Uber Driver Kicks Out Drug-Dealing Passengers

By McCarton Ackerman 05/03/16

A Boston Uber driver attempted to eject his passengers after he realized he was in the middle of a drug deal.

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Photo via YouTube/Hector M

Video footage of a Boston Uber driver ejecting passengers for conducting a drug deal is circulating the web after resurfacing in March.

In a video of the encounter, which was uploaded to YouTube in December, the driver is transporting four young male passengers who tell him they are on their way to pick up keys from a friend. They do a bit of small talk on the way there, and the guy in the passenger seat even apologizes for leaving the keys. When they get to their destination, however, the driver watches the hand-off, done through the backseat window, and realizes he's in the middle of a drug run. He says, "That wasn't keys, buddy. That was drugs," then asks the passengers to leave the vehicle and threatens to call the police.

After some hesitation, three of them get out. But the remaining passenger in the backseat who received the drugs, and who used his app to order the trip, refuses to leave. Not wanting to be charged for the ride, the remaining passenger stays, arguing with the driver. "If I see any charges on my shit, we're going to have an issue," he says. The driver fumbles with his phone, appearing uncertain of how to cancel the ride without charging the man. "Either you're going to pay me back, or Uber's going to pay me back, or we're going to have a problem," the passenger says matter-of-factly.

The driver then turns off his car and steps out of the vehicle, appearing to follow through on his threat to call the police, which prompts the lone noncompliant passenger to finally leave.

There's no shortage of Uber drug stories. In January 2015, a pair of 20-somethings were arrested in Thousand Oaks, Calif. for using their Uber ride to conduct a drug deal. They were both booked for possession of a controlled substance for sale, after deputies pulled the driver over for a code violation and noticed they had well over one-quarter pound of butane honey oil, a concentrated form of cannabis.

Sometimes drivers get in on the action too. Artak Avakian was arrested last August after police said he used the gig “as a cover to sell drugs.” A search of his home turned up over 450 prescription pills, 20 ecstasy pills, 13 baggies of cocaine, an ounce of psilocybin and a baggie of meth. Police also found digital scales, guns, and nearly $20,000 in cash. 

And sometimes, drivers get off scot-free. In January, when comedian and talk show host Arsenio Hall tweeted that "the smell of marijuana in this Uber car is overpowering," the company responded on Twitter saying it was "completely unacceptable," and asked to follow up with him privately. But instead of snitching on his driver, Hall replied, "It's all good y'all. That ride was the first time I giggled, this entire day!" In a similar incident last September, a rider refused to identify his driver to the company, after tweeting that he suspected he was a coke dealer.  

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.