'Storm Chasers' Star Joel Taylor Death Investigation Dropped by FBI ... Back with Local Cops

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.

'Storm Chasers' Star Joel Taylor Cruise Ship Where He Allegedly OD'd Had Zero Tolerance Drug Policy

The cruise line on which "Storm Chasers" star Joel Taylor died of an apparent OD this week does not allow illegal drugs on the boat ... which raises the question -- how did they ignore a river of drugs on board?

Royal Caribbean International tells TMZ they have a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to drugs. If the crew finds them, they confiscate them.

So the question ... multiple passengers tell us drug use was out in the open ... flagrant and notorious. The parties were drug-fueled and, as we reported, Taylor was so out of it he fell into unconsciousness on the dance floor and had to be carried to his room after allegedly consuming GHB.

As we reported ... we're told several passengers suspected of drug possession were stopped after drug-sniffing dogs zeroed in on them at the Ft. Lauderdale port where the ship departed.

TMZ broke the story ... the FBI is now investigating Taylor's death and has already spoken to folks at the cruise line to find out what went down on board.

'Storm Chasers' Star Joel Taylor Apparent Fatal OD Triggers FBI Investigation

The apparent drug overdose that led to the death of a "Storm Chaser" star on a cruise ship has triggered an FBI investigation ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

TMZ broke the story ... "Storm Chaser" star Joel Taylor had been doing GHB late Monday night going into Tuesday morning, dancing during a wild party, when he lapsed into unconsciousness. Taylor was carried into his cabin and left there. He was pronounced dead later that morning.


We're told there were huge quantities of party drugs on board the ship, including cocaine, Ecstasy and GHB. Our sources say several people were arrested before the ship left the Ft. Lauderdale port.

After Taylor died, the boat docked in Puerto Rico and passengers tell us there was a lot of commotion involving drugs on board the Royal Caribbean ship, Harmony of the Seas.

Passengers tell us, the night Taylor apparently OD'd, drugs were flowing freely among many of the partygoers.

We're told the FBI is investigating the circumstances of Taylor's death, how the drugs got on board and who supplied them.

Golden Globes Prepares for Waterworld

Everyone's got their own problems ... while 10's of millions of Americans are paralyzed by blizzards, Beverly Hills is in a panic over fancy gowns getting all wrinkled and wet from an impending storm.

The Golden Globes are tonight, and there's a mad rush to fortify the Beverly Hilton to protect nominees and guests from the elements. Major construction is underway, as everyone plays beat the clock.

In fairness ... a rainstorm wreaked havoc in 2010 ... poor Fergie was all dewy.

'Storm Chasers' Star Committed Suicide

"Storm Chasers" just revealed one of its stars, Matt Hughes, died earlier this year -- and TMZ has learned his death was a suicide -- the result of a hanging.

At the end of last night's episode of the Discovery reality show viewers were told Hughes died in May due to complications from a fatal injury at his home in Kansas.

TMZ confirmed with Valley Center PD ... on May 14 they responded to a suicide call at Hughes' home. According to the police report, officers concluded Matt, who was still breathing, was drinking before the suicide attempt.

We're told Matt was taken to a local hospital -- but passed away 13 days later. The Medical Examiner's report lists "Hanging" as the cause of death.

Last night's episode was dedicated to Matt -- and we're told Discovery has set up a memorial fund for Matt's wife and two sons.

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