T.I. was arrested on multiple weapons charges on Saturday (October 13) just hours before he was to appear at the second annual BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta.
According to the Associated Press, ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) Agents raided the home of the rapper in College Park, located 15 miles southwest of Atlanta.
But, before that, the rapper was arrested as he accepted delivery of the guns and silencers, the Department of Justice said in a statement. T.I. (real name: Clifford Harris) is a convicted felon, and is not allowed to own the unlicensed weapons.
Three other guns were reportedly found in the vehicle he was driving, authorities said, and police executing a search warrant at his home found six additional guns, five of them loaded, in his bedroom closet.
“Machine guns pose a serious danger to the community, which is why they are so carefully regulated,” David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, told CNN. “The last place machine guns should be is in the hands of a convicted felon, who cannot legally possess any kind of firearm. This convicted felon allegedly was trying to add several machine guns to an already large and entirely illegal arsenal of guns.”
Although details are sketchy as to what they were looking for, TMZ learned that T.I.’s arrest came after the Feds discovered that one of his bodyguards allegedly tried to purchase machine guns for the rapper.
Authorities said the bodyguard admitted to purchasing about nine firearms for T.I. in the past and about 17 firearms for other people in the rapper’s entourage on previous occasions. The bodyguard claims the rapper gave him cash to purchase the guns, because T.I., as a convicted felon, was not able to legally buy firearms.
The bodyguard was reportedly arrested last week trying to buy several guns. After getting busted, he agreed to cooperate with authorities, which led to T.I. arrest.
On Wednesday (October 10), T.I. allegedly arranged for the unnamed bodyguard to pick up $12,000 in cash from a bank to use in buying the guns. After being arrested and agreeing to cooperate with ATF, the witness had a series of phone calls with the rapper, which authorities recorded, the statement said.
Authorities set up a sting, where they arranged that T.I. was to pick up the guns after meeting his bodyguard.
T.I. is being held in federal custody through the weekend and is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge on Monday (October 15).
In 2004, warrants were issued for T.I.’s arrest on probation violations for a drug conviction, and he was sentenced to three years behind bars.
In June 2007, the rapper was involved in a physical altercation with Ludacris’ manager Chaka Zulu at a Los Angeles luncheon hosted by Warner Brothers executive Kevin Liles.
In the weeks following the incident, T.I. was accused of striking a fan after he threw a cup at the rapper during a performance at an ESPY Awards pre-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in July. It is unknown as to whether the fan filed a complaint.
[story was edited October 14, 2007 at 12:08 a.m. EST]