Former Doctor Arrested After Raid on 70-Foot Luxury Yacht in Nantucket

Jess Conn yacht
Jess Conn (Nordhavn file image)

Published Sep 6, 2023 6:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Police in Massachusetts have arrested a retired doctor who was allegedly found with drugs, prostitutes, firearms and high-capacity magazines aboard his yacht in Nantucket's harbor. 

According to the police report, Florida resident Scott Anthony Burke, 69, was arrested after first responders boarded his 70-foot yacht. Early Tuesday morning, police said that they received notification that there was a woman aboard the vessel who needed assistance. The initial report indicated that the woman “did not want to be there, was under the influence of narcotics, and possibly . . . overdosed." 

Together with the U.S. Coast Guard, two Nantucket police officers conducted a "wellness check" on the yacht, a luxurious 70-foot Nordhavn called Jess Conn. In the main suite, they found a woman who appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance. The woman reportedly told officers that "she did not feel safe." The woman was taken ashore with the assistance of the harbormaster and the local fire department. 

"In plain view" on a bookshelf in the bedroom suite, the officers saw a "black semi-automatic handgun," according to the police report. On examination, the officer found that it was loaded, with one round in the chamber. A "pink plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance" was allegedly on the nightstand. 

With assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and specialized U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents, the police searched the vessel. The search of the boat yielded 43 grams of cocaine, 14 grams of ketamine, a .380 S&W pistol, three 30-round 9MM magazines, and a 9MM pistol loaded with a 12-round magazine, according to the police report. 

According to the report, Burke had previously been arrested for possession of the same 9MM pistol.

Nonresidents may lawfully possess handguns in the state of Massachusetts without a license, but only if the gun is unloaded and stored in a separate compartment. Possessing a loaded handgun requires a Massachusetts license, which Burke did not have, according to police. Possession of "large capacity" magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds is generally unlawful in Massachusetts, with limited exceptions.  

Burke has been charged with trafficking less than 100g of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute ketamine, possession of ammunition without a license, possession of a firearm without a license, and four counts of possession of a large capacity magazine.