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Rapper TI Arrested on Illegal Gun Possession Charge

Grammy-winning rapper T.I. was arrested October 13 on a gun charge, just hours before he was to perform at the Black Entertainment Television Hip-Hop Awards.

The 27-year-old rapper - born Clifford Harris - is charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, as well as possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

U.S. attorney's office spokesman Patrick Crosby said Harris was in federal custody at an undisclosed location. Sydney Margetson, a spokesman for T.I.'s record label, Atlantic Records, declined to comment Saturday evening.

Earlier this month, a federal firearms dealer told the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that a man was inquiring about buying a machine gun without registering the weapon as required, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

After trying to buy several machine guns from an undercover ATF agent, the unnamed person began cooperating with the government and said he was buying the machine gun and silencers for Harris, according to the complaint.

The person, a bodyguard for Harris, said he had bought about nine firearms for the rapper, who had given him cash to buy guns four times, the complaint said. As a convicted felon, Harris brokered the deals through his bodyguard, the complaint alleged.

It is against the law for a convicted felon to have another person obtain firearms on their behalf. The rapper arranged to meet with the bodyguard Saturday to exchange cash for weapons, the complaint said.

A native of Atlanta, T.I. sold crack cocaine as a teenager. In 2004, warrants were issued for his arrest on probation violations for a drug conviction, and he was sentenced to three years in jail. It was unclear Saturday how much of the sentance he actually served.

After his arrest in a shopping center parking lot near the awards show site, agents found three firearms in Harris' vehicle, including a loaded firearm between the driver's seat and center console, according to the complaint.

Searching T.I.'s home in the Atlanta suburb of East Point, authorities found six guns in a closet, including three allegedly bought by the bodyguard for the rapper in September, according to the complaint. Agents said five were loaded.

T.I. won a pair of Grammy Awards in 2006, including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Justin Timberlake for "My Love." His sixth album T.I. vs T.I.P." was released July 3 and opened at number one. He also appeared in last year's movie ATL, and has a role in the upcoming Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe film American Gangster, set for a November 2 release.

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