The multiplatinum rapper Lil Wayne, 38, was charged on Tuesday with one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon, according to a court filing by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, stemming from a search of a private jet in Miami last December. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., previously pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a weapon in connection with a gun that was found on his tour bus in Manhattan in 2007. He served eight months of a one-year sentence at Rikers Island jail.
On Dec. 23, 2019, an anonymous tip led Miami police officers and federal agents to board the rapper’s Gulfstream V jet at Opa-Locka Executive Airport after a trip from California, according to The Miami Herald. Onboard, in a Coach bag belonging to the musician, the agents reported finding a gold-plated .45-caliber Glock handgun with a pearl grip. According to a warrant, Lil Wayne said he had received the gun as a Father’s Day gift.
Authorities also reported finding bullets, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, heroin, pain killers and prescription-strength cough syrup, along with $25,938 in cash, according to the warrant, though Lil Wayne has not been charged with any drug-related offenses.
A lawyer for Lil Wayne, Howard Srebnick, acknowledged in a statement that the rapper was charged with possessing the gold-plated handgun, but raised questions about the Second Amendment rights of felons.
Investigators also reported finding suspected illegal drugs in the luggage, but Carter, 38, has not been charged with a drug offense.
An initial court date on the weapons charge is set for Dec. 11 in Miami federal court.
The charge stems from a weapons conviction of Carter in New York more than a decade ago, for which he was sentenced to eight months in prison. Convicted felons are barred under federal law from owning firearms.
As Lil Wayne, Carter has sold over 120 million records, has won five Grammys and numerous other music awards. He owns a home in Miami Beach and is CEO of his own record label, Young Money Entertainment