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Rap Singer Arrested on Drug, Weapons Charges

February 04, 1996|ERIC SLATER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Queen Latifah, a Grammy Award-winning rapper and star of the TV series "Living Single," was arrested Saturday on charges of carrying a loaded pistol and possession of marijuana, police said.

The entertainer, whose real name is Dana Owens, was pulled over for speeding about 6:30 a.m. as she drove west on the Santa Monica Freeway in West Los Angeles, said Officer Garry Goldenberg of the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP officer who made the stop smelled marijuana on Latifah, 25, Goldenberg said. "He asked Miss Owens if she had been smoking and she said yes."

The officer also asked if she had marijuana or weapons in the car, Goldenberg said, and she allegedly replied yes to both inquiries. The officer searched the rapper's car and found marijuana and a .38-caliber handgun in the driver's-side door pocket, Goldenberg said.

Latifah was booked at the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division station on suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm and possession of marijuana, in addition to being cited for speeding, he said. She could also be charged with driving under the influence pending the results of drug tests, Goldenberg said.

She was released Saturday morning on her own recognizance and ordered to appear in court Feb. 28, said LAPD spokeswoman officer Helen Lloyd.

Latifah, who lives in Toluca Lake, was the victim of a carjacking last July in New York in which two teenagers shot her bodyguard. The bodyguard survived and two 18-year-old men were arrested in connection with the incident on a Harlem street.

Latifah, who won a 1995 Grammy for her song "U.N.I.T.Y.," has long preached against violence and urban decay in her politically oriented songs. A regular on MTV, she was also honored in 1995 for her work with the network's "Rock the Vote" campaign, which encourages young people to make their voices heard at the polls.

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