Master P's producer charged with felony gun possession in Airport, US Attorney reduces charge to Misdemeanor.

"U.S. Attorney reduces charge to Misdemeanor"

2 loaded pistols found in his bag! Airport security under security…

The man who carried two loaded semiautomatic pistols through a security checkpoint Monday at Louis Armstrong International Airport forgot he put them in a backpack the day before, the man's attorney said Tuesday.

"He was as surprised as any one," said Thomas Calogero, the New Orleans attorney for Carlos Stephens, 30, of Baton Rouge. "This was simply an honest mistake, nothing more."

He was booked with attempting to board an airplane with a weapon. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Calogero said Stephens was moving the guns Sunday and for some reason stuck them in a bag with a computer and other music equipment. He was headed to Los Angeles to work on a music project and took the bag with him, forgetting that the guns were inside, Calogero said.

Stephens told Calogero that the bag went through a metal detector along with another carry-on bag and that he was not stopped. When the guns turned up during a random search at the gate, Calogero said Stephens wondered "why the scanner didn't go off."

Stephens "owns firearms like many Americans," Calogero said. "But he certainly would not have knowingly placed guns in this bag to bring to the airport."

Calogero said “the mistake my client made is no different than what has happened to other people, including Harry Connick Jr., who in 1993 accidental carried a 9 mm pistol into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Charges against Connick were later dismissed.

"I think his good character, his enormous success and his clean record make it clear that this was nothing more than an accident," Calogero said of Stephens.

"On July 3, 2002 the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana permitted Stephens to plea guilty to a misdemeanor. Stephens was sentenced to one year of probation."

Re-printed in part from Times-Picayune

Copyright © 2002-2003 All rights reserved.