T.I Faces 'Long Prison Sentence" Over Machine Guns

Rapper T.I. was arrested in Atlanta yesterday [October 13] by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after he allegedly attempted to purchase three machine guns and two silencers from an undercover agent, acting as an arms dealer.

In addition to the three machine guns found in his College Park home, police also recovered six additional firearms from a closet in the rapper's house.

T.I. has been charged with felony possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

According to U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias, T.I. allegedly sought to purchase an unregistered machine gun, as well as numerous other weapons.

T.I. allegedly paid almost a total of $21,000 in cash to his bodyguard to purchase over 25 firearms on his behalf.

The bodyguard, who was acting as a cooperating witness, told agents that he was purchasing the machine guns on T.I.'s behalf because the rapper is a convicted felon.

The man, who had been employed since July 2007, allegedly purchased nine weapons for the rapper as well as one weapon on behalf of another, unnamed individual.

The bodyguard purchased a total of nine weapons for T.I. and 17 for others on behalf of T. I., because of his prior felony conviction, which prevents him from legally owning firearms.

"Machine guns pose a serious danger to the community, which is why they are so carefully regulated," said David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. "The last place machine guns should be is in the hands of a convicted felon, who cannot legally possess any kind of firearm. This convicted felon allegedly was trying to add several machine guns to an already large and entirely illegal arsenal of guns. Thanks to the good and quick work of ATF, he is now in custody and his firearms have been seized."

The bodyguard, acting as a Confidential Witness [CW] placed a series of phone calls to T.I., which were recorded by the ATF.

The CW called T.I. and said "he had everything," referring to machine guns he was allegedly supposed to purchase on behalf of the rapper.

On October 12, T.I. called the CW and ordered him to deliver the weapons yesterday [October 13].

"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."

T.I. will remain in federal custody until Monday, October 15, when he will appear before US Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman at the United States Courthouse in Atlanta.