Best Of '99: Ol' Dirty Bastard Charged With Crack Cocaine Possession

Wu-Tang Clan rapper is being held in custody pending determination of bail.

[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at 1999's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Monday, March 22.]

Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard was arrested Monday morning (March 22) in Brooklyn, N.Y., for allegedly possessing three envelopes of crack cocaine, according to Valerie St. Rose, a spokesperson for New York police.

"Three glassine envelopes were found on him," St. Rose said, adding that the drugs were discovered during a routine search of the rapper, after he was arrested on vehicular violations.

ODB was expected to be arraigned sometime Monday night, according to a spokesperson at the Brooklyn District Attorney's office. The bail amount will not be set until that time.

This was ODB's fifth arrest since September.

Police say they came across the rapper's unoccupied 1996 black Range Rover double-parked outside a store at about 2 a.m. Monday morning at the corner of Cooper and Broadway. When ODB came out of the store, the officers on patrol asked him to move his vehicle, police added.

He complied, but his vehicle had no plates, and a temporary registration sticker was unreadable due to tinted windows, St. Rose said.

Police asked ODB to show his license and registration, but he could not

produce any identification, St. Rose explained. He then identified himself

as Robert Diggs, the legal name of RZA, who is ODB's cousin and a Wu-Tang Clan rapper/producer, police said. The officers ran a check on the name and found that Diggs' license had been suspended.

ODB then gave his own legal name, Russell T. Jones, according to police. A computer check allegedly found that his license had been suspended seven times and that he has failed to pay child support.

ODB was arrested, and a routine search allegedly found three glassine

envelopes of crack cocaine on his person, according to St. Rose. He

was charged with unlicensed operation of a vehicle and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Both charges against ODB are misdemeanors and carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, according to the Brooklyn district attorney's office.

ODB's New York attorney, Peter Frankel, could not be reached by press time.

In a separate case, ODB is due in Los Angeles Municipal Court on Tuesday (March 23) for a preliminary hearing on a felony charge that he illegally wore a bulletproof vest.

In that case, the rapper was arrested in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 16 under a new law that forbids possession of body armor by convicted violent felons. The law applies to ODB because he was convicted in 1993 of assault in New York.

ODB, who has said he fears for his safety following previous attempts on his life, has pleaded innocent to the body-armor charge.

Two additional Los Angeles cases, each alleging the rapper made terrorist threats, are scheduled to go to trial next month.

Another charge — a misdemeanor — is pending against the rapper in Los Angeles for allegedly driving without a license.

Earlier this year, attempted-murder charges alleging that ODB fired his gun at Brooklyn police were dropped due to insufficient evidence. He has vowed to sue police over the incident.

ODB's alleged use of RZA's name in Monday's arrest is not the first time

the Wu-Tang mates have used each other's names in legal situations. In

March of last year, RZA gave his name as Russell Jones when he was

pulled over and charged with driving without a license. An arrest

warrant for ODB was issued when neither showed up for court.

OBD later used an appearance in Beverly Hills Municipal Court to clear up the case of mistaken identity. A judge — agreeing that the height and weight specified on the warrant did not match those of ODB — reissued a warrant under RZA's real name. Ironically, just hours later, ODB was pulled over for a traffic violation and charged with driving without a license — the same offense that RZA had allegedly committed.

ODB has spent the last several months working on Nigga Please, the follow-up to his 1995 debut album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. That album included such songs as "Baby C'mon"

(RealAudio

excerpt) and "Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)" (RealAudio

excerpt).

Contributing Editor Christopher O'Connor contributed to this report.