Willie Nelson, John Forté, and Other Musicians Busted With Drugs | County Grind | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Willie Nelson, John Forté, and Other Musicians Busted With Drugs

​What do all the Beatles, George Michael, and Lil Wayne have in common? At one point or another, they've been busted with dope. 

The list of musicians who have been accused of drug-related crimes is staggering. And since this week's cover story is about the cocaine-related conviction of Grammy-winning reggae Buju Banton, it seems fitting to take a look at a few notable cases of the musically inclined getting caught with mind-altering substances. 

1. John Forté: In 2000, classically trained violinist, rapper, and onetime Fugees producer John Forté got busted at a New Jersey airport with a briefcase that contained more than $1 million worth of coke. He was, according to MTV, "found guilty of possession of 31 pounds of liquid cocaine with intent to distribute" and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. But President George W. Bush ended up pardoning him in 2008 thanks to efforts by Carly Simon and others. 

2. Joe Daniels: Apparently there was a local reggae-fusion band in Hawaii called Big Every Time, or BET for short. Apparently, Joe Daniels, or JD, a member of that band, was really into mailing huge quantities of meth. In 2008, authorities arrested Daniels and a few others after the DEA came across some FedEx packages that contained 50 pounds of crystal meth. That marked one of the largest meth busts in the state at the time, and Daniels was sentenced in 2009 to 14 years.

3. Twisted Black: After surviving a gunshot to the face, Tommy Burns, or Twisted Black, had all the street cred he needed to make it as a Texas rapper. But he chose to sell crack on the side, which led to his 2005 arrest. The courts came down hard on Burns, sentencing him to 1,080 months -- or life in prison. However, Burns won part of an appeal due to "amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines regarding the disparity in sentencing of crack and powder cocaine offenses."

4. Jimmy Bauer: Bachata singer Jimmy Bauer learned in 2010 that the human stomach is not a suitable vessel for storing more than two pounds of pure heroin. While waiting at an airport in the Dominican Republic, New York-born Bauer fell ill and was rushed to a nearby military hospital. A few x-rays was all it took to show that the musician had 88 pellets of heroin stashed in his gut. Dominican authorities treated and arrested him.

5. Willie Nelson: Six ounces of weed may seem like a hefty personal stash, but not when you're talking about the likes of Willie. In November 2010, Border Patrol officers in Texas searched the country artist's tour bus after catching a whiff of that distinct odor. Authorities hauled Willie, 77 at the time, off to the clink, but he was out on bail the next afternoon and later settled the mishap through a plea deal. It wasn't the first time he was busted in Texas for weed.

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Chris Sweeney

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