Rapper Lil Wayne was charged Tuesday in Florida with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a federal offence that carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Documents filed in Miami federal court say the rapper, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., had a gun and ammunition on December 23, of last year despite knowing he had the previous felony on his record.
Authorities said the rapper acknowledged owning the gold-plated handgun after his luggage was searched upon arriving in Miami on a private plane.
A search warrant, first reported by the Miami Herald at the time, said Carter told investigators the gun was a Father’s Day gift.
Carter’s attorney, Howard Srebnick, said in an email that there are legal questions about whether mere possession of a weapon by a felon not judged to be dangerous fits the definition of a crime.
“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. “There is no allegation that he is a dangerous person.”
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 December 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.