New details have emerged on last week’s police raid of the 80-foot motor yacht Jess Conn in Nantucket Harbor that led to the arrest of its owner, Scott Burke, on drug and gun charges.
The Current on Wednesday obtained the Nantucket Police Department’s application for the search warrant that was executed on the Jess Conn. The document revealed how public safety officials were notified about the woman in distress aboard the vessel, what allegedly took place on the boat in the days leading up to the raid, and described Burke’s alleged lack of cooperation with police after they boarded the yacht.
According to the affidavit in support of the search warrant signed by Nantucket Police Department detective Amanda Schwenk, the woman who was later removed from the vessel by authorities and taken to the hospital had been Facetiming with a male friend all night. The friend was the one who initially alerted authorities to the situation aboard the yacht last Tuesday morning. He told police he believed his friend had overdosed because the woman told him she wanted to get off the boat, passed out, and that the call had dropped.
The woman allegedly had told him that “they were doing drugs all weekend long and people on the boat had been making pornographic films" which the man then relayed to police. The drugs, according to the man, were ketamine, Adderall, ecstasy, and cocaine.
Burke's attorney, Hank Brennan, told the Current that the man's statements to authorities were inconsistent and were motivated by his prior relationship with the woman.
"He’s a bitter ex-boyfriend who was upset she wouldn’t come see him and I wouldn’t put much stock in anything he has to say," Brennan said. "His accounts are inconsistent."
The woman told police that "she did not feel safe and was afraid to be on the boat," according to the affidavit.
Many details within the warrant have already been reported – including that the woman was located by the responding authorities in a bedroom, guns and drugs were spotted in plain sight, and the woman being transported to Nantucket Cottage Hospital for further treatment.
Police said in the affidavit that when they attempted to speak to Burke initially, he was “extremely uncooperative” and that due to his behavior and lack of cooperation, was placed in handcuffs and detained.
Burke told police the woman who had overdosed was an employee of his who was hired three to four weeks prior and that there was another female friend staying on the boat as well.
The women's identities were listed in the search warrant affidavit, but the Current is not publishing their names.
Burke denied any knowledge of illegal narcotics on the yacht, including those in the bedroom. The two women were also asked by police about the drugs found onboard and they denied knowing anything aside from one of them claiming she had a medical prescription for Adderall.
According to the return of the search warrant, police also seized a Dell laptop, a Motorola cell phone, and two Apple iPads. Those items will undergo a forensic examination by law enforcement officials.
When the woman who was taken off the boat spoke to police after receiving treatment, she confirmed she had FaceTimed an ex-boyfriend that night and later confirmed she had spoken to the man who called the police.
Investigators, including a DEA special agent, boarded and searched the Jess Conn at 3:25 p.m. on September 5, according to court documents obtained by the Current. They confiscated 43.4 grams of cocaine, 14.1 grams of ketamine, and two pistols - a .380 Smith Wesson Shield and a 9mm Smith & Wesson - along with various ammunition.
After being read his Miranda rights following the initial boarding of the vessel Tuesday morning, Burke told police he was the owner of the boat, that the pistols belonged to him, and that he had a license to carry firearms. Police determined that Burke had a license to carry in Florida which had expired in September 2022.
Judge James Sullivan set Burke’s bail at $200,000 following a dangerousness hearing last Thursday in Plymouth District Court. Burke’s attorney, Henry Brennan, told the Current he expected the bail to be posted.
Brennan claimed during the detention hearing that Burke had a party on the yacht in Nantucket Harbor with over a dozen guests and that he was waiting for the captain of the vessel to return from a wedding on the day the raid occurred. The woman who required medical attention had allegedly asked Burke to stay an extra few days, and Brennan claimed when speaking to Sullivan “everybody had left the boat other than one woman.”
Burke is a retired physician who practiced in Colorado and founded Denver Spine and Rehab. He is currently the CEO of Injury Finance, LLC, which provides medical lien services for third-party liability claims.
Burke had a probable cause hearing scheduled for October 16. That hearing will be held on Nantucket.
This story will be updated.