Coolio Sentenced After Pleading Guilty to Felony Gun Charge

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Coolio pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony gun charge for carrying a handgun in a backpack at Los Angeles International Airport.

The 53-year-old rapper, whose real name is Artis Leon Ivey, was sentenced to three years probation and 45 days of community service.

He was told he can have the felony count reduced to a misdemeanor after the first year, but if found in possession of even one bullet, he'd be in violation of probation and find himself back in front of a judge.

Coolio, speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, expressed remorse and said he will meet the terms of his probation. He could have faced up to three years in prison if convicted at trial.

"A mistake was made, it was a misunderstanding," Coolio said. "And I do not condone the use of firearms, legal or illegal. Thanks to the court and the attorneys handling this for me so I can still do the work that I do."

"I was very worried," he said.

Asked if he would be able to successfully complete probation, he said, "Absolutely."

"I mean, I'm not involved in crime, I'm not into anything illegal," he said. "It should be easy."

He was charged Oct. 13 with a single count of felony possession of a firearm by a felon with two priors. He has a 2001 conviction for carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle and a 2009 conviction for possession of cocaine base.

Coolio was arrested Sept. 17 at LAX. Airport police officers were called to Terminal 3 on a report of a prohibited item at a TSA screening station.

Police seized the bag and detained a person who claimed to own the bag, but officers determined that the bag contained items belonging to one of the suspect's traveling companions who had already boarded an aircraft.

That companion turned out to be Coolio, who was taken off the plane and admitted the bag belonged to him, police said. He was arrested but released on bail later that day.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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