What was Jonathan Rhys Meyers doing with two billionaires and 5,000 cannabis plants on a private plane in St. Kitts?
Vanity Fair calls it “mad libs for the C.B.D. era.” Two billionaire heirs and a movie star arrived on the tropical island of St. Kitts bearing cannabis, only to be detained and arrested. There was Alki David, son of a Greek Coca-Cola bottling magnate, Chase Ergen, son of Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen, star Jonathan Rhys Meyers, famous for playing King Henry VIII on the TV series The Tudors, and Meyers’ wife and mother in law. David’s private plane was packed wall-to-wall with about 5,000 plants, plus hemp seeds, and C.B.D. products, valued at about $1.3 million.
David and Ergen were headed to the island allegedly to negotiate with St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris to develop the cannabis industry on the island. The Meyers clan was just along for the ride, as old friends of David, and not affiliated with the company. Apparently, St. Kitts and Nevis officials didn’t know that, however. David, Ergen, and Meyers were held for eight hours by customs officials when they arrived on the island. “Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s mother-in-law and wife were cavity searched,” at the airport, says David, who was later arrested, held overnight, and released after posting $300,000 bail. He immediately fled the island nation on Tuesday, May 14, safely returning to his Malibu mansion. David has been charged with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs, and importation of a controlled drug into the federation. David’s cannabis plants were confiscated, but he was allowed to leave with his CBD products.
The Daily Mail reports that Ergen has either been hospitalized on the island for unknown reasons or arrested for possession of drugs, days after being found with medical ketamine. None of the Meyers family have been charged.
David has a medical cannabis company called Swissx and was hoping to broker a deal with the St. Kitts and Nevis government to “develop legal cannabis businesses in the region.” In a press release following the arrest, David said “our intention is to work with the government, the courts, the banks, the business sector, and the farmers to develop a fair system that creates thousands of jobs on the island and uses Swissx’s international distribution network to make St. Kitts-Nevis cannabis products among the most sought after in the world.”
The Prime Minister’s office responded in a statement, saying the negotiations had never happened. “Non-nationals would not be permitted to secure advantages over nationals as we set about to build out a marijuana industry,” it said. “The government has not granted any license to anyone to import plants or seeds into the Federation and that [the] administration has not had any conversation with any foreigner about setting up businesses to trade in cannabis.”
It’s not clear what David planned to do with the cannabis, or why he would bring it while still in negotiations with Harris. However, a recent court decision on the island and a new cannabis bill will likely soon legalize it for recreational, medical and religious purposes on the island, which according to David could happen before his September 23 court date.
After his release, Vanity Fair says David shared on Instagram, “Alright ladies and gentlemen. St. Kitts is not going to get all these delicious goodies for another couple of weeks. We’ve sorted out all of the issues that we had as you can see. No need for an extraction team. We're headed back. We’re back in three weeks with the rolling papers, baby.” This may have been an Instagram story, because it is not currently posted. However, David has also posted an article from the Times of London titled “I really enjoyed my night in jail, says billionaire on drug charges.”
David hasn’t made it back to St. Kitts and Nevis just yet, but a week later, David landed in Puerto Rico with $3 million worth of cannabis hoping to set up a business venture there too. No arrests were made.