Reason, Liberty, & Culture

Rapper 'Birdman' Bryan Williams

Birdman Arrested Police Find Drugs and Firearms During Traffic Stop

Compiled by Lewis Loflin

Update July 29, 2008: Rapper "Birdman" (Bryan Williams) was in a Kingsport courtroom for a preliminary hearing for marijuana possession. Fifteen of his band members are also facing the possession charges, three did not show up for the hearing, and the judge issued bench warrants.

Judge reschedules Birdman drug trial: A plea deal remains on the table if all defendants plead to the charges rather than going to trial.

Several of the Cash Money Records representatives who were charged along with Williams were either not present or not ready for trial. Four of Williams' co-defendants were absent. Three who were present hadn't hired an attorney. Sessions Judge Mark Toohey approved requests from two of them to have a public defender appointed...Williams' attorney, Wayne Culbertson, requested a continuance because of the absence of a crucial witness in the case...Without any objection from the defense attorneys or their clients, Toohey set a special trial date at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17...all present defendants first each signed a form acknowledging they know when to come back to court...

When asked about the status of gun charges filed against some of the co-defendants, Whittemore said those charges have been dropped because those with guns had permits and were properly licensed. However, due to the alleged presence of drugs along with the guns, the guns were seized by Kingsport police and have not been returned at this time. Extract Kingsport Times-News July 28, 2007

Rapper and Cash Money Records CEO, Bryan "Baby" Williams, better known as Birdman was arrested along with 15 others and charged with possession of marijuana Tuesday, November 27th, after the RV they were riding in was pulled over by police for making an improper lane change around 4:10 pm.

According to the Associated Press, Traffic on Interstate 81 was backed up for miles after being shut down to one lane while the suspects were handcuffed and the tour bus was searched.

Kingsport Police Cpl. Tim Horne says he stopped the vehicle after it forced a tractor trailer into an emergency lane on the Interstate. According to reports, Horne found a pound of marijuana in a trash can in the kitchenette after obtaining consent to search the vehicle due to the strong [marijuana] smell.

An assault rifle, a handgun and a magazine for a .45-caliber handgun were found on the RV, however, no weapons charges have been filed.

Another report:

KINGSPORT: Rapper Bryan "Birdman" Williams (age 38), his wife Brittany (18), his brother Ronald (43), and 13 assorted cohorts and friends were released on bond early Wednesday. The day before they were busted by Kingsport, Tennessee police for possession of marijuana. Bryan and Ronald founded Cash Money Records in 1991, a label that is distributed, marketed, and promoted by Universal Records. They were in a large RV, Bryan Williams was released on $1,500 bond around 1:30 a.m. along and the others.

Birdman and his gang left the Kingsport Justice Center and drove off in rented cars Wednesday morning. Their next court date is March 18, according to the Kingsport General Sessions Court Clerk's Office.

Police said they stopped the RV after they saw it force a tractor-trailer into the emergency lane on Interstate 81. Cpl. Tim Horne said he could smell marijuana from inside the rented RV and found about a pound of marijuana in a trash can.

One of the suspects, 24-year-old Brandon Thursten of Miami, had a 9mm handgun tucked in his waistband and police said they also found a second gun. No weapons charges have been filed, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is assisting in the investigation.

According to reports from The Kingsport Times-News several people in the RV were carrying about $1,000 cash and some had as much as $5,000 on hand. The money (approximately $12,000 to $15,000) won't be seized unless police detect the smell of marijuana on it. The driver told police the group was traveling from New Orleans to New York for a BET shoot. Ref. Associated Press November 28, 2007

Yet to quote with some more details,

Boswell told Horne he was taking the group of Cash Money Records representatives from New Orleans to a BET shoot in New York. Their plans were derailed when Horne obtained consent to search the vehicle after smelling burnt and raw marijuana inside the vehicle. During that search, Kingsport police found about a pound of marijuana in a trash can in the kitchenette, officers said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assisted in the investigation after police found a 9mm pistol in the waistband of the third person off the bus, Brandon Thursten. Police said a .223-caliber "short rifle" and a magazine and case for a .45-caliber pistol were also located during the investigation. Police have contacted Entertainment Coaches of America about the seized rental, but the RV is expected to remain at the city's impound lot pending further investigation and the results of a more thorough search for drugs and other weapons.

Note that as of June 2008 there is no record "Birdman" ever came back to court in March.

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