Rapper Coolio charged with felony after loaded gun is found in his bag at LAX, authorities say

Rap artist Coolio, shown in a 1996 photo, was charged Thursday with bringing a gun to Los Angeles International Airport.
(John P. Lindsay / Los Angeles Times)

Rap artist Coolio was charged Thursday with a firearm violation after a handgun was found in his carry-on bag during a security screening at Los Angeles International Airport, officials said.

Coolio, whose legal name is Artis Leon Ivey, faces one felony count of possessing a firearm by a felon with two prior convictions, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

According to prosecutors, Ivey, 53, was previously convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle in 2001. In 2009, he was convicted of possessing cocaine after rock cocaine was found in his luggage at LAX.

If Ivey is convicted of the latest offense, he could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison.


Ivey, a Las Vegas native, was arrested at 10:50 a.m. on Sept. 17.  The loaded, stolen firearm was found in Ivey’s backpack when it passed through an X­-ray screening machine at a security checkpoint in Terminal 3, according to airport officials.

Police initially detained a 39-year-old man who claimed the bag was his.

But police soon discovered that the bag “contained items belonging to one of the suspect’s traveling companions,” airport officials said. The traveling companion was Ivey. He had already left the screening area and boarded a departing plane, airport officials said.

Ivey was detained and acknowledged ownership of the carry­-on bag, officials said.


Ivey is best known for his 1995 hit song “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Mostly recently, Ivey appeared on Food Network’s “Rachel vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” and  “Chopped Tournament of Stars.”

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