ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Rapper Lil Wayne pleaded guilty Friday to a federal charge that he possessed a weapon despite being a convicted felon following a 2019 search of a private plane in the Miami area.
The rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, entered the plea during a hearing held remotely before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams.
“Your honor, I plead guilty to the charge,” Carter told the judge.
Williams set a Jan. 28 sentencing date. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, but it's likely Carter would get far less time than that. He's free on $250,000 bail but had to surrender his passport.
Authorities said the 38-year-old rapper acknowledged possessing a .45 caliber, gold-plated handgun and six rounds of ammunition after his luggage was searched upon arriving in Miami on Dec. 23, 2019, from California. A search warrant said Carter told investigators the gun was a Father’s Day gift.
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 possessing firearms.
Carter's lawyer, Howard Srebnick, said he considered a motion to suppress the search of the plane as a violation of the rapper's constitutional rights. Carter, he said, wanted to accept responsibility.
“I must say I thought it was a very viable motion. He has decided not to pursue a motion to suppress,” Srebnick said.
The Miami U.S. attorney's office also said in the news release that investigators found small amounts of cocaine, ecstasy, and oxycodone in a bag belonging to Carter, but he was not charged with any drug crime.
As Lil Wayne, Carter has sold over 120 million records, 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.