Passaic County Rapper Juelz Santana Admits Bringing Gun To Newark Airport

Passaic County rapper Juelz Santana admitted in federal court on Thursday that he brought a gun into Newark Airport earlier this year.

Juelz Santana
Juelz Santana Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Santana, 36, of Totowa -- whose real name is Laron L. James -- is likely looking at federal prison time because of a prior felony conviction out of Bergen County, which prohibits him from carrying a firearm.

He remained free on house arrest with an ankle bracelet monitor pending sentencing, thanks to a $500,000 bond that his mother secured with her Englewood home. U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler scheduled sentencing for Dec. 12 in Newark federal court.

Santana left two bags and his ID behind when he left the Terminal C security checkpoint at Newark Airport and ducked out an exit on March 9 before boarding a flight to San Francisco, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Inside one of the bags TSA agents found a two-shot .38-caliber Derringer pistol, he said.

As the agents began going through his bag, Santana ran from the airport and jumped into a cab.

Authorities went to his Totowa home looking for Santana, but he wasn't there, a law enforcement source told Daily Voice.

A federal indictment returned in May charged Santana with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of carrying a weapon on an aircraft. 

A judge in Hackensack gave Santana two years probation in 2013 after he pleaded guilty to lesser charges for what prosecutors said were assaults on both his then-girlfriend, Kim ‘Bella’ Vanderhee, and a good Samaritan who came to her aid at an Englewood housing development in July 2011.

Santana and Vanderhee reportedly split last fall.

SEE: Rapper Juelz Santana Gets Probation In Assault On Englewood Good Samaritan

Six years ago, Santana was charged in connection with the discovery of two fully-loaded 9mm handguns, several boxes of ammunition and 17 dime bags of pot during a SWAT team raid of what was then his “Santana’s World” studios on South Washington Avenue in Bergenfield.

Santana -- who once lived in Teaneck -- wasn’t there at the time, but investigators arrested freestyle rapper Toby M. “Hynief” Raynor, who co-founded both The Diplomats (aka: The Dipsets) and The Skull Gang with him. Santana later turned himself in.

He was free on bail when police in Teaneck arrested him four months later for driving while on the suspended list.

Then came the assault charges.

Santana’s first album, “From Me to U” was released on Russell Simmons’ popular Def Jam label in 2003. His follow-up, “What the Game’s Been Missing!” spawned a Top 10 single: “There It Go (The Whistle Song).”

The son of an African-American mother and Dominican father, he reportedly began rapping at 5 — and at 12, was signed to his first record deal as part of the duo Draft Pick.

In August 2008, Dipset founder Cam’ron told an interviewer that he had sold Santana’s contract to Def Jam Records for $2 million, opening an already-existing rift between the two.

Santana had been working on his third album, “Born to Lose, Built to Win,” on his own Skull Gang label, at the Bergenfield studios. He moved his operations there after running a clothing and music store on Amsterdam Avenue between 150th and 151st Streets in the Bronx.

A few singles from the album appeared, including “Back to the Crib,” featuring Chris Brown.

Members of the Harlem-based Skull Gang (Street Kids United by Loyalty & Loot) have worked with, among others, rap legend Jim Jones, Lil Wayne and Mike Epps. 

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