Former UCLA and Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surrendered a small amount of marijuana to U.S. Customs officials at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday and paid a $500 civil fine, a Customs Service spokesman said Friday.
Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s career scoring leader, told customs officers that he has migraines and “doctors recommended him using this,” said Pat Jones, a customs spokesman in Washington.
The customs spokesman said the seizure was handled as an administrative rather than a criminal matter and that there was no arrest. Canadian police, however, said Abdul-Jabbar had been arrested.
Regional Police Inspector David Price, contacted Friday by The Canadian Press, confirmed a Toronto Sun report that Abdul-Jabbar was arrested but not charged.
The Sun said the marijuana amounted to six grams.
It was found as Abdul-Jabbar was about to fly from Toronto to Los Angeles. The U.S. Customs Service has a “pre-clearance” operation at some Canadian airports.
“We have these drug-sniffing dogs and one of them smelled something on Kareem,” Jones said. “He talked to one of our inspectors and was very cooperative and he volunteered that he had a minuscule amount of marijuana on him.”