Future’s DJ Spent 56 Days In A Dubai Jail For Weed
Birthdays are supposed to be a time to celebrate life with family in friends, but for Future's tour DJ, DJ Esco, his most recent birthday turned into one of the worst experiences of his life. While traveling to Dubai for a performance at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Esco was stopped in the airport by a riled up security officer. After searching all of Esco's bags, the officer found 15 grams of weed that Esco had put in his bag after their last European show in Amsterdam. Considering the drug laws in Abu Dhabi are incredibly strict, Esco ended up spending 56 days in jail.
One week after getting back to the States, Esco sat down with The FADER and gave the full breakdown of what happened starting with his arrest.
The following is an abridged version of Esco's story. The full story can be read here.
I was not intentionally trying to bring weed to Abu Dhabi. And 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. I swear I would have.
So, okay. [The officer] finally found like, this fairy dust particle of weed in my backpack. They're trying to get like a magnifying glass and—I'm for real—they're like, arguing if it's green or brown. They're tearing the luggage apart like I got kilos of cocaine or something, ripping the bags apart looking for extra compartments and shit. The officer gets down to the last two bags, and that's when he finds a bag with some weed in it. It was a good little amount, probably 15 grams or something like that.
At this point I'm thinking, first of all, What the fuck? I didn't know the weed was there. And second, I didn't know what the hell they was gonna do. Cause once they seen some weed they went crazy. You would have thought I had a bomb and there was ten seconds left and the world is about to end if they didn't get every officer up there. But I'm not scared yet, because I'm still thinking that worst case scenario, they're just gonna send me back on the plane. Okay, I can't come. It's the last show anyways, and I don't really want to go through all these interrogations. Do what you want to do with the weed, and send me back next flight. So I'm still relaxed at this point. Little did I know, I was gonna be in that motherfucker for 56 days.
So they give you this paper that tells you in seven days you gotta go to court, but then you only get to say one word. They ask you, did you bring a drug into this country? You don't get to explain. You just get to say yes or no, and you have to say yes because if you say no, then there's a whole 'nother case going on. So you say yes, and then they give you another paper for 14 days. Then you get thrown in Dubai jail. I don't care what you did, how minor it was, you can't do anything for the first 21 days, no matter what.
So now I'm like, Okay, Tuesday it's going down. My U.S. Embassy, they coming, and I'm getting out of here. People was like, "He's American! He's American! He's gonna be outta here in three days." Everyone keeps saying this because they've never seen an American here. It's like I'm a fucking unicorn, for real. They've never seen an American where they can walk up and touch him. It's like I'm an extraterrestrial.
In the jail it's two sides. There's the Arabic side and the other side is predominantly African. and it's like a war between both sides. But I could go on both sides 'cause I wasn't neither. When I first moved in, both sides were tryna see who was gonna get the American. And I'm like, I know I'm gonna be cool with them Africans over there, but I need to make sure I'm cool with the Arabic side too. We had one dude in there who'd been in the Taliban, and he was celebrated. He got caught because he fell asleep when he was supposed to be detonating a tank. He was waiting so long that he fell asleep, and the U.S. found him with this bomb in his hand and he said he got tortured by the CIA for 40-something days. With no clothes on, in the cold. And he never gave no names, so the U.S. let him go. This was his little legend.
Eventually, Esco befriended the jail's warden and he helped him earn his freedom:
The warden said, "Gimme 10 minutes and I'll let you know." He called me and was like, "Hey I just talked to your prosecutor, I think you might be going home in a week." I just gave him this big ass hug. And the inmates, they not even used to seeing that. That can't see an inmate giving the warden a hug. I called my mom and I was like, "Mom, I think I might have good news. The warden just did me a whole favor." And she was like, "I knew it! I knew it! Everybody been praying." We'd been on an up and down roller coaster—I was supposed to be there for Thanksgiving, and then we thought I was gonna be there for Christmas.
The first thing I did was walk into the airport paranoid. I bought some headphones, because after no music for all those days—and they don't know nothing about hip-hop—I wanted to listen to music so bad. So I bought some headphones, then I went up to the escalators and bought some ice cream and some cookies and I was like, I can't believe this. Like, What just happened?