Rapper T.I, wife arrested on drug charges during LA traffic stop

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rapper T.I., wife arrested on drug charges

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Grammy-winning rapper T.I. was arrested along with his wife on suspicion of possessing methamphetamines, five months after the hip-hop star finished a prison stint on weapons charges.

The 29-year-old rapper and his wife, Tameka Cottle, were arrested Wednesday night in West Hollywood after deputies smelled marijuana and pulled the couple over, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. They were released from jail at about 4 a.m. Thursday after posting $10,000 bail each, sheriff’s Deputy Luis Castro said.

The arrest could spell significant legal trouble for the Atlanta-based rapper and multiplatinum hitmaker who has become one of music’s most profitable stars. He is on probation for the weapons charges, and could get sent back to prison because of the arrest.

T.I. served seven months in an Arkansas federal prison and three months in a Georgia halfway house on federal weapons charges for possessing unregistered machine guns and silencers. He was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release after his prison sentence ended.

He was ordered not to commit another federal, state or local crime while on supervised release, and also ordered not to illegally possess a controlled substance. He was also told to take at least three drug tests after his release and to participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program.

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, Atlanta’s top federal law enforcement official, said she would not speculate on what could happen to the rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris.

T.I.’s probation officer asked him to return to Atlanta, said Don Samuel, one of T.I.’s attorneys. He said it was unclear when T.I. would return to his hometown.

T.I.’s probation officer can recommend that the terms of the rapper’s probation be changed, such as to require that he take more drug counseling classes and undergo more frequent drug tests. Or he could ask the judge to revoke the rapper’s probation, which was set to end in 2013. That could lead to a prison sentence.

“I don’t know anything about the facts yet. We’re figuring out how the statute works,” said T.I. attorney Don Samuel. “All I heard is he was stopped in a car and police smelled marijuana.”

Another defense attorney, Ed Garland, said T.I. will have an opportunity to present his side of the story at a hearing, which could be scheduled within weeks.

The arrest came as the rapper has a key role in the current top box office movie “Takers.” The shoot-’em-up about an armored truck robbery that goes bad was released last week and topped the box-office chart.

Cottle, 36, sang with the 1990s group Xscape and has recently been the star of the BET reality series, “The Tiny & Toya Show,” She and the rapper, who is a father of five, married in late July.

Since his release, the rapper, who previously spent time behind bars for drug offenses, has vowed to live a better life. He spoke to children about the dangers of drugs and guns, and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young was one of his supporters. As he prepared for his most recent sentence, he starred in the MTV reality show “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go.”

Young was skeptical about the charges against the rapper and the circumstances of the arrest as they were pulled over in a Maybach, a luxury German-made car.

“I assume that you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty,” Young told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “If he was driving and smoking marijuana, that is absolutely stupid. But why was he pulled over in the first place? Because he had a Maybach? Because he was black? Because they know who he is and resent his success?

Young, who is also an ordained minister, married Harris and Cottle last month in Miami.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, T.I. talked about living a more positive life.

“Right now, it’s all about moving forward and just acknowledging the blessing that are here today. … Just moving past the regrets of yesterday — the things that could’ve been done better,” T.I. said in a July interview.

Associated Press Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody and Associated Press writers Errin Haines and Greg Bluestein in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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