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T.I. Arrested on Federal Firearms Charges, Misses BET Hip-Hop Awards

T.I. was arrested in Atlanta on Saturday (October 13) during a sting operation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, the rapper was taken into custody at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in an Atlanta parking lot while picking up 3 machine guns and two silencers he asked one of his bodyguards to purchase for him. Agents also found three loaded firearms in the vehicle Tip was driving, plus an additional six weapons stashed in the bedroom closet of his College Park home. United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker has formally charged the rapper with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

“This investigation developed very quickly,” said Vanessa McLemore, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Atlanta Division. “We learned only this Wednesday that the cooperating witness was allegedly buying the machine guns for Harris. The cooperating witness told Harris on Thursday that he had obtained the items, and on Friday Harris made it clear that he wanted them delivered to him today. Harris then agreed to meet and took possession of the machine guns this afternoon. He now faces serious federal charges and a potentially long prison sentence.”

The DOJ press release details how the unnamed bodyguard was taken into custody on Wednesday (October 10) while attempting to purchase firearms from an undercover ATF agent on T.I.’s behalf. Upon his arrest, the man explained why he was attempting to purchase the guns and agreed to cooperate with the ATF in their investigation. The bodyguard explained how he had previously purchased nine firearms for Tip himself and 17 others for other persons. On Wednesday, the rapper arranged for the bodyguard to pick up $12,000 from the bank and purchase the three machine guns and two silencers. The cooperating witness left a message for T.I. on Thursday (October 11) saying that he had “everything for you.” The next day, the rapper returned his call and arranged to pick up the weapons in the parking lot of a midtown Atlanta shopping center.

The entire exchange was recorded by ATF agents who then placed the rapper under arrest and discovered the three weapons in his vehicle, including a loaded handgun stashed near the center console. T.I. is currently being held in federal custody and will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman on Monday (October 15) at an as of yet unspecified time. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the ATF will hold a press conference shortly thereafter. Tip was scheduled to perform at the BET Hip-Hop Awards where he received nine nominations including Album of the Year for his latest, T.I. vs. T.I.P.

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