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Rapper T.I. taken into custody for attempted illegal purchase

The rapper T.I. will remain in custody for attempting to buy three machine guns and two silencers.

T.I., who real name is Clifford Harris, was arrested Saturday, hours before the BET Hip Hop awards where he was expected to perform. Federal authorities say say he tried to buy the guns and silencers from a man cooperating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.

Harris appeared briefly in federal court Monday. Wearing a black shirt and black jeans, he entered the courtroom expressionless and scanned the crowd made up of family, supporters and media.

The government wants to keep Harris in custody as the case proceeds, but his attorneys plan to argue for his release at a hearing scheduled Friday.

Agents with the ATF arrested Harris in midtown Atlanta. Authorities say other firearms were found in his vehicle and in his suburban Atlanta home.

Harris is charged with possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, as well as possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Authorities say he planned Saturday to pick up machine guns and silencers that he had his bodyguard buy for him.

The arrest resulted from an investigation that began this month when a federal firearms dealer contacted the ATF about a man inquiring about buying a machine gun without registering the weapon as required, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

After attempting to purchase several machine guns from an undercover ATF agent, the unnamed individual - who said he had been working as a bodyguard for Harris since July 2007 - was arrested and began cooperating with the government and said that he was buying the machine guns and silencers for Harris.

Harris allegedly brokered the deals through the bodyguard because he is a convicted felon. It is a violation of federal law for a convicted felon to have another person purchase or acquire firearms on their behalf.

Saturday's arrest came just hours before the BET Hip-Hop Awards on what was supposed to be a day of revelry for T.I., who turned 27 on Sept. 25 and is the co-CEO of Grand Hustle Records. Despite his arrest, the rapper, who was up for nine nominations, won two awards at the show.

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