Murder Inc. mogul Irv Gotti was arrested Friday at an R. Kelly concert in Oakland, Calif., and charged with possession of ecstasy, MTV News reports. Released on $20,000 bail, he was due to be arraigned on Tuesday, but neither he nor his lawyer appeared in Alameda County Court, the Oakland Tribune reports.
At the time of the arrest, Gotti (real name: Irving Lorenzo) was trying to pass through a security checkpoint backstage at the concert, which also included Murder Inc. artist Ashanti on the bill. Police officer Randy Brandwood, who was manning the metal detector, told the Tribune he saw Gotti carrying a plastic bag containing pills. The bag contained one ecstasy tablet and some Viagra tablets, police said.
Gotti was held overnight at the Alameda County Jail in Oakland, MTV reports. After Gotti posted bail, he returned home to New York, his attorney, Dennis Roberts, told the Tribune. Roberts said he would attend Tuesday's arraignment on Gotti's behalf, but after he missed the court date, prosecutors told the Tribune they could not reach him to have him explain his and his clients' absences. The possession charge is a misdemeanor count, and authorites said that, since Gotti has no prior criminal record, he would be eligible for a drug diversion program which, if he successfully completed it, would lead to a dismissal of the charge.
For several months, Gotti has been the subject of a federal investigation that alleges a money-laundering link between Murder Inc. and convicted drug dealer (and Gotti pal) Kenneth ''Supreme'' McGriff. Gotti has not been charged with a crime in that probe and has denied using drug money to finance his label.