Willie Nelson off the hook on pot charge

SAN ANTONIO Thu Jun 9, 2011 1:35am EDT

Singer Willie Nelson greets fans before the start of his performance at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California April 29, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Singer Willie Nelson greets fans before the start of his performance at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California April 29, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - When Willie Nelson is on the road again, he will be traveling without a Texas drug charge hanging over his head.

A West Texas prosecutor said on Wednesday that the legendary singer and songwriter has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and has agreed to pay a $500 fine plus court costs of about $280.

"I have given him the option to do it by mail," said C.R Bramblett, the county attorney in remote Hudspeth County, where Nelson was charged with marijuana possession last November.

A Border Patrol officer smelled pot inside Nelson's tour bus when it was pulled over at a checkpoint on Interstate 10.

Bramblett said he has spoken with Nelson's attorney, and the singer has agreed to the plea deal. Bramblett expects the case to be settled within two weeks.

"All he has to do is sign the papers, and get me a cashier's check for the money," Bramblett told Reuters.

Bramblett said the case will be dismissed entirely if Nelson stays out of trouble for 30 days.

He says officials have determined that there was a "little bit less than two ounces" (56 g) of marijuana inside the bus, which allows the case to be treated as a misdemeanor. Officials had initially reported that as much as five ounces of pot was discovered, which would have made the case a felony.

"He got the same thing I'd give to anybody," Bramblett said of the settlement.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)

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