Bias In the Media: Daughter Of DEA Agent A 'Cute' And 'Adorable' Queenpin

By Zachary Siegel 12/01/15

Black Lives Matter promptly roasts several media outlets for racist coverage.

Sarah Furay
Photo via

In delightful irony, a Texas DEA officer’s daughter has turned out to be a drug peddler. While relishing the futility of the drug war, the media missed the mark on their reportage.

Sarah Furay, daughter of Bill Furay, the head of the DEA in Beaumont, Texas, was arrested for alleged possession and delivery of 31.5 grams of cocaine, 126 grams of high-grade marijuana, 29 tablets of ecstasy, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, and 60 tabs of LSD.

Media outlets such as The Houston Chronicle and Death and Taxes Mag ran gleeful stories calling Miss Furay an “adorable drug kingpin” with the “happiest mugshot in America.”

The double standard is stark. You’d be hard pressed to find these adjectives used to describe a black or brown drug smuggler. Pejoratives such as thug and gang member with possible cartel ties are standard journalistic parlance for Texas drug dealers.

Called out by Black Lives Matter and other social justice activists, Death and Taxes Mag published a letter of apology for their flippant reporting.

In that letter, it is written, “I’d like to believe that, no matter the color of Furay’s skin, we would have still characterized Furay’s actions as “adorable” or something synonymous ... But we still very poorly missed the mark on this one, and, on behalf of the site, I wanted to say I’m sorry."

The letter continues, “Furay is smiling, I feel safe to presume, because the criminal justice system works to her favor.”

Miss Furay's photo, bright eyed and wide smiled, indeed looks less like a mugshot and more like her yearbook picture, albeit one taken after a rough night's sleep. Perhaps Death and Taxes is right, behind that cheery smile is a young woman who knows that thanks to daddy’s DEA connections, she’ll get off light with parole and community service.

Meanwhile, Texas prisons are overrun with African-American and Latinos, many of them non-violent drug offenders serving harsh time for lesser crimes than Miss Furay. 

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.