What started as a fun trip to Costa Rica went south quick for NFL player Duron Marmon, as officials denied him access to the country after discovering a significant amount of marijuana in his luggage.
The New England Patriots Safety was traveling to Costa Rica from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After landing, officials at the airport inspecting his luggage discovered a hollowed-out fake Arizona Iced Tea can with a screw-on top, a very popular option in the world of medium-sized stash jars in places that still have draconian cannabis policy.
The Costa Rica Star reported that the country’s Fiscal Control Police found roughly two ounces of cannabis inside of the can, as well as three vape cartridges, an edible and four glass containers with what the paper called “compressed marijuana” — which probably means hash. Following the discovery, Marmon was denied entry into the country.
— Costa Rica News (@CostaRicaStar) March 26, 2018
Costa Rican officials issued a statement on the discovery.
“This involved a professional NFL player, who tried to come into the country carrying marijuana. We [have] sent [him] back to U.S. territory. It is important to highlight the work of different police bodies, who carry out important operations in different areas of the country. We want to prevent undesirable people from entering the country,” said Fiscal Control Police Director Irving Malespín.
Malespín also noted that the week had generally been seeing higher levels of security due to Easter Holy Week and spring break.
The Patriots were quick to issue a statement saying they were aware of the situation and Harmon had made it back to the states, but the team didn’t offer more except to say they were still gathering information on what happened. When Patriots coach Bill Belichick was confronted with the news, the always stoic coach said he didn’t have anything to add to the situation.
Marmon issued his own apology on Sunday via his Instagram.
“I would like to extend my deepest regrets and sincerest apologies to Patriots Fans, my Teammates, my coaches, the Krafts [who own the team] and the NFL,” Marmon wrote. “In addition, I apologize to my friends, family and especially my wife and two sons. Friday does not represent who I am or the person I strive to be. I am committed to doing everything within my power to regain the trust and respect of everyone who believes in me as an athlete, role model, person, and friend. I appreciate your understanding and, once again I apologize with all my heart.”
According to TheRealCostaRica.com, a site that aggregates general info and listings, things are a bit murky when it comes to pot laws. Any kind of distribution in the country carries a punishment of serious jail time, but if you’re caught with a few joints, you might avoid punishment. With the amount Marmon was carrying, this judicial structure seems to apply to him — though there’s no way of knowing if his star power helped him get off.
CostaRicaLaw.com says assumptions about marijuana being quasi-legal in Costa Rica aren’t necessarily true. The country’s Law of Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Law has language that clearly make something like cannabis cultivation and distribution a crime, but that same law also states that personal drug use is not. If you can prove you were growing for personal use, the courts have generally not found it to be a crime. Only one instance is taken as precedent though, so it could be more of a case-by-case basis.
Thankfully, Marmon was not sent back to Florida with the pot. In the Sunshine State, the amount of cannabis he was carrying could have earned a stint of up to five years in prison for felony possession and a maximum fine of $5,000. The three vape pens he had could have landed him an additional felony hash charge which also comes with up to a five-year sentence and $5,000 fine.
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