Popular rapper Juelz Santana admitted to a court on August 16 that he attempted to board a plane at a New York-area airport with a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage. The 36-year-old New Jersey resident is facing up to 20 years in prison on firearms charges. Santana faces more severe penalties because he is a convicted felon. Sentencing in the case is scheduled for December 12, according to media reports.

Santana’s latest bout of legal problems began in March when security personnel at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey allegedly discovered several oxycodone pills and a loaded .38 caliber handgun in a carry-on bag. Identification found in the bag was used to link the gun and drugs to Santana. Efforts to locate Santana at the airport were unsuccessful, but the rapper turned himself in to law enforcement a few days later, according to reports.

The judge in the case has made several accommodations to allow Santana to continue performing and earning a living while his case navigates its way through the criminal justice system. The rapper has been given permission to perform in Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Maryland, and the judge is also allowing him to visit New York to record a television show. Santana’s attorneys are said to be working with prosecutors to reach a plea agreement.

The penalties for weapons crimes can be severe, but prosecutors may be willing to reduce them in return for a guilty plea and a swift conclusion. District attorneys are judged based on their results and understand that arguing a case before a jury always involves taking at least some risk. Experienced criminal defense lawyers could remind them of this during plea discussions.

Source: NBC New York, Rapper Juelz Santana Pleads Guilty to Newark Airport Gun Charge, Associated Press report, August 16, 2018