Joel Taylor's death is officially off the FBI's plate -- for now at least ... TMZ has learned.
Carlos Osorio -- a spokesman for the FBI's San Juan Division -- tells TMZ the feds have been pulled off the "Storm Chasers" star's case, and it's been passed back to local authorities.
Osorio says FBI members conducted a preliminary investigation on the cruise ship Taylor died on this week, and concluded his death was not the result of a violent crime. That, coupled with other factors he wouldn't elaborate on, made U.S. officials determine the case was no longer in the FBI's jurisdiction.
Here's the catch -- if it's determined Taylor's death is linked to murder ... we're told the feds could reopen the investigation. That doesn't seem likely -- Taylor's death appears to be tied to a drug OD.
As we reported ... Taylor was so out of it after consuming what we're told was GHB that he was rendered unconscious on the dance floor and had to be carried to his room. Passengers told us drug us was rampant on the cruise ship as passengers partied.
No arrests have been made, and local police in San Juan are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding Taylor's demise.
Nas is living the dream ... exhibit A -- finally landing the car he dreamed about when he was a kid.
The legendary rapper hit up Will Castro of "Unique Rides" in NYC and challenged him to find a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 190E and turn it into a masterpiece.
Will spent under $5k to buy the beater and his team spent another 8 weeks customizing it with, shall we say, Unique touches -- a custom rag-top, leather piped interior seats, custom Nas wheels and a sick sound system. It's unclear what the whip's worth now but it's gotta be a crap load more.
The episode airs Wednesday at 9 PM on Velocity.
So, why does this car mean so much to Nas? We're told, to him, this Benz personified everything it meant to be rich ... in car, culture, style, life and spirit.
Mission accomplished, Nas.
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"Deadliest Catch" captain Sig Hansen is reeling in more heat for his alleged spit-fest on an Uber driver.
Waheed Lawal -- Sig's Uber driver during the night in question -- filed suit against the reality star and his son-in-law, Clark Pederson, for allegedly unloading saliva on the back of his head and kicking the crap out of his car. Lawal admits he refused to take cash for the trip, it's against Uber policy, and says that's what set them off.
Sig was arrested afterward, and his criminal case is still pending.
Lawal's suing for assault and battery. And get this ... his wife's a plaintiff too, claiming loss of consortium. In other words, the couple isn't having sex anymore due to his injuries.
Sig's previously apologized for the incident. Not enough for Lawal, obviously.
Michael Phelps isn't taking a shred of blame for viewers' disappointment over him not racing an actual great white shark, and says he stands by the "incredible" made-for-TV event.
The 23-time Olympic gold medal winner opened himself up to his critics on Facebook and addressed the backlash from his Discovery Channel special. You'll recall, no doubt, Phelps lost to the shark ... but it was a CGI shark.
Phelps claims everyone involved in the man vs. beast production made it very clear what the "race" would entail, but people chose not to listen and now they're hatin' ... which he calls "shocking."
Speaking of shocking -- Michael didn't race a real shark, but REALLY did swim in 53 degree water!
Anastasia Ashley lasted 6 of 21 days in the jungle ... but called it quits after a nasty ambush by a swarm of sandflies ... while she was naked.
The pro-surfer/bikini model is currently in Belize after competing on season 7 of Discovery's, "Naked and Afraid." The new season kicks off Sunday on Discovery, but Anastasia's episode will be airing later.
She described the nighttime ambush that cut her stay short. Don't worry, the bites are healing and Anastasia expects to be bikini-ready ASAP.
"Deadliest Catch" star Captain Sig Hansen is calling it quits after suffering a heart attack -- that's right, no more cigarettes ... or at least, fewer of them.
The famous crabber came on "TMZ Live" to talk about his recovery from that heart attack he suffered last week while at sea. Sig says it was a huge wake up call and he's seriously trying to quit his smoking habit.
Cameras were rolling when Sig fell unconscious and we're told it will be part of the show's 12th season which starts later this month on Discovery.
But watch the clip ... he's not so down to cut sex out of his life -- as doctors recommended, temporarily. You gotta see why Sig's even got beef with the little blue pills docs slipped him.
4:00 PM PT -- Reps for Sig confirm he suffered a heart attack ... and is currently resting up.
Captain Sig Hansen narrowly dodged a true "Deadliest Catch" moment when he fell unconscious on the deck while fishing for crab.
