T.I. to appear in court on weapons charges


ATLANTA -- T.I. was to make his initial court appearance Monday following his weekend arrest on weapons charges.

The 27-year-old rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, faces allegations from federal officials that he planned to pick up machine guns and silencers he had his bodyguard buy for him.

Agents with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested Harris on Saturday in midtown Atlanta. Authorities say other firearms were found in his vehicle and in his suburban Atlanta home.

Harris is charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, as well as possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

The arrest resulted from an investigation that began this month when a federal firearms dealer contacted the ATF about a man 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 attempting to purchase several machine guns from an undercover ATF agent, the unnamed individual -- who said he had been working as a bodyguard for Harris since July 2007 -- was arrested and began cooperating with the government and said that he was buying the machine guns and silencers for Harris.

Harris allegedly brokered the deals through the bodyguard because he is a convicted felon. It is a violation of federal law for a convicted felon to have another person purchase or acquire firearms on his behalf.

Saturday's arrest came just hours before the BET Hip-Hop Awards. T.I., who is co-chief executive of Grand Hustle Records, won two awards. He had nine nominations.