Fleetwood Mac's John McVie Busted

Honolulu cops find drugs and guns

John McVie performing at Wembly Arena circa 1981. Credit: Peter Still/Redferns/Getty

When Max, the Honolulu Police Department's drug-sniffing dog, signaled that there was some sort of illegal substance in the brown-and-white package bound for Maui, the authorities figured it would be just another drug bust in paradise. The next day, December 23rd, four Maui police officers, armed with a search warrant, followed the package to its address: an expensive two-story house in the resort area of Napili. It wasn't until they noticed the gold records on the wall that they realized this wasn't a typical bust – they were at the home of Fleetwood Mac bass guitarist John McVie.

According to police, when they tried to search the house, McVie's wife, Julie Ann, attempted to destroy some of the evidence. During their hour-long search, police allegedly recovered the package (which had contained four and a half grams of coke) and also found some unidentified pills, marijuana residue inside a pipe and seven guns.

The McVies were both charged with possession of cocaine, a class-B felony with a maximum penalty of $10,000 and/or ten years in jail. Julie McVie was additionally charged with hindering prosecution, a felony. Both were released on bail: $ 1000 for John, $ 1500 for Julie.

Still pending are possible charges of gun possession (Hawaii law prohibits aliens from owning guns). Officers confiscated three loaded pistols, three rifles and a Remington 570 riot shotgun from the McVie household.

For the British-born McVie – technically a resident alien in the U.S. – the real threat of a felony conviction would not seem to be a jail sentence (which is rarely imposed on first offenders in Hawaii) or a fine, but the likelihood of deportation.

McVie has lived intermittently on Maui for years without incident. In 1978, the group performed a benefit concert for Maui charities, which netted about $20,000. Around that time, the thirty-five-year-old bassist said, "Maui is the furthest practical place to live from rock & roll madness."

The McVies were due to be arraigned on January 16th in Wailuku District Court.

This story is from the February 19, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone.