CLAIM

"Adorable Drug Kingpin" Sarah Furay avoided charges due to her father's connection to the DEA.

MOSTLY FALSE

RATING

MOSTLY FALSE

ORIGIN

In May 2017, several unreliable web sites (such as America Flash News) published articles with the claim that Sarah Furay, the young woman called the “adorable drug kingpin” after Texas officials found large amounts of methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana in her apartment in 2015, had been released due to a family connection with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration:

At the age of 19, you are an adult. You can be charged as an adult if you commit a crime – right? Well, not always, sometimes, it just depends on who your dad is. Sarah Furay was arrested when Texas authorities found methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and marijuana in her apartment.

Furay also had packaging material, two digital scales, and a drug price list in her bedroom. She was charged with one count of possession and three counts of manufacturing and delivery of controlled substances; her bail was set at $39,000.

After having spent just one day in jail, Furay was released. Turns out that this young woman’s father is Bill Furay – a DEA agent who has been working with that agency since 2008.

This is not an original piece of reporting by America Flash News. The text, which has been on the Internet since at least January 2017, is based on a 2015 blog post on music and culture site Death and Taxes. That post, however, didn’t say that Furay had been let off scot-free. Rather, Death and Taxes took issue with the media’s treatment (including their own reporting) of Furay — making light of her crimes by labeling her “adorable”, for example — and noted that Furay had been released on a “remarkably low bond”, possibly due to her familial connections:

As mentioned in our letter of apology for our flippant coverage of Furay’s arrest, you don’t see 19-year-old men and women of color described in reports as “cute” or “adorable.” For that matter, you don’t see them smiling in mugshots. One needn’t wonder why. The criminal justice system and mainstream media are fixed in favor of profiles such as that of a lily-white, college-age girl — and particularly Furay. New information brought to the attention of Death and Taxes reveals that Furay’s father is Bill Furay, a supervisory special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. He is currently serving as the DEA’s diplomatic attaché at the U.S. Ambassador’s office in Panama City, Panama, and was previously Resident Agent in Charge at the DEA office in Galveston, Texas.

However, Furay’s saga didn’t end after she posted bail in 2015. The “adorable” drug kingpin was indicted on four counts of possession with intent to distribute in October 2016:

Just under a year after 19-year-old Sarah Furay was arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs from her College Station apartment, the “adorable drug kingpin” has finally been indicted and charged with four counts related to dealing drugs.

A Brazos County Grand Jury, convened in July, handed down the indictment last Thursday, charging Furay with four felony counts including:

  • Possession with intent to deliver more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams of cocaine, a first-degree felony punishable with anywhere from five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if she is convicted.
  • Possession with intent to deliver more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams of methamphetamine, another first-degree felony that comes with a punishment of five years to life in prison and a fine up to $10,000 if she is convicted. 
  • Possession with intent to deliver more than 20 but less than 80 units of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a second-degree felony that could mean anywhere from two years to 20 years in prison and  a fine of up to $10,000 if she is convicted.
  • Possession of more than 2 ounces but less than five pounds of “usable” marijuana, a state jail felony punishable with 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

The Houston Press also cleared up why so much time passed between Furay’s arrest and indictment. While outlets such as Death and Taxes attributed this to her DEA father, Lt. Steve Brock, the College Station Police Department spokesman, said that the wait was due to a state issue involving ill-equipped crime labs:

When it came out shortly thereafter that Furay is the daughter of Bill Furay, a supervisory agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency now stationed in Panama City, Panama who had previously made a ton of arrests of major Houston drug dealers, the story whipped up even more outrage. After all, perhaps Furay had the nerve to grin for the camera because she thought she was going to avoid any serious repercussions from her alleged dealing through her father’s connections, the reasoning went.

And the idea didn’t seem far-fetched. Furay only spent a single night in jail before making her $39,000 bond and weeks then months ticked by without any word of an indictment or charges filed against her. However, there was a reason behind the slow pace that had nothing to do with who Furay or her father, according to Lt. Steve Brock, the College Station Police Department spokesman.

In fact, Brock explained the hold-up was actually a state issue. Law enforcement organizations not equipped with their own crime labs have to send the evidence off to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s labs, and those state labs are so backed up it takes months to get evidence analyzed and processed. It took at least eight months for the state lab to test and confirm the drugs collected in Furay’s apartment are the real deal. “I know DPS did everything they could to get this stuff processed as quick as possible,” Brock says. “As soon as we got the results we confirmed that with the district attorney and they’re the ones who convene the grand juries.”

A trial date for Furay has not been set as of May 2017.

Sources:

Wray, Diana.   “‘Adorable Drug Kingpin,’ Daughter of DEA Agent, Finally Faces Charges.”
    Houston Press.   10 October 2016.

Bixenspan, David.   “‘Adorable Drug Kingpin’ Indicted and Charged on Four Counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver.”
    Death and Taxes.   7 October 2016.

Abrams, Brian.   “The Father of the ‘Adorable Drug Kingpin’ is a Special Agent for the DEA.”
    Death and Taxes.   23 November 2015.