Political aide to Texas agriculture commissioner arrested

May 7, 2021 GMT

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A top political aide to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was arrested and released from jail Friday after allegations that he stole money from investors looking to join the state’s new hemp industry.

Todd Smith is charged with third-degree felony theft, according to court records. He is a longtime political consultant to Miller, whose department issues licenses to grow hemp, which became legal in Texas in 2019.

Both Smith and a spokesperson for Miller did not immediately return messages.

Smith is accused of taking a total of $55,000 from prospective hemp producers who believed they were paying to secure a limited number of hemp licenses in Texas. Miller’s name is not mentioned in the arrest affidavit, which was written by a Texas Ranger.

Smith was booked in a Travis County jail Thursday and released early Friday, according to Kristen Dark, a spokeswoman for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

The charges were first reported by The Texas Standard.