EAST HAVEN, Conn. —
A leading Rhode Island lawmaker who criticized the Legislature by invoking images of pot-smoking immigrants is facing drug charges in Connecticut.
Police in East Haven, Conn., say East Greenwich Republican Robert Watson, the House Minority Leader, was stopped at a police checkpoint Friday and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and driving under the influence.
According to a police report, authorities found a bag of suspected marijuana and a pipe in Watson’s pocket. Watson was released on $500 bond.
Watson issued a statement Monday acknowledging that police discovered “trace evidence” of marijuana but said he wasn’t driving under the influence.
“While confident I was a safe and sober operator, trace evidence of marijuana was discovered and I was charged with operating under the influence, a charge I vehemently deny,” he said.
Watson drew fire in February when he said lawmakers had their priorities right “if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana.”