WRIGHTSTOWN — A Philadelphia rapper was arrested on a marijuana possession charge early Sunday morning while on his way to a performance at a local tavern, state police said today.
Dwight Grant, 35, who is known as the rapper Beanie Sigel, was found in possession of under 50 grams of the drug during a 12:44 a.m. traffic stop at the intersection of Fort Dix and Main streets, said Sgt. Julian Castellanos, spokesman for the New Jersey State Police.
The driver, Karl S. Dargan, 24, of Philadelphia, and another passenger, Justin S. Gaines, 25, of Westville, Gloucester County, also were charged with marijuana possession of under 50 grams, Castellanos said.
Grant, Dargan and Gaines were not believed to be in jail, Castellanos said.
Grant rose to prominence as a rapper in the late 1990s after making guest appearances on albums put out by The Roots and rapper Jay-Z. His debut album, “The Truth,” was released by Roc-A-Fella Records in 2000. He has had several hit records since.
Grant also has a lengthy criminal history, including stints in prison for weapons possession and parole violations. He was acquitted of an attempted murder charge in 2005 that stemmed from a shooting in West Philadelphia, according to published reports.
On Sunday, Grant was on his way to perform at a private function at Kelly’s Bar on Rexall Avenue, according to a bar employee. The performance was canceled as a result of his arrest, the employee said.
The bar, which is owned by Borough Councilman Scott Timberman, was recently the subject of complaints from residents and businesses about juveniles leaving the tavern’s nonalcoholic Teen Night functions and shoplifting from stores or vandalizing property.
Also, in June 2008 a Burlington City man was shot in the lower back during an altercation with Safford Swain, 27, of Burlington Township. Swain pleaded guilty to gun possession and is serving five years in state prison, according to court records.
Mayor Tom Harper said state police have responded to complaints about downtown crime by assigning more troopers to patrols on evenings when Teen Night is held. Harper was unaware of Grant’s arrest Sunday morning.
Councilman Jim Severns called Grant’s arrest an embarrassment for the small borough and said it could hurt efforts to redevelop the downtown business district.
“We can’t afford bad publicity at this point,” Severns said.