By Richard Esposito, Tom Winter, Jeff Rossen and Monica Alba
Justin Bieber and his father were “extremely abusive” to a flight attendant as their private jet flew from Canada to New Jersey on Friday, forcing her to take refuge in the cockpit, according to an official report obtained exclusively by NBC News.
According to multiple law enforcement sources, the leased, luxurious Gulfstream IV on which the 19-year-old Canadian pop star, his father and an entourage of 10 friends traveled was so full of marijuana smoke that the pilots were forced to wear oxygen masks.
“The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” says the official report of the incident. “The captain also stated he needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant and after several warnings asked the flight attendant to stay with him near the cockpit to avoid any further abuse.”
According to multiple sources, the attendant was forced to spend much of the flight near the pilots as the plane travelled from Canada to Teterboro, N.J.
“The flight attendant stated the passengers, including Bieber and his father, Jeremy Bieber,” stated the report, “were extremely abusive verbally and she would not work another flight with them.”
The pilots, despite a pressurized cabin, were forced to wear their oxygen masks during the flight, according to multiple sources, so that they wouldn’t risk inhaling marijuana and failing any subsequent drug test, which would put their licenses at risk.
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According to officials, when the plane landed at Teterboro, a suburban airport that caters to the rich and famous and their private aircraft, it was met by DEA and Customs and Border Protection agents and police. There was still marijuana smoke inside the cabin, according to the report.
Officials decided to question Bieber separately from the other passengers, said the report, because “in past examinations, Bieber had become argumentative and abusive when together with his security team.”
When interviewed at Teterboro, Bieber admitted smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, but stated that he did not have any additional marijuana.
According to federal and regional sources, the troubled star, his father, and his entourage, who were headed to the New York City area to attend the Super Bowl and related parties, first drove toward the U.S.-Canadian border in a motor coach. They turned back and flew from Waterloo, Ont. to Teterboro instead.
After Bieber’s flight landed Friday, drug-sniffing dogs from Customs and Border Protection and the New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police Department sat down as they walked around the plane, meaning the dogs were alerting handlers to the possible presence of drugs. Authorities then boarded the jet, which multiple sources said reeked of marijuana. However, no unsmoked weed was found during the search.
The two drug dogs also alerted handlers to the possible presence of drugs in three pieces of luggage. “One bag was labeled as belonging to Justin Bieber, one was listed as belonging to his personal assistant … and one [was] labeled as belonging to his personal trainer.”
The trainer and the assistant “disavowed knowledge of the contents of the bags and stated they were actually Bieber’s bags, but they were forced to place their names on the bags,” according to the report. No “contraband” was found, however.
No members of the flight crew were willing to file charges against their passengers, so Bieber, his father and his friends were allowed to go on their way.
After the Bieber entourage left, however, two sources said that authorities performed another search of the plane and found empty bags that appeared to have once contained marijuana. None of the items could be linked to Bieber, his father, or their guests.
Neither Drug Enforcement Administration officials nor Customs and Border Protection officials would comment to NBC News. The aviation company that flew the Bieber entourage to New Jersey, Meridian Air Charter, also declined comment.
The incident was the third encounter with law enforcement in recent weeks for Bieber. In late January, he was arrested for alleged drunk driving in Miami after an alleged drag race, and then arrested in Toronto for an alleged assault on a limo driver that occurred in late December.
Bieber had planned to spend Super Bowl weekend at New York City’s Four Seasons hotel, said the report, and depart Monday.
“Bieber … stated he would be watching the game from a private suite in METLIFE stadium, but he was unsure who owned the box he would be staying in. He stated that his assistant would probably know.”
On Sunday, the 19-year-old was shunned at the door of the New York City club 1 Oak and turned away from at least four Super Bowl parties, according to the New York Daily News' Confidential column.
On Tuesday, Bieber settled a Los Angeles lawsuit with his former bodyguard, who accused the pop star of assaulting him in 2012.
Richard Esposito is the senior executive producer of the NBC News Investigative Unit, and supervises investigative correspondents, producers, and reporters across all broadcasts and platforms of the NBCUniversal News Group.
Esposito, who began as a copy boy at the New York Daily News in 1977, has more than 25 years of newspaper and television experience. He has overseen investigations and run the metropolitan news operations at two of the largest newspapers in America, the New York Daily News and Newsday, and was most recently senior investigative reporter for ABC News.
He has shared in Peabody and Pulitzer awards, and has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer. Honors include the 2012 Murrow Award for his work in reporting the death of Osama bin Laden, a 2005 Polk Award for his investigation into the CIA’s network of secret prisons and harsh interrogation techniques, a 2006 Emmy Award and a 1990 Sigma Delta Chi award, among many other awards.
Esposito is the co-author of the books “Bomb Squad: A Year Inside the Nation’s Most Exclusive Police Unit,” and “Dead on Delivery: Inside the Drug Wars.”
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Rossen is a national investigative correspondent for NBC News. He contributes to all NBC News programs and platforms including "TODAY," "Nightly News with Brian Williams," MSNBC, NBCNews.com, NBC News Radio and the network's mobile properties in addition to reporting for WNBC.
Rossen joined NBC News in September 2008 from WABC-TV in New York where he had been a reporter and fill-in anchor for the Eyewitness News team since May 2001. During his time at WABC, Rossen covered stories around the globe, including the terrorist bombings in London, the Virginia Tech Massacre, the 2012 Summer Olympics bidding process, the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia in Texas, the arrest and child molestation trial of Michael Jackson and the World Trade Center attacks in New York on 9/11.
Rossen began his broadcasting career in radio at WBLI-FM on Long Island, N.Y. He made the transition from radio to local television as a reporter for ABC affiliate WUTR-TV in Utica, N.Y. Rossen then moved on to report for ABC affiliate WIXT-TV in Syracuse, N.Y., and then Fox affiliate WJBK-TV in Detroit, Mich.
He earned an Emmy Award for deadline news writing and has also received an award from the U.S. Justice Department for a special report on crime victims.
Rossen graduated from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He grew up on Long Island and currently resides in New Jersey.