Singaporean model-DJ Tenashar jailed 18 months over 2015 drug offences

Debbie Valerie Tenashar Long, 32, pleaded guilty to one count each of consuming benzoylecgonine and psilocin, as well as one found of possessing 41.81g of psilocin. (PHOTO: Facebook / Tenashar)

Singaporean model and DJ Tenashar was jailed 18 months for drug offences on Tuesday (26 March).

Debbie Valerie Tenashar Long, 32, pleaded guilty to one count each of consuming benzoylecgonine, which is found in cocaine, and psilocin, which is found in so-called “magic mushrooms”, as well as one found of possessing 41.81g of psilocin.

One count of possessing nimetazepam, a hypnotic drug, was taken into consideration for her sentencing.

While Long was first arrested at Changi Airport in 2015, she was later granted bail and allowed to travel overseas for work. However, she stayed out of the country for three years and was arrested upon her return in 2018.

Drugs found in luggage

Acting on information they had received, Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officers apprehended Long at the arrival belt of Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 on 28 October 2015. At the time, she had just returned from a two-week trip to Amsterdam.

Two containers of mushroom-like substances – labelled “Psilocybe Atlantic Forbidden Fruit” – were found in Long’s pink luggage. The substances were later found to contain psilocin, which is listed as a Class A controlled drug in Singapore.

Long’s urine sample also tested positive for cocaine.

The next day, Long’s home at Robertson Quay was raided and a blister packet of tablets was recovered from her wardrobe. The tablets were found to contain nimetazepam, a Class C controlled drug.

Absconded while on bail

After being granted bail, Long left the country on 15 November 2015 for a work gig. However, she only returned on 24 May last year, after her passport expired.

Long was placed in remand two days later and has remained in remand since then.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Nicholas Wuan, who sought 22 months’ jail for Long, described her act of absconding while on bail as being an aggravating factor.

Wuan also noted that Long had consumed two drugs considered to be the most dangerous under Singapore’s laws. Additionally, the evidence in the case showed that Long was not a first-time drug consumer and that the psilocin she had purchased was enough for 10 doses, said Wuan.

Deeply embarrassed by public scrutiny

Long’s lawyer S S Dhillon said that Long had consumed the drugs in a country where they were not illegal. He added that Long had not absconded but was permitted to travel abroad by the CNB.

She had stayed overseas due to various issues, including her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Thorsten Nolte, who is currently overseas and is wanted by the CNB for failing to report back over drug offences in 2015.

“(Long) is a prolific disc jockey who has achieved international fame in the DJ industry. She is the only Singaporean to have ranked 87th in a ranking of DJs around the world, as highlighted by a popular DJ magazine,” said Dhillon.

He added that Long had also used her celebrity status to donate to charitable causes.

Since being remanded, Long has experienced “a deep sense of embarrassment” and humiliation due to the public scrutiny brought on by being in the media spotlight, said Dhillon.

The lawyer added that this has served as “an additional punishment on top of any custodial sentence” that Long would receive. An excessively lengthy jail sentence would also have an adverse effect on Long’s career, which she has “painstakingly built up over the last 10 years”, Dhillon told the court.

Long also suffers from depression, hypnotic dependence syndrome and insomnia and has been receiving treatment since 2011, added the lawyer. She also has a 12-year-old daughter who is in the care of Long’s ex-husband.

The lawyer pointed out that Long has a clean record and has not even been to a drug rehabilitation centre.

“(Long) is extremely remorseful and is incredibly apologetic to her family, fans and society at large. (Long) recognises that she has disappointed many of them in her wayward choices,” said Dhillon, who sought a 16-month jail term for his client.

District Judge Kessler Soh told Long, who appeared in court in prison garb with her hands and feet shackled, “This is the first time you are being convicted. I hope this is a lesson you will remember.”

“Never ever consume drugs again, whether in Singapore or overseas,” said Soh.

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