Early Sunday morning (Jan. 8) while at a gas station, El DeBarge was arrested in Burbank, Calif.
Local authorities took the soulful crooner into custody around 4 a.m. PT, according to TMZ. At the gas station, officers noticed his expired tags, but after approaching, they claim “an expandable metal baton [was] in plain sight.”
Considering a baton is an illegal weapon, they began searching DeBarge’s vehicle and reportedly found pepper spray and narcotics, which they suspect to be heroin. Authorities also allege the “Rhythm Of The Night” singer didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
DeBarge, 61, was charged with possession of a leaded cane or baton, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The singer promptly posted the $25,000 bond and is set to return to court in March 2023.
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Previously, the “I Like It” star was sentenced to two years in a state penitentiary back in 2008 over a narcotics arrest. At the time, he was still on probation for a 2001 drug bust involving cocaine. In 2012, he was arrested in Encino, Calif. for possession for sale of narcotics, NBC News reports.
The year prior, he entered rehab, forcing him to cancel his solo tour and bow out from opening for Mary J. Blige. “I hate to disappoint my fans but it is necessary for me to take the time to work on me so that I may continue to share my music and my story with everyone,” DeBarge, then 49, shared in a statement. “I thank everyone in advance for their prayers and well wishes and hope that you will respect my privacy during this time.”
After having appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk for their Black History Month series in Febraury 2022 and appearing on PJ Morton’s Grammy-nominated album, Watch The Sun, DeBarge is reportedly working on new music of his own.