Jeremy Meeks, the man whose sigh-inducing Stockton police booking photo went viral, said he’s not proud of his criminal past.
Meeks, 30 was charged Friday with illegally possessing a firearm, as well as other gun- and gang-related charges. He was also accused of violating his parole, prosecutors said.
In an interview with KXTV, Meeks said he’s done things in his past that he should not have, but that he’s not a hardened criminal.
“I just want them to know that this is really not like me, I’m not some kingpin,” he said.
He told the news station that he spent years in prison for grand theft and that the teardrop tattoo on his cheekbone was for “doing some things in his past he is not proud of.”
He is expected to appear in court Friday.
Meeks attracted worldwide media attention Thursday after his booking photo was posted on the Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page in connection with a law enforcement operation.
Not long after his photo went up on the site, someone created a fan page on Facebook for Meeks, which has received more than 39,500 likes.
The Stockton Police Department’s Facebook page soon went viral, garnering nearly 50,000 “likes,” 14,700 comments and more than 5,400 shares by Friday morning.
On Friday, the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office detailed the circumstances under which the viral Internet sensation was arrested this week.
Meeks was stopped by Stockton police about 6:30 a.m. Thursday after he and others were seen leaving a home where a search warrant was about to be executed. Meeks was the driver of a car with two passengers. One of them, 23-year-old Terry Bailey, is on probation and is facing similar charges.
Prosecutors allege that when officers searched the car, they found a 9-mm round and a loaded semiautomatic handgun, along with two extended magazines for the gun, according to the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office.
At his arraignment Friday, Meeks’ bail was set at $1 million.
Meeks’ mother, Katherine Angier, has set up a fundraising page, partly to dispel what she says are stereotypes about her son, and partly to raise $25,000 for his legal defense.
“He’s my son and he is so sweet,” she said on the “Free Jeremy” page. “Please help him to get a fair trial or else he’ll be railroaded.”
Meeks has already served two years in state prison for a 2002 conviction on grand theft in Solano County, according to prosecutors.
Meeks and Bailey are also documented members of the Northside Gangster Crips, forming the basis for the gang allegations in the complaint, according to the district attorney’s office.
All the attention Meeks’ booking photo received apparently caught the felon off guard, according to an interview he gave to KXTV in Sacramento.
“I just visited my wife, and she said I like blew up all over Facebook,” Meeks told KXTV’s Nick Monacelli from jail Thursday.
The outpouring of admiration had yet to wane Friday. Comments ranged from the ubiquitous “Omg he’s hot!!” to the more pointed.
“He’s too fine to be a criminal. I got $10 on his bail,” one woman wrote.
“He’s too pretty go to go jail…yet again,” added another.