The singer of a comedy Iron Maiden tribute band has been accused of trying to smuggle $5.5 million worth of drugs into Japan from Canada.

Daniel Burton Whitmore, 44, who fronts Powerclown using the stage name Dicksee Di’Anno, was arrested by Japanese police last month on arrival at Narita International Airport following a flight from Vancouver.

According to Japan Today, authorities at Narita became suspicious when Whitmore was seen to be acting nervously and sweating. Inside his guitar case and other luggage they discovered 9.8 kilograms of unidentified stimulants. Whitmore, who tried to enter the country on a holiday visa, reportedly admitted to smuggling but claimed he was doing it for a third party because he needed the money. In the Japanese news clip below, police displayed the packets of white powder and the items they were hidden in.

Powerclown – who perform Iron Maiden songs while dressed in clown outfits – confirmed their bandmate remained in a Japanese jail. The nation is notoriously hard on drug offences, and Whitmore may face a prison sentence of up to 10 years. “All we can do is hope for the best for him,” the band wrote on Facebook. “While none of us clowns condone Dicksee’s actions, or recommend anyone else attempting something this foolish, we do hope for the best for our grease-painted pal.”

They added their support for Dickee, saying, “If you somehow make it back here, and we hope you do, we may even go easy on you. Maybe. No promises.”

The New Jersey-based Powerclown formed in 1999 and cite their influences as “alcohol, tobacco, firearms, Iron Maiden (ah–duuuuuuhhhhh!!!), Barnum and Bailey, Shakes the Clown.” The lineup is rounded out by bassist Steve Hairlips, guitarists Sketchy Clown and Lippy Dongstalking plus drummer John Wayne Gary.