Update: Lil’ Wayne & Ja Rule Released On Bail, May Face Up To 3 1/2 Years In Jail

Update: Lil’ Wayne & Ja Rule Released On Bail, May Face Up To 3 1/2 Years In Jail

Rappers Lil' Wayne and Ja Rule are free men after separate arrests put them and members of their entourage behind bars Sunday night (July 22).

Ja Rule (whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins) and Lil' Wayne (whose real name is Dwayne Carter) were both arrested on separate criminal weapons possession charges over the weekend after performing at New York's Beacon Theater. Both men were discovered in Manhattan's 20th Precinct in possession of .40-caliber handguns.

According to the New York Post, police say they stopped Rule's 2004 Mercedes Maybach around 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of West End Avenue and 78th street for having a suspended registration. The officers searched the vehicle after smelling marijuana and discovered a .40-caliber semiautomatic Taurus in a backseat compartment of the car. Police arrested Rule, as well as his 38-year-old driver Mohamed Gamal and another passenger 36-year-old Dennis Cherry.

Rule had to put up a $150,000 bond for his release. Sources for the NY Post said the rapper used his Saddle Brook, NJ mansion as collateral for the $320,000 combined bail money for him and his two associates.

Released yesterday (July 23), after spending 20 hours in custody, Rule told reporters, "Everybody wants to point finger at hip-hop for the destruction of America's youth. If you need to know why there is so much crime, corruption, hatred and violence, you need only look at yourselves," before plugging his upcoming album, "The Mirror, in stores Sept. 25."

Approximately an hour after hauling in Ja Rule, police approached Lil' Wayne's tour bus, which was parked at 61st Street near Columbus Avenue, and claim they boarded that vehicle after smelling marijuana.

According to NY's Daily News, police boarded the bus and discovered Derrick Lawrence of Brooklyn trying to flush half a pound of marijuana in the bus toilet. Lil' Wayne was changing as the officers entered the vehicle, and according to lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, police discovered a .40-caliber Springfield Armory semiautomatic in a Louis Vuitton bag the rapper removed from his lap.

Weezy was released yesterday on a $70,000 bond.

Defense lawyer Stacey Richman, who represented both rappers, has called their arrests and enormous bails a "tax on celebrity." Richman also stated that Ja Rule's Mercedes is a company car and that the gun could have belonged to any number of users.

"We absolutely maintain that we are not guilty of these charges," Richman said, of both clients.

If convicted, both rappers may face up to three and a half years in prison due to NY's strict new gun laws. Rule and Weezy are due back in court on Friday (July 27)

Reps for Universal Records- with whom both artists are signed – did not respond to SOHH's emails at publishing time.

Coincidently Weezy and Rule recently premiered the video for Ja's new single "Uh-Oh" yesterday (July 23).

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