• ICE arrests rapper 21 Savage, says he's actually from UK

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Rapper 21 Savage, who claims to be from Atlanta’s Zone 6, has been arrested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

    Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne has learned ICE arrested 21 Savage in Atlanta Sunday.


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    The rapper held Back 2 School events in 2018 in what he claimed was his neighborhood. 

    Federal agents tell Winne:

    “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested unlawfully present United Kingdom national Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph AKA '21 Savage' during a targeted operation with federal and local law enforcement partners early Sunday in metro Atlanta. Mr. Abraham-Joseph was taken into ICE custody as he is unlawfully present in the U.S. and also a convicted felon.

    Mr. Abraham-Joseph initially entered the U.S. legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the U.S. when his visa expired in July 2006. In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr. Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.

    Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts. ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”

    Abraham-Joseph, 26, has claimed to be from Atlanta and has long been considered a local act. Just last fall, he gave free school supplies to more than 2,500 DeKalb County school students.

    Cox said Abraham-Joseph is an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who legally entered the U.S. in July 2005 on a visa. His visa expired a year later, Cox said.

    He was also convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County.

    Abraham-Joseph has been placed in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” Cox said.

    He performed in Atlanta as recently as Thursday in the Super Bowl Music Fest at State Farm Arena.

    An attorney for Abraham-Joseph sent this statement to Winne:

    "We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community -leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy."  

    We're told the 21 Savage's arrest was not a Super Bowl-related ICE operation and that he was allegedly in a car with another hip-hop artist and two other men who were arrested by local police on separate charges after the discovery of a gun and drugs. 

    Pam Peynado Stewart said even though a first offender case usually doesn't count as a conviction under Georgia law, it generally does under federal immigration law.

    "This can have a huge impact in this case," she said.

    The Atlanta-Journal Constiution contributed to this report

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