Beanie Sigel arrested on drug, weapons charges after album release

Constables escort rapper Beanie Sigel from court in Folcroft. Sigel is to begin a two-year federal sentence for tax evasion on Sept 12.
Constables escort rapper Beanie Sigel from court in Folcroft. Sigel is to begin a two-year federal sentence for tax evasion on Sept 12. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 31, 2012

The trouble-prone Philadelphia rapper Beanie Sigel thought he had two weeks of freedom before the Sept. 12 start of a two-year federal prison term for tax evasion.

But on Wednesday, he was already behind bars, this time on drug and weapons charges in the Delaware County jail, unable to make $300,000 cash bail.

Around 3:15 a.m. - just hours after the release of his sixth album, This Time - Sigel, 38, and a friend were arrested during a routine traffic stop by state troopers on I-95 near Exit 9 in Tinicum Township.

The tan Ford Fusion driven by Gerald Lamont Andrews, 40, was following too close to a tractor-trailer and had swerved over the divider line three times, the officers said.

Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant, was asleep on the passenger side. Andrews did not have the car's registration and insurance card, or a valid driver's license. During a pat-down, several bottles of prescription pills, a small amount of marijuana, and a fake driver's license were found in his pockets, according to court documents.

Troopers then patted down Sigel and allegedly found an unlabeled bottle of codeine syrup and about $4,500 cash in his pocket. In Sigel's cigarette pack were various pills wrapped in a plastic bag, authorities said.

A fully loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun was discovered in the console above the front stereo, according to court papers. Both men are convicted felons barred from having guns.

They were arrested on drug, weapons, and conspiracy charges. Andrews was also charged with traffic violations, tampering with identification, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

"We are reviewing the allegations now, and it looks like there will be a significant defense to the weapons charges," defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri said.

Philadelphia addresses were listed for both Sigel and Grant in court documents. The rapper also owns a house in Lansdale, Montgomery County.

Arraignment before District Justice Edward Christie lasted mere minutes Wednesday.

Sigel entered court wearing an olive green polo shirt, baggy camouflage cargo capri pants, black and red Lebron sneakers by Nike, and handcuffs. The leather belt securing the cuffs close to the prisoner's waist was hiked high over his belly.

Noticeably slurring his words, Sigel told the judge he was concerned that he didn't have a proper receipt for the confiscated money that he "won."

Unable to make bail, the two were sent to the Delaware County jail. A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday.

Sigel was later transferred from Delaware County to federal custody, Perri said.

As Sigel was led from the courthouse to a blue prison van, reporters asked him what happened and whether he was in the car with guns and drugs. Nearby, a small group watched the spectacle.

"I was home in my bed last night," he said as he struggled to get into the van. He covered his face with a paper to block photographers from getting a clear shot.

In 2005, Sigel served time on weapons charges; in 2008, he violated parole and was returned to prison.

Sigel was sentenced in July in U.S. District Court to a two-year term for failing to file federal income tax returns between 1999 and 2005. He was ordered to repay more than $700,000 in taxes.

In an interview with Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca published Aug. 12, Sigel said that during his previous stint in prison, he was a different person.

"I wasn't Beanie Sigel. So that was a good thing," said the rapper, who grew up in South Philadelphia near Sigel Street. "I don't like being Beanie Sigel. Beanie Sigel is a headache."

Sigel, known for his expensive tastes, said the only thing he dreaded about his forthcoming federal sentence was "missing all the money I'll miss on tour. But I'll get it again. I've been rich four times and broke forever."

He had planned to heavily promote his album before his incarceration, including performing next Thursday with the Roots on NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

The television appearance and four concerts have been canceled, said Randy Alexander, spokesman for Ruffhouse Records, Sigel's record label.

"We still have great hope for this album, and we think it is among the strongest works of his career," Alexander said. "We are going to continue to promote this record to the best of our abilities and play the hand we have been dealt."

The label's CEO, Chris Schwartz, said in a statement the company was disappointed by the arrest.

"Beanie obviously has been struggling with some personal issues, and we continue to support him now and throughout his impending incarceration," Schwartz said.


Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149, mschaefer@phillynews.com, or follow @MariSchaefer on Twitter.

 

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