Duron Harmon reportedly denied entry to Costa Rica for marijuana possession

New England Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon arrives before the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Duron Harmon arrives before Super Bowl 52 against the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis. –Matt York/AP

Duron Harmon’s vacation to Costa Rica went awry on Friday, as the Patriots safety was detained by authorities at Juan Santamaria International Airport when he tried to enter the country with approximately two ounces of marijuana and other accessories, per a report from La Nación, the national newspaper of Costa Rica.

Harmon was detained around 2 p.m. central on Friday after local authorities found 58 grams of marijuana hidden in a can of iced tea in his suitcase. Harmon also had “three pipettes with marijuana oil, one confection of THS and four glass containers containing compressed marijuana,” per a translation of the Nación report.

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It is unclear if charges were filed, but Harmon was barred from entering the country and sent back to the United States.

“We are aware of the situation involving Duron Harmon Friday night in Costa Rica,” a Patriots spokesman said in a statement. “He has since returned to the U.S. and we are seeking to gain more information. At this time, we have no further update.”

This is Harmon’s first off-the-field issue since joining the Patriots as a third-round draft pick in 2013. He has played in 79 of 80 games in five seasons (15 starts), and in 2017 he had a career-high four interceptions.

Even if Harmon is not formally charged with a crime, this incident still has consequences.

Marijuana remains on the NFL’s list of banned substances, and a league spokesman said this incident likely violates the NFL’s Policy on Substances of Abuse. It is unclear if Harmon was previously in the league’s drug program — that information is confidential — but it takes four incidents/positive tests/missed tests to earn an automatic four-game suspension for marijuana.

If this is his first offense under the policy, Harmon would be entered into the league’s drug program and would be subjected to more frequent testing, up to 10 times randomly per month. Harmon would be released from the drug program if he passes every drug test over a 90-day period. Players who are not in the drug program are tested randomly for substances of abuse once per year between April and August.

The NFL will review the incident for a possible violation of its Personal Conduct Policy, but that policy usually only applies to incidents with physical or verbal assault, per the league spokesman.

Harmon, who served as a team captain for the first time in 2017, could also be disciplined by the Patriots with a decrease in playing time, but the team cannot fine him.

Harmon is set to enter the second year of a four-year, $19.5 million contract he signed before the 2017 season. He does not have any guaranteed money left on the deal, but the Patriots could try to recoup some of his $5 million signing bonus as a breach of contract, though that doesn’t appear likely in this case.

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