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African Singer, Entourage Grounded In Pot Incident

November 13, 1986| From Associated Press

DENVER — African singer and songwriter Fela Anikulapo Kuti and 46 members of his entourage were kicked off a commercial airliner here because they allegedly were smoking marijuana, officials said.

Kuti and the members on his party were flying from Newark, N.J., to Seattle, when the plane stopped in Denver to pick up more passengers Monday.

Passengers waiting at Denver's Stapleton International Airport said they were going down the ramp to get on the plane when they were told to return to the terminal because a group of passengers was smoking marijuana and causing a disturbance.

United Airlines spokesman Joe Hopkins said Tuesday that members of the group allegedly began smoking marijuana cigarettes in midflight and were stubbing them out on the carpet of the DC-8.

In Denver, United officials took the group's tickets and ushered them off the plane. The group continued on to Seattle aboard a Continental Airlines flight. Hopkins said he didn't know if United would press charges in the matter.

Kuti's American spokeswoman said in New York that the incident would have no effect on the troupe's concert tour, which includes a show Saturday at Los Angeles' Olympic Auditorium.

Kuti, an outspoken critic of military rule and corruption in his home country of Nigeria, was released from prison in April by the ruling military government.

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