James Rosemond, a fugitive hip-hop mogul recently linked by a convicted killer to a shooting that wounded famed rapper Tupac Shakur, was arrested on Tuesday, June 21 in a drug case.
Authorities found Rosemond, 46, at the posh W New York hotel in Manhattan, where he had been staying under a false name, and detained him on charges he ran a drug-trafficking ring. He appeared at a New York federal court on Tuesday and did not enter a plea.
Rosemond faces a maximum life sentence if he is convicted. His attorney said his client had been framed, according to the Associated Press, which carried the story.
The charges are "the result of witnesses who have been bribed and threatened by the government to implicate Jimmy in the crimes charged," he said. "It's been a long time coming, but the government wants a fight so we'll give them one."
On June 15, a day before what would have been Shakur's 40th birthday, the website allhiphop.com reported that Dexter Isaac, who is serving a life sentence for an unrelated murder case had "come forward as the person who robbed and shot Tupac in Manhattan's Quad Studio back in November 1994." It quoted Isaac as saying "he was paid $2500 by James 'Jimmy Henchman' Rosemond" to carry out the robbery.
Rosemond's attorney denied the claim. Shakur ultimately died in a different shooting. The hip hop artist, known for the 1995 hit single "California Love," was involved in a longtime feud between West Coast and East Coast rappers and was gunned down in the Las Vegas area in 1996. The killer was never found.
New York police began investigating the matter after Isaac's "confession," the Reuters news wire reported. Isaac had said he is speaking out because Rosemond had accused him in May of being a government informant. Isaac said he was comfortable to speak on record about the robbery "as the statute of limitations had expired."
Rosemond is the co-founder of Czar Entertainment and produced the all-girl hip hp group Salt-N-Pepa's hit 1993 song "Shoop." He has served as a music manager of artists such as Sean Kingston, who was recently injured in a personal watercraft accident, and rapper Game.
Federal authorities said in a criminal complaint that Rosemond allegedly smuggled cocaine in road cases, sending them to music studios in New York and the money made from selling them to Los Angeles. Agents seized one case containing almost $800,000 last year, the Associated Press reported, adding that Rosemond then reportedly opted to smuggle the drugs in hidden compartments in cars traveling across the country.