Coca-Cola Heir Billionaire Arrested for Allegedly Filling Plane with Weed Plants
'Alki' David was arrested in St. Kitts after authorities allegedly found 5,000 cannabis plants, seeds, and CBD products on his private plane.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Alkiviades “Alki” David has been busy for the past few years, and it hasn’t always been the good kind of busy. The 50-year-old billionaire (and heir to a Greek Coca-Cola bottling fortune) has been sued for copyright infringement by ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox over his TV streaming service; he’s been involved in a lengthy legal battle with Roy Orbison’s sons over who has the right to use a hologram of the late singer; and he famously offered $1 million to anyone who would streak naked in front of then-President Barack Obama—and then tried to get out of paying the 24-year-old man who actually did it. (He also joked about the guy’s penis size, to add insult to injury.)
In April, a California jury ordered David to pay $11.1 million in damages to a former employee who accused him of sexual harassment and battery, and who said that she was fired after she refused his sexual advances. And, just last week, David was arrested in St. Kitts after authorities allegedly found 5,000 cannabis plants, hemp seeds, and CBD products on his private plane.
According to a Facebook post from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, David was arrested after a two-day investigation into “the circumstances surrounding material suspected to be cannabis on a private aircraft.” He was taken into custody and charged with Possession with Intent to Supply, Possession of Controlled Drugs, and with importing a controlled drug into the country. David was released after posting a $30,000 cash bail, ordered to surrender all of his travel documents to the cops, and he agreed to appear in court today.
David told the St. Kitts & Nevis Observer that he had come to the island to “build relationships” with local farmers, in hopes that they would grow hemp for him on their farms. He would then purchase those plants for his own CBD company, Swissx. “We’re bringing an opportunity to St. Kitts which is going to benefit my business, which is to buy as much biomass of hemp we can grow here,” he said. “Four months from now, as soon as I get my seeds, we’ll be harvesting here. We’ll be harvesting thousands and thousands of pounds of cherry hemp.”
Although David said that he wasn’t “infringing on the law” by importing those plants and seeds into St. Kitts, but a local attorney says nope, he 100-percent was. “The mere possession of marijuana seeds is not a crime,” Dr. Henry Browne told the news outlet. “What is a crime is to have the seeds and to come to an agreement to plant the seeds. Planting the seeds for the purpose of cultivation is a crime.” He also said that the Federation—St. Kitts and Nevis—does not distinguish between cannabis or hemp, or between plants that contain THC and those that don’t: they’re all considered to be cannabis, and they’re all currently illegal. (Although last Thursday, the same day that David was arrested, the Federation’s government had its first reading of a Cannabis Bill that could potentially legalize cannabis for “medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes.”)
After David’s arrest, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Timothy Harris, released a strongly worded statement that said that “non-nationals would not be permitted to secure advantages over nationals as we set about to build out a marijuana industry,” and added that his government had neither granted an importation license to any foreign citizen, nor had it agreed to help any foreigner “[set] up businesses to trade in cannabis.” (At a press conference on Monday, David called Harris “a little dictator,” and warned that he “has a whole new thing coming at him.”)
As of this writing, the details of David’s Tuesday morning court appearance have not yet been released. (MUNCHIES has reached out to the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force for comment). Local media was also barred from entering the courtroom, but the Observer reported that David had to briefly leave to change clothes after he arrived in shorts and flip flops.
In a press release, Swissx said that David and his business partner, who was also arrested, would be filing lawsuits against both Prime Minister Harris and the Federation’s government later this week. It seems like he’d be over lawsuits for a bit, but… nah.