Sources close to production tell TMZ ... Sig and the crew of the F/V Northwestern were at sea, with cameras rolling, when the captain briefly passed out. We're told Sig brushed it off when he came to, and wanted to keep fishing.
The production crew insisted he get medical attention, and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital.
His daughter posted a pic of him smiling in his hospital room. The family thinks he suffered a heart attack, but doctors are still running tests.
Discovery's "I (Almost) Got Away With It" will have to try to run from a lawsuit after a convicted murderer on the show says producers painted him in a bad light. Let that wash over you.
Randy Baggett, who was convicted of murdering his stepdad, and appeared in season 6, says the show used a soundbite from prosecutor Jayne Weintraub that was untrue. In the episode, she said after Baggett was sentenced he looked at her and said, "I am going to get you."
In the suit, Baggett claims he never threatened Weintraub and her statement brought him shame and embarrassment ... and killed his motivation to fight for parole.
Apparently, murdering his stepdad did NOT affect him nearly as much. Weintraub tells TMZ she stands by her statement, and everything Baggett said was on record.
Baggett is suing Discovery and Weintraub for more than $500k in damages.
Atz Lee Kilcher -- younger brother of singer Jewel -- is facing charges for using a helicopter to track down a black bear ... a major no-can-do under Alaska law.
Kilcher -- who co-stars with his father (also named Atz) on the Discovery Channel show "Alaska: The Last Frontier" -- was charged with the misdemeanor hunting violation, stemming from a hunt that took place last September.
This wasn't a Sarah Palin shooting wolves from a chopper situation though. According to documents in the case ... the Kilchers only used their bird for transport to the area where they hunted. However, even that's considered a violation.
The production company has also been charged. It's unclear if they killed any bears ... or if footage from the hunt aired on the show.
"Shark After Dark" host Eli Roth knows why there's been a rash of shark attacks lately, and dropped some serious knowledge on how to avoid becoming bait.
And if Eli's plan doesn't work, we've always got Ian Ziering ... in "Sharknado 3” -- 'cause he never fails!
One of the stars of Discovery's "Dual Survival" injured or killed a dog on the set during the final episode ... this according to multiple sources connected with the production.
Our sources say Joe Teti, a former Green Beret, was shooting one of the final scenes when some stray cats ran across the set ... apparently fleeing from a dog. We're told the dog actually got one of the cats in its jaws, and that's when Teti went after the canine.
We can't get a straight story from the various sources, although everyone agrees at the very least Teti injured the dog while saving the cat. But some of the sources say he killed the animal.
One source says Teti has been a problem in the past, but they say it's not limited to him. As one source put it, "These survivalists all have a screw loose."
The show had already been cancelled, and we're told the dog incident made people at Discovery feel even more comfortable about their decision to pull the plug.
"Eaten Alive" pulled the wool over America's eyes because everyone expected to see a wild snake eat a guy alive -- but instead a captive snake failed to even try eating the show's host.
If you missed it ... naturalist Paul Rosolie said he was planning to be eaten alive by a 25-foot anaconda -- but most of the 4 million people who watched got pissed off because he never entered the snake's belly.
Things started going south when Rosolie couldn't capture a 25-foot snake in the wild of the Amazon. On the show they acknowledged bringing in a ringer -- a snake that had been in captivity.
Sources on the production tell us the stand-in snake turned out to be too small to get the job done -- as far as swallowing Paul -- but was still strong enough to rip his arm out of the socket. He eventually tapped out when that pain became too much to bear.
Last week, on TMZ Live Rosolie explained how he survived the pre-taped stunt ... by hinting the snake had puked him up -- but now it's obvious that was a lie.
For what it's worth ... Discovery says the safety of the snake, and Paul, were always the #1 priority -- and his intention was to be eaten alive.
4:00 PM PDT: Harness' kids say James died a week ago, after suffering a stroke a week before. They say the funeral will be held in Oregon Saturday.
James Harness, star of Discovery's "Gold Rush," is dead.
Harness -- who lived in Oregon -- had serious medical issues, including back injuries from a car accident that crippled him with pain.
He also had a serious addiction problem with pain pills, which triggered problems on the show. We're told he wasn't showing up for work and became so unreliable he was fired during season 2.
We do not know the cause of death or where he was when he died.
Harness was divorced and had a son and a daughter. He was 57.