Guns, Drugs, And Prostitutes: Police Raid Yacht In Nantucket Harbor

Jason Graziadei and David Creed •

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A Coast Guard patrol boat is seen here tied to the motor yacht Jess Conn in Nantucket Harbor Tuesday morning as authorities investigate. Photo by Kit Noble

A 70-foot motor yacht anchored in Nantucket Harbor was raided by Nantucket Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Tuesday after a woman was evacuated from the vessel and taken to an ambulance waiting at the town pier.

The owner of the yacht, a retired physician, has been arrested and sources with knowledge of the investigation told the Current that authorities discovered guns, drugs, and prostitutes aboard the vessel.

The motor yacht Jess Conn, out of Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, was anchored in the horse shed area of Nantucket Harbor Tuesday morning when the woman was taken off the boat with the assistance of Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey and Nantucket Fire Department EMTs. The vessel was later boarded by personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Station Brant Point and a DEA special agent, who were assisting the Nantucket Police Department with the ongoing investigation

The owner of the yacht, Scott Anthony Burke, 69, of Key Largo, Fla., was taken into custody Tuesday morning and is now facing drug trafficking and weapons charges related to the incident and subsequent search of the yacht. He will be arraigned in Nantucket District Court on Monday, Sept. 11.

The initial response to the vessel was due to 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.

Investigators, including a DEA special agent, boarded and searched the Jess Conn at 3:25 p.m., 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. 

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The Jess Conn in Nantucket Harbor. Photo by David Creed

On Wednesday morning, Nantucket Police Department Lt. AngusMacVicar shared a press release that stated Burke was initially charged with two counts of possession of a firearm without a license before the search of the yacht resulted in additional charges against him.

"The Nantucket Police Department and the DEA Cape Cod Resident Office continued an investigation and Burke was additionally charged with 1 count of Trafficking in Class B, 1 count of Possession to Distribute Class A, 1 count of Possession of a Firearm without a License, 1 count of Possession of Ammunition without a License and 4 Counts of Possession of a Large Capacity Feeding Device," the press released stated. "This case remains under investigation at this time."

Burke is a retired physician who practiced in Colorado and founded Denver Spine and Rehab. He is currently is the CEO of Injury Finance, LLC, which provides medical lien services for third-party liability claims.

Harbormaster Sheila Lucey said the initial call Tuesday morning was for a “wellness check” on a woman, but she declined to share any further details.

Coast Guard Station Brant Point’s executive petty officer Jeff Wecal said his crew was involved in assisting the Nantucket Police Department’s investigation and referred all inquiries to NPD.

The Jess Conn arrived in Nantucket Harbor on Aug. 23 after a voyage from Newport, Rhode Island.

The yacht was recently photographed by after it ran aground in May in Florida, but escaped without significant damage.

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

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Photo by David Creed

The Nantucket Police Department issued the following press release about the investigation and charges Wednesday morning:

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The Nordhavn 80 yacht was built in China and completed in 2021. See a video tour of the vessel below:

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