A history of drug busts in music


Pete Doherty leads a charmed life. Last week he escaped with just a £750 fine after 13 wraps of heroin were found in his coat pocket – as he left a court case. It inspired us to look back at a few other shameful drug arrests. Turns out rock stars quite often break the law. Who knew? Pic: PA Photos


Rapper Lil Wayne has a rap sheet to be proud of. He’s been busted in 2006, 2007, and 2008 for various offences including: possession of a weapon, possession of marijuana, possession of huge amounts of prescription meds, failing to show up in court, possession of a weapon, possession of marijuana….


Hefty rapper Notorious B.I.G. has had several brushes with the law. In 1991 when he was still a nobody he was nicked for dealing cocaine and spent nine months in jail and five years later in ’96 he was busted at home for possession of 50 grams of marijuana and four automatic weapons. Pic: PA Photos



Amy Winehouse is not only in the sights of the fashion police, she also has a very tenuous relationship with the real police. She’s been caught with pot in Norway in 2007 (and charged a fine of 3850 Norwegian kroner) and was refused a visa to the US due to “use and abuse of narcotics”, though she eventually managed to get one. Pic: PA Photos


Ol’ Dirty Bastard was arrested in 1999 in New York and found with a modest 20 vials of crack and some marijuana. He escaped from a drug rehab centre in 2000 and eventually died from an overdose in 2004. Pic: PA Photos

John Squire exhibition private view – London

On Sunday 10th November 1996 Oasis singer Liam Gallagher was arrested for drug possession on London’s Oxford Street after a celebratory all-nighter following the Q Awards. A substance, supposedly cocaine, was confiscated and taken for analysis but Gallagher was released on bail without charge. Pic: PA Photos

Gosport Music Festival

James Brown’s two big busts came a decade apart. In 1988 he was involved in a high-speed car chase that ended in a conviction for carrying an unlicensed pistol, assaulting a police officer and various other infractions. Ten years later he was arrested for marijuana possession and unlawful use of a firearm – but left after a week to head to hospital for painkiller addiction. Pic: PA Photos



Ray Charles was arrested in 1965 for heroin possesion for a third time after almost 20 years battling an addiction with the drug. However after successfully beating the addiction in a Los Angeles clinic the singer was spared time in prison and instead spent a year on parole. Pic: PA Photos


The View singer Kyle Falconer (centre) was fined £1,000 after being caught with a wrap of cocaine after the band had performed at Abertay University, Dundee. At the court case, Falconer’s defence judge said the drugs bust had cost the band a jeans endorsement deal that would have netted them £1 million. Oops. Pic: Ed Miles

Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Party Inside

In 2009 Whitney Houston confessed to a long-term crack habit – but she’s never been arrested for possessing Class A drugs. However, she’s been busted for carrying weed loads of times. In January 2000 the drug was discovered in Houston and her partner Bobby Brown’s bags – but the couple boarded the plane and took off before the police arrived. Pic: PA Photos


Van Halen’s David Lee Roth was stung by the cops in New York’s Washington Square Park in 1993. In a covert operation they can’t get away with in the UK, an undercover police officer sold him “$10 worth of Jamaican, bunk reefer” before slapping handcuffs on him. Pic: PA Photos



Only recently did George Michael fall out with the law over drugs. In February three years ago he was arrested to marijuana possession and cautioned before being released. Eight months later and he was arrested again after being found semi-concious in his car. He was banned from driving for two years and had to do community service. Pic: PA Photos


Paul McCartney played a dangerous game on his trips to Japan. In 1980 he was caught going through customs with over seven ounces of marijuana, even though he’s previously had a visa denied for previous convictions of drug possession. If convicted, he was looking at seven years in prison, but he fortunately only served 10 days. Pic: PA Photos


Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland was forced to pay $10,000 bail release after being arrested in May 2003 for drug possession, although exactly what drug he was in possession of was not disclosed. Pic: PA Photos


Surprisingly, stoner hero Bob Marley only got arrested the once for marijuana possession. It was 1977, he and The Wailers were in London, and they got nabbed by the cops. It didn’t exactly put Marley off smoking the drug, through. Pic: PA Photos


John Lennon nearly lost his right to live in the US in 1968, when Yoko and he were busted for marijuana possession back in London. He was nicked by Detective Sergeant Norman Pilcher, an anti-drug zealot who would later arrest George Harrison on similar charges. Pic: PA Photos


In 1967 the News Of The World launched a crusade against druggy musicians – including The Rolling Stones. The band were arrested and charged for drugs offences after a raid at party by Sussex Police, acting on a tip-off from the paper. Sergeant Pilcher – him again – was once again at the heart of drug investigation. Pic: PA Photos


In 1990 Don Henley was arrested on drug charges and forced to pay a fine and do two years’ community service. The Eagles singer was found in possession of marijuana, cocaine – and quaaludes, which you can’t get anymore but was apparently a popular sex drug, with an effect not dissimilar to Ecstasy. Pic: PA Photos


Boy George was first arrested in London for heroin possession on July 13, 1986. In 2006, the singer was sentenced to community service and ordered to sweep the streets of New York City after he admitted wasting police time by falsely reporting a burglary at his Manhattan apartment. Officers who responded to the call found cocaine there.