Party Yacht Jess Conn Leaves Nantucket Harbor To Be Sold

Jason Graziadei •

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The Jess Conn tied up at town pier Tuesday morning.

The motor yacht Jess Conn, which was raided by law enforcement authorities one week ago, left Nantucket Harbor Tuesday morning with a new captain and crew.

The owner, retired doctor Scott Burke who is facing drug trafficking and gun charges following the raid, did not appear to be aboard the vessel. Burke, 69, has reportedly posted the $200,000 bail that was set during his appearance in Plymouth District Court last Thursday.

The Jess Conn was tied up at the town pier Tuesday morning after being anchored in the harbor for several weeks. Its crew was spotted hauling trash off the yacht and speaking with Harbormaster Sheila Lucey. They told the Current that they had been hired by the boat's manufacturer, Nordhavn, after Burke had contracted with the company to take possession of the vessel and sell it on his behalf.

While they said they were not aboard the vessel before the law enforcement raid, the crew members stated they discovered a mess aboard the yacht when they arrived.

"It was just a mess. It looked like someone stopped the party in the middle of it," a crew member said.

They were spotted hauling trash off the Jess Conn at the town pier and used the vessel's small crane to load a moped with Florida plates aboard the yacht before departing from the harbor.

Other public safety sources told the Current this week that authorities found dog feces all over the vessel during the initial response. But the vessel's new crew said they had no knowledge of Burke or what had happened aboard the Jess Conn.

"I have no opinion, we're just here to do a job. Period," another crew member said. "I have no idea what went on or what didn't go on. And it's not a concern of mine."

As of noon on Tuesday, the Jess Conn was just south of Chappaquiddick off Martha's Vineyard. 

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The raid of the Jess Conn and the arrest of Burke made national headlines over the past week after the Current broke the story last Tuesday night.

During Burke's detention hearing last week, it was revealed the former physician is suffering from terminal cancer. “To have this man potentially spend the rest of his life waiting for a case in jail, to me, would be very, very tragic,” said Burke's attorney Henry Brennan as he requested that the judge not hold his client in custody for pretrial detention.

According to police reports and his defense attorney, Burke was partying with friends aboard the vessel in Nantucket Harbor before the raid.

But last Tuesday morning, Nantucket police, EMTs, and Harbormaster personnel responded to the yacht for a "wellness check" after receiving a "report of a female party, on board a yacht, who did not want to be there, was under the influence of narcotics, and possibly has overdosed," according to a police report. The woman was taken off the yacht to an ambulance at the town pier that transported her to Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Her condition and identity is unknown.

Investigators, including a DEA special agent, subsequently boarded and searched the Jess Conn, 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.

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Scott Anthony Burke in Plymouth District Court on Thursday. Pat Greenhouse / Boston Globe

Burke is facing charges of possession of a firearm without an FID card (two counts), possession of ammunition without an FID (two counts), possession of a Class B substance (cocaine), trafficking a Class B substance over 36 grams but less than 100 grams (cocaine; approximately 43.4 grams), possession with the intent to distribute a Class A substance (ketamine; approximately 14.1 grams), possession of a firearm without an FID, and possession of a large capacity feeding device (four counts).

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