DJ Esco describes his 56 days in a Dubai jail


Somebody got pulled out of the bubble. Great read.

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We’re talking here about a country that convicted and jailed a traveller for four years because they found a 0.003g speck of cannabis - weighing less than a grain of sugar - stuck on the tread of one of his shoes.

It’s a country that jailed a Swiss traveller over three poppy seeds found in his clothing left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport.


It fascinates me how readily a nice dollop of wealth lulls people into the illusion that Dubai pretty much operates as they they would expect based on other cities, rather than substantially in line with its own history, only a whole lot wealthier.

If memory serves, there’s a steady trickle of americans and brits who don’t quite seem to understand that just because they have a financial services sector with shiny buildings you can still end up in debtor’s prison rather than a tidy chapter 7 filing.


A while back my company got invited to bid on a project in Dubai. I wrote back apologizing that unfortunately we didn’t do business with countries that don’t have basic democratic freedoms, especially equality for women and LGBT. Strange but I never heard back. I like to think that if more people turned down (the often obscene) paycheques to work in places like this, they’d quickly start to reform.


This isn’t entirely on-topic, (and it’s Qatar, not Dubai), but I found this funny today:

I don’t recall… Is this where Nancy Grace was a prosecutor?

Edit to add an h.


Ok that sucks

But the story feels a little thin to me and here’s why.

“if I would have known the rules and laws they got over there, I would
have quadruple checked my bag and made sure there wasn’t a piece of weed”
Really? It’s hard to imagine that an International DJ is clueless about the severity of drug laws in the ME? Ok maybe he’s young and naive.

From the telling of the story he made the purchase shortly before they were about to leave Amsterdam. I might be wrong but I cant think of anywhere you can fly to where weed will be legal to bring in from the Netherlands.

“It was a good little amount, probably 15 grams or something like that.”
15 grams or 1/2OZ is not a little amount IMO. It’s half a sandwich bag(from what I hear) A baseball size bag of stanky dank is nearly impossible to forget, but I guess there was a lot going through the dudes mind.
A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what have yous.


He needs to lay off the weed if he’s traveling all over the world and has no idea about the countries he’s travelling to.


“15 grams or 1/2OZ is not a little amount IMO”

To me, “good little amount” is not really the same as a “little amount.” “Good” when talking about amount usually means more: “there were a good number of complaints,” for example.

To me, the connotation is that it’s not huge, not something where he’d be likely to go dealing, but it’s not trivial either.


Something very similar happened with UK DJ Grooverider back in 2007, although with far less cannabis. Got to say that DJ Esco’s manager and/or tour manager/promoter should have known about the mandatory four-year prison sentence for drug possession and made sure that everyone traveling to Dubai was clean as a whistle.

Unfortunately western countries have sold Dubai very sensitive analytical equipment and I would advise anyone who has been in sight of any drug, legal or otherwise, not to travel there. Note, if you test positive in a blood or urine test that also counts as possession. This pretty much means you should never ever go to Dubai from Amsterdam especially after celebrating your birthday there.

I certainly have no desire to visit or work there.


Ugh. Just ugh.


Wow. Just wow. Please keep your ideas out of my quotes.
I don’t believe anyone deserves detainment or any form of penalty for possession of a plant and I certainly don’t think he had it coming.

I’m calling into question his rendition of the story. It doesn’t add up to me.

What sounds more plausible from how he described things is someone in
the group had it stashed away in their gear and he ended up taking the
fall but is keeping up this story to protect his buddy.

I too was struggling with how to interpret that. Reading the line in context with his description of the situation is what skewed me more toward interpreting the phase describing the quantity as small. He’s setting up the story like he forgot a roach in his jeans coin pocket. Like 15grams is something you just forget about. I don’t buy it. Stoners please chime in. Show of hands, when have you ever forgotten about a 1/2O?

From the wiki:
On 24 November 2007, Grooverider was arrested at Dubai International Airport for possession of 2.16 grams of cannabis. He claimed he had forgotten it in a pair of his trousers. Grooverider had been employed on a freelance basis and was not paid by BBC Radio 1 since November 2007.[5] “I must have forgotten the spliff,” he said in an interview. “It was a small amount. Back home I would not even get prosecuted.”[1]

2 grams now that’s a “good little amount” someone could plausibly forget

Agreed. His own fault. Wasting my time discussing it. Done…

2 grams is still a lot in Dubai. People are reporting been jailed for less then 0.1 of a gram, even a seed or two, or some material from the bottom of a shoe. Some older highlights here:

Use the sensitivity of Mass Spectrometry:

And ignore the background level of contamination and you should be able to arrest anyone with high denomination notes.

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You have to love how the Dubai courts put their web address on their courthouses though…

Never carry bags which you didn’t pack. When I took a work computer to Singapore I took it apart in my home before the flight and checked all the cavities.


Yeah. You think he’s lying.

Oh? then keep intelligent, kind, human thoughts within them. Makes mockery of your thoughts harder AND unnecessary.

And whatever. We got your version the first time just fine.

‘Dude goes to jail, he had it coming, shit doesn’t make sense to you, and you deserve a full explanation.’ You basically said already.

I thought the story was fascinating. And I thought it was a page long. How could details POSSIBLY be missing from a page long story?

I think you should go to Dubai for answers @MrHarley . I think you should find them yourself. Because clearly this is personal. Clearly.


Reading his story he just seems incredibly naïve and/or stupid. When travelling its hard to avoid the signs which tell you about the penalties for carrying drugs in some countries. Did he just not read them? Or did he think they didn’t apply to him?


Your character assassinations of the accused aside, he was put through an absurd system. That’s what the story is about.

If you need to establish your personal superiority through insults so that you’re convinced you’re smart and worldly and nothing analogous could EVER happen to you, so be it. Beat your chest in superior motion. Whatever. I’m not very interested in your insecurities as it turns out.

Could you make friends with both sides? Could you befriend the warden? I wonder if I could. Do you wonder? Or are you just superior/afraid?

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