijuana found in his tour bus.

But prosecutor Chester Cedars said the evidence indicated that the marijuana, which was stashed in six different locations, was for personal consumption.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dismissed charges against Nelson’s sister, Bobbie Nelson.

Cedars also dismissed charges against the two drivers because there was no indication they “had anything to do with the contraband.”

Cedars said a criminal background check indicated that Nelson, who has made no secret of his marijuana use and serves on the advisory board of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, had never before been convicted on a drug charge.

“We did something apparently nobody else has done,” Cedars said.

Word that a country music legend was in this small southern Louisiana town quickly spread, and a crowd of about 25 fans gathered outside to wait for Nelson after his brief court appearance.

Nelson obliged the fans, shaking hands, signing scraps of paper and posing for photographs.

“Thank y’all,” he said, waving as he climbed into a waiting car.

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