Alkiviades David – known as Alki David – was arrested at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport after customs officials allegedly uncovered around 5,000 cannabis plants, as well as seeds and CBD oil products, on the aircraft.
David had flown into St Kitts with fellow billionaire business partner Chase Ergen, 66, who was also said to have been arrested, and actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers. They were held for several hours, before being arrested days later when they tried to leave the island.
David claimed the plants were “all hemp” and were part of a new venture to “develop a legal cannabis business” in eastern Caribbean nations.
Officials from the St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force told The Daily Express that David and Ergen were charged with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into the federation.
David, who lives on the Isle of Man, is heir to the Leventis-David Group which holds the majority share in the Coca-Cola Helenic bottling plants. He and the Leventis family combined are worth £2.6 billion according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2019.
He is a major advocate for cannabis-based products and has received celebrity endorsement for his SwissX medicinal cannabis oil.
David told DailyMail.com that the group was held for eight hours by the airport’s anti-narcotics unit. He said Rhys Meyers' mother-in-law and wife were “cavity searched” , before they were all released.
He added: “We left the airport after the search but were then arrested after trying to leave the island a few days later.”
He was released after paying more than £23,000 in bail, and was ordered to surrender all travel documents, according to the website.
Police say he is due to appear in Basseterre Magistrate Court on Tuesday.
In a separate incident, the Greek billionaire claimed Ergen was later arrested for drug possession after being found with “medicinal ketamine”. He remains in police custody, according to David.
David called his business partner's arrest a “set up” and said the additional drugs were medication for bipolar.
He added: “He was talking to Prime Minister Harris when he was suddenly arrested. He is going into his second night behind bars.”
A statement from the two men said they were “working to make sure the island takes its rightful place as a leader in the world's fastest growing industry – legal CBD hemp”.
“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 SwissXs international distribution network to make St. Kitts-Nevis cannabis products among the most sought after in the world.
“It is our intention to quickly see a surge in the nation's GDP that will benefit everyone. This is an economic development initiative for raising the quality of life in conjunction with local SKN Caribbean partners. Former PM Denzil Douglas is working closely with us.
“We've have met with Prime Minister Harris to talk about coordinating support efforts before we leave next week for meetings in Dominica and other Caribbean island nations that have shown great interest in our cooperative partnership. Those talks have broken down and led to the arrests of David and Ergen. David and Ergen's legal team has arrived from the UK and will be filing lawsuits against PM Harris and the government this week.”