Busted, baby: Rapper Plies arrested at Tampa International Airport

Published September 19 2018
Updated September 19 2018

TAMPA — The rapper Plies, aka Algernod Lanier Washington, was arrested at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday after authorities say a gun was found in his carry-on bag.

The 42-year-old Wesley Chapel resident faces a charge of carrying a concealed firearm.

Washington was going through the security checkpoint at airside E when a Transportation Security Administration agent saw what looked like a firearm inside his bag as it went through the x-ray machine, said airport police Chief Charlie Vazquez.

Agents found a Glock 43 9mm semiautomatic pistol and an accompanying magazine in the bag. Vazquez said he did not know if the gun was loaded.

RELATED: TSA finds four loaded handguns at Tampa International security checkpoints

Washington did not have a concealed carry permit, the chief said. He likely would not have been arrested if he had one, Vazquez said, even though carrying a weapon into an airport terminal is against Florida law.

"In most cases you’d just walk back to your car" and put the firearm there, Vazquez said.

According to federal guildelines, guns must be unloaded, locked in a secure case and placed in checked baggage to be transported on an airplane.

READ MORE: Number of guns discovered at Tampa International Airport on the rise

Washington was arrested without incident at about noon.

The Fort Myers-born rapper played college football for two years then entered the hip-hop scene in 2007. His hits include "Becky" and "Bust it Baby Pt. 2." Hip hop magazine XXL reported that Washington is currently working on his fifth album, Purple Heart.

Washington was released from the Hillsborough County jail on Wednesday evening after posting $2,000 bail.

This was not the first time the rapper was arrested in Hillsborough County. Jail records show he was arrested in 2017 on a charge of driving under the influence, which was later reduced to reckless driving.

Times staff writer Tara McCarty contributed to this report.