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Rapper Lil Wayne was slapped with a felony weapons charge this week that could lead to him spending 10 years in prison if convicted.
The Grammy-award winning artist, whose real name is Michael Carter Jr., was charged Tuesday with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to documents filed in a Miami court and obtained by the Associated Press.
The felony charge reportedly stems from an incident that took place on December 23, 2019. Carter, 38, was traveling on his private plane from California to Miami when authorities with the FBI and the Miami-Dade Police Department, acting on a tip, searched the aircraft after it landed at Miami-Opa-locka Executive Airport, the Tampa Bay Times reported. During the search, authorities found a gold-plated .45 caliber handgun in the rapper’s luggage, as well as a stash of drugs that included marijuana, MDMA, cocaine, and heroin, according to unnamed law enforcement sources cited by the news outlet.
Carter told authorities that the handgun was a Father’s Day gift, the AP reports. But his prior conviction on weapons-related charges leaves room for new charges; in 2007, authorities found a .40-caliber pistol on his tour bus. He accepted a plea deal in 2009 and was sentenced to a year in prison, and was released after serving eight months, CNN reports.
His attorney Howard Srebnick has questioned the validity of the new charges.
“Carter is charged with possessing a gold-plated handgun in his luggage on a private plane. There is no allegation that he ever fired it, brandished it, used it or threatened to use it,” Srebnick said in an email to the AP. “There is no allegation that he is a dangerous person.”
If convicted of the felony, Carter could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison, according to CNN. Ronald Richards, a second lawyer representing Carter, suggested in an email to the AP that such a lengthy sentence would be inappropriate in this case.
"The federal sentencing guidelines call for substantially lower, and I would not look at the maximum exposure to decide anyone's sentence and all the facts need to be thoroughly reviewed," Richards wrote.
The next hearing on the case is reportedly scheduled to take place on December 11.
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