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Warrant issued for Lil Wayne in Yuma case
A bench warrant has been issued for rap star Lil Wayne, who is facing drug and weapons charges in Yuma County.
Yuma County Superior Court Judge Mark Wayne Reeves issued the warrant Tuesday morning after Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, failed to appear for a final trial management conference.
Carter has been charged with one count each of possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, misconduct involving weapons and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He has plead not guilty to all the charges.
The rapper was arrested in January 2008 at a border checkpoint 78 miles east of Yuma after authorities said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and a handgun on his tour bus. Carter has a concealed weapons permit in Florida.
Yuma attorney James Tilson, who represents Dwayne Carter, told the court that the reason his client was not able to appear before the court was that he is currently serving a year-long jail sentence in New York City.
"Mr. Carter is being detained involuntarily in another jurisdiction," Tilson said of his client's absence.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper was sentenced in Manhattan on March 8 after pleading guilty in October to attempted criminal possession of a weapon. He admitted having a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun on his tour bus.
Carter is serving his sentence in city jails, not a state prison. He could be released in about eight months with good behavior.
Tilson also told the court that he had filed motions to have his client's March 30 trial date vacated. He also asked that Carter be allowed to appear in Yuma on his own when he finishes serving his New York jail sentence, and that his bond remain the same.
"It does not appear that a trial will be occurring anytime within the next 8 to 12 months," Tilson said.
Prosecutor Deann Sandry, of the Yuma County Attorney's Office, said it was the state's position that Carter was now a convicted felon and that a bench warrant be issued and his bond be increased to $150,000.
A bench warrant is simply a type of arrest warrant which is issued by a judge or court, most typically when someone fails to comply with a court order or requirement.
When a bench warrant is issued, law enforcement has the authority to pick up the subject of the warrant and bring him or her to court to address the charges contained in the warrant.
According to Reuters, Lil Wayne’s 2008-2009 North American concerts grossed more than any other rap concert this year. From Dec. 14, 2008, to Sept. 6, 2009, Lil Wayne grossed $42 million.
Lil Wayne has also sold over 3 million copies of his latest album "The Carter III," according to Reuters and Nielsen SoundScan.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.
Updated at 3:50 p.m.