Grammy-award winning rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty on Friday to a federal weapons charge stemming from an arrest in 2019 after authorities found a gun in his possession when a private jet he was on board was searched in South Florida.
A convicted felon, the rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter, is prohibited – under federal law – from possessing firearms following an eight-month prison sentence for a previous weapons conviction in New York over 10 years ago.
“Your honor, I plead guilty to the charge,” the 38-year-old told a judge when he appeared before a Miami court remotely, the Associated Press reported. The rapper, who is currently out on a $250,000 bail, is set to be sentenced on January 28. Though he faces up to 10 years in prison, it’s reportedly likely he’ll serve a shorter sentence.
Per court documents, the rapper was rounded up by authorities at the Opa Locka Executive Airport on December 23, 2019, following an anonymous tipoff. After the private jet he was on board was searched, officers found a gold-plated Remington 1911, .45-caliber handgun loaded with six rounds of ammunition in a bag that had his personal items. Personal use amounts of cocaine, ecstasy, and oxycodone were also found in the bag.
“Prior to December 23, 2019, Carter had been convicted of a felony, which made his possession of the gun and ammunition on that day illegal,” the statement said.
Before the hearing, Carter’s lawyer, Howard Srebnick, argued the searching of the plane was a violation of his client’s constitutional rights. However, Srebnick said Carter still agreed to accept responsibility, Rolling Stone reported.
“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. There is no allegation that he is a dangerous person. The charge is that because he was convicted of a felony in the past, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm,” Srebnick told the news outlet after his arrest last year.
The Lollipop rapper was criticized on social media leading up to the presidential election after he tweeted a photo of him with Donald Trump. The Miami Herald reports he might ask Trump – who is set to depart the White House in January – to explore the possibility of granting him a pardon.