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When 19-year-old Sarah Furay was arrested after police found 31.5 grams of cocaine, 126 grams of marijuana, 29 ecstasy tablets, 60 doses of a drug similar to LSD, and methamphetamine in her apartment, she took a smiling mug shot and was dubbed the "World's Most Adorable Drug Kingpin." When it was discovered that she was the daughter of a DEA agent, the story looked even more like a farce.
But after spending just one day in jail and posting what appears to be a minimal bond amount, many are questioning whether she's receiving preferential treatment and may walk on the drug charges altogether.
Kid or Kingpin?
Along with the drugs police found "packaging material, two digital scales and a handwritten drug price list in her bedroom," according to KCEN. There was also evidence of drug deals on Furay's cell phone. She was charged with three first-degree felony counts of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance and one count of drug possession.
All told, Furay is facing up to 215 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. Considering the severity of the charges, $39,000 for bail (of which defendants normally only need to post ten percent to secure their release) seems incredibly low. Perhaps that's where her father, head of the DEA office in Beaumont, Texas Bill Furay, might come into play. The elder Furay is known for his tough stance on drug dealers, but he might make an exception for family.
The Daily Beast was one of many outlets to point out there was also a discrepancy in the way the media covered the arrest:
In the days after her arrest, multiple news organizations ran stories focusing not on her crimes as much as her 'photogenic smile.' Her picture was coined the 'happiest mugshot in America' by some; the 'jolliest mugshot in recent history,' by others. Rather than a criminal act, her offense was called "an entrepreneurial approach to avoiding student loan debt.' The icing on the cake was news that her father is a 'head honcho' at the local DEA office--a fact that was treated more as a potential TV plot line than a damning fact.
Whether by virtue of her race, her unconcerned mugshot, or her law enforcement family ties, it appears as though she's been given deferential treatment by both the media and the criminal justice system. The Daily Beast also noted "prosecutors pursue mandatory minimum charges against blacks at a rate of 2:1 when compared to whites with similar crimes." Whether they will in Furay's case remains to be seen.