American Cruise Ship Contractor Arab Middle East Drug Conviction

Matthew Thomas Gonzales

Matthew Thomas Gonzales aka Matty Gonzales,  39, an unmarried contractor for Florida cable company, Waveguide Communications was suppose to board Royal Caribbean International cruise ship Celebrity Constellation in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 17, 2017.


He flew into Abu Dhabi  and when he was examined by security, he was arrested for prescription drugs he had in his possession.

The drugs seized were Tramadol, a medication he says was prescribed by his doctor to relieve back and shoulder pain. Tramadol is a non-narcotic medication even though the effects it produces are similar to narcotics.

United Arab Emirates law required him to carry his prescription and register the medication as he entered the UAE.

Gonzales, known as musician Matty G,  now convicted for a drug offense, is a prisoner at Al Wathba Prison, where he is serving a two year term. He is actually very lucky. Less than a year ago, the term would have been four years.

In an October 19, 2016 article in The National UAE, titled New UAE law brings options for first-time drug offenders, it states. “The minimum four-year jail sentence has been reduced to two, and the Attorney General has the power to send an offender for treatment without the case going to court, after advice from police and prosecutions.” Yet, Matty Gonzales was sent to prison for prescribed drugs.

An UAE newspaper article describing Al Wathba Prison states, “The prison is closer to a residential detention center, with living quarters, a clean and well-kept kitchen, a library, a theater and a workshop.

Al Wathba Prison

Drug offenders are separated from other prisoners. Those who are in for petty crimes, such as traffic offences or cheques have their own separate wards. They are all legally categorized. Even inmates with mental illness have their own cells.”

Given Matty G’s history as a secret American teen marijuana ‘drug’ dealer in 1994, one might  call the arrest for legal prescription drugs in 2017, ‘Karma‘. Karma is the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).

According to a February  7, 2015  OnMilwaukee newspaper article written about musician Matty G, he indicated that as a  youth, he was an illegal drug dealer. The article stated, “When Gonzales was 16, his father noticed small groups of people coming over to the house for short periods of time and finally, one day, he asked his son if he was selling pot. Without a pause, Gonzales said, “Yes.”

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The article goes on to state, “I stole cars, I hitchhiked – whatever I needed to do to get back,”, he says.

Another article which is a looking glass into the mind of this musician says, “Over the years, Gonzales has written hundreds of songs with lyrics that range from witty (“You need a sugar daddy, I need a diabetic mama”) to raw (“Creepin’ through this broken mind is a desperation I’ve tried to hide / Dripping off this silver tongue is enough reversion to come undone. When I’m crawling through your spine, I take the knife out of my teeth and try to hide.”)”

Now, the Gonzales family is hoping President Donald Trump can get Gonzales, out of prison. Trump hosted Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan  from the United Arab Emirates at the White House on May 15, 2017. The family hopes Trump may have some favor with the Prince.

Travel Warning – Research Customs and Laws

Americans traveling abroad on the Africa continent or in Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, Eastern Block or European nations,  should thoroughly research their destination’s customs and laws.  Respect other cultures and keep in mind, you’re not in Kansas any more. It may seem more like the land of Oz, when travel whirlwinds take you far from home. Knowledge is power and will enhance your travels; don’t be a ‘dumb American’.

A new federal law in the UAE prohibits swearing in Whatsapp (instant messaging application for smartphones) and penalizes swearing by a $68,061 fine and imprisonment, expats are penalized by deportation. In July 2015, an Australian expat was deported for swearing on Facebook.

The video below shows another American imprisoned, for a Youtube comedy video he posted online.

Video: American jailed in Abu Dhabi for YouTube video

Article Resources