South Florida

Kodak Black gets bail in weapons case, despite alleged link to shooting in Broward

Kodak Black arrested on federal and state weapons charges

Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested on federal and state weapons charges just before he was supposed to perform at the Rolling Loud Music Festival on May 11, 2019.
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Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested on federal and state weapons charges just before he was supposed to perform at the Rolling Loud Music Festival on May 11, 2019.

South Florida rapper Kodak Black pleaded not guilty Wednesday to lying about his criminal history on a federal form so he could buy at least two handguns that prosecutors say were linked to a recent shooting in Pompano Beach and a border crossing from Canada into the United States.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Brown said one of the firearms, a Sig Sauer pistol, was recovered by authorities after the March 2019 shooting in Pompano Beach, where witnesses indicated he was present and driving a Porsche. He said Black’s fingerprints were on the weapon, though he has not been charged in that shooting.

The prosecutor also said the second gun, a Draco pistol, and marijuana were found in Black’s Cadillac Escalade as he was traveling from Canada to the United States last month. The rapper, returning from a performance, was arrested on drug and weapons charges, he said.

“Wherever he goes, your honor, there are going to be drugs, guns and shootings,” Brown told Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres, arguing that the rapper should be detained before trial because he is a danger to the community and a risk of flight with assets of $1 million.

Torres, however, rejected the prosecutor’s request to lock up Black, 21, whose legal name is Bill K. Kapri. The rapper was arrested just before his performance at the Rolling Loud music festival at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. The magistrate judge granted Black a $550,000 bond and allowed him to live under house arrest with an electronic ankle monitor at his home in Broward County.

In granting bail, Torres noted that Black would probably soon be transferred to South Carolina for violating his bond there on a sexual-assault charge. Black is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage fan in a hotel room in Florence, S.C., in 2015 and is awaiting trial later this year.

“If I give him a bond, he will get remanded to South Carolina,” Torres said. “If I detain him, the South Carolina case is put on hold. ... I think it’s the most serious of the cases pending before him.”

Black’s defense attorney, Bradford Cohen, argued for a bond, saying the rapper could use his home as collateral. He also said Black is the father of a 4-year-old son.

Cohen described the federal weapons-form case in Miami as a “non-violent” matter. He told the judge that if Black is eventually detained in South Carolina on the sexual assault charge, his defense attorney there would take up the matter of his bond violation.

The rapper’s indictment in Miami stems from his filling out a Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, a federal document that must be completed to buy a gun from a registered dealer. According to his defense lawyer, the rapper checked “no” when asked if he was currently under indictment for a crime, and may have been confused by the language.

According to the indictment released Monday, Black twice lied on the forms, in January and March, for purchases or attempted purchases at Lou’s Police Distributors, a popular gun store in Hialeah. The form asks whether the applicant is facing an indictment or “information in any court” for a felony in which a judge could send him to prison for more than a year.

Brown, the prosecutor, said the rapper bought three handguns during his first visit to Lou’s in late January, pointing out that Black transposed the numbers for his Social Security number on the federal form to purchase the weapons. He said that was why the purchases were approved by federal authorities.

But during his second visit to Lou’s in early March, Black filled out the form with his correct Social Security number and his attempted purchase of more firearms was blocked by authorities after a background check.

Black was arrested by federal agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals and Miami-Dade’s Northside gangs unit. The rapper is also facing separate weapons charges in Miami-Dade state criminal court. As a convicted felon, Black is not allowed to own a gun under Florida state law.

Black, who grew up in Pompano Beach, has skyrocketed to popularity over the past six years. His December 2018 album, “Dying to Live,” debuted at the top of the Billboard albums chart. Black’s hits include songs such as “Tunnel Vision,” “No Flockin” and ″Wake Up in the City” with Gucci Mane and Bruno Mars.

His career, however, has been marred by a long string of legal problems.

Many of his troubles have emerged in his native Broward County. Last year, he was arrested after deputies said he hosted a party in which a guest waved a gun in the air near a baby’s face. Deputies found a handgun and ammo at his home. The charges were later dropped. At the time of that arrest, Black was on felony probation for robbery and false imprisonment.

Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.

This story was updated to correct the name and date of a 2018 Kodak Black album.

Jay Weaver writes about bad guys who specialize in con jobs, rip-offs and squirreling away millions. Since joining the Miami Herald in 1999, he’s covered the federal courts nonstop, from Elian’s custody battle to A-Rod’s steroid abuse. He was on the Herald team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2001. He and three Herald colleagues were Pulitzer Prize finalists for explanatory reporting in 2019 for a series on gold smuggled from South America to Miami.