U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested rapper 21 Savage early Sunday morning, claiming that he is actually from the United Kingdom and overstayed his visa, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.
21 Savage, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody in a “targeted operation” in metro Atlanta, ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said.
Abraham-Joseph, 26, has claimed to be from Atlanta and has long been considered a local act. Just last fall, he gave free school supplies to more than 2,500 DeKalb County school students.
Cox, however, said Abraham-Joseph is an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who came to the U.S. on a visa in July 2005. His visa expired a year later, Cox said.
He was also convicted of felony drug charges in 2014 in Fulton County, ICE said.
Abraham-Joseph has been placed in “removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” Cox said.
An ICE official told the AJC that when Abraham-Joseph was arrested in 2014, ICE was not aware of his immigration status. They only learned later that he is allegedly from the U.K.
The official said the early-morning arrest stemmed from a traffic stop in DeKalb County during which three other people who were with him were arrested by DeKalb police.
The AJC has reached out to DeKalb police for information on that incident.
He performed in Atlanta as recently as Thursday in the Super Bowl Music Fest at State Farm Arena.
He jumped into the rap game with his debut mixtape “The Slaughter Tape” in 2015. His most recent album, “I Am > I Was,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.