The grinning mugshot of the drug-dealing 19-year-old girl—who had just been caught with 31.5 grams of cocaine, 126 grams of high-grade weed, 29 Ecstacy tablets, some methamphetamines and 60 tabs of acid—went viral within days.
“Texas cops arrest adorable drug kingpin,” read one November 10 headline from Death and Taxes.
“Happiest mugshot in America belongs to this 19-year-old female, alleged drug kingpin,” read another in the Houston Chronicle.
The woman, Sarah Furay, spent one day in the Brazos County jail before posting the $39,000 bond.
Less than a month later, she’s back in the headlines—now with the news that her father, Bill Furay, is actually a supervisory special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, first reported by Death and Taxes last week. He's based in Panama City, Panama right now, but formerly cuffed dozens of big-time drug dealers in the Houston area before transferring out of the country. All too familiar with the fates of these big-timers, the special agent told the Pearland Journal after busting a couple caught in a large-scale narcotics operation in 2010, “You don’t see too many drug traffickers retire. Either they end up in prison, or they end up dead.”
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The Internet, however, is not convinced that his smiling daughter will be held to the same consequences.
Sarah Furay was arrested and booked in the Brazos County Jail on November 6—charged with drug possession and manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance—after College Station Police entered her home with a search warrant and discovered all five types of drugs, packaging material, two digital scales and a handwritten drug price list in her bedroom, KCEN reported.
When Death And Taxes first referred to her as the “adorable kingpin,” people erupted on social media with criticism of the outlet’s lighthearted, flippant approach to covering the happy young white girl walking free on massive drug charges, while people of color face years in prison for far smaller offenses. In an apology letter, the editor wrote: “The very reason we were attracted to writing this post — Furay’s smile — is the very thing that is upsetting. Furay is smiling, I feel safe to presume, because the criminal justice system works to her favor. Even perhaps unconsciously she knows it. Black males are sentenced inordinate amounts of time in prison for drugs never even found on their person; meanwhile, Furay’s grin almost deliberately relates her knowledge that her consequences won’t meet the same extreme.” The Daily Beast also published an essay on Tuesday titled "When White Girls Deal Drugs, They Walk."
If convicted of the three felony charges against her, she faces up to 215 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. Dad has remained silent on his feelings about that—a spokeswoman with the DEA told KAGS HD News that “the Furay family are dealing with this private matter as best they can.” International coverage aside, that is.