Prosecutors Say 42 Dugg Claimed He Was Sovereign Citizen Immune to Federal Laws

Federal prosecutors shared more details about the extensive manhunt for the Detroit rapper, who was arrested this week for failing to surrender.

Rapper 42 Dugg attends Yo Gotti Album release Party for CM10: FREE GAME

Image via Getty/Prince Williams/Wireimage

Rapper 42 Dugg attends Yo Gotti Album release Party for CM10: FREE GAME

We now have more details on the extensive manhunt for 42 Dugg.

The 27-year-old rapper—legal name Dion Hayes—was arrested in on Wednesday after he failed to surrender to a federal prison camp, where he was expected to serve a six-month sentence on gun-related charges. Dugg was reportedly apprehended at a Detroit airport, after he exited a private plane that had come from Memphis.

Prosecutors say they had been searching for Dugg since April, when he was scheduled to turn himself in at a West Virginia facility. They shared details of the investigation during a Thursday court hearing, where they explained why they believed Dugg was a flight risk.

According to Detroit News, the prosecutors confirmed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had secured a warrant that allowed them to track the location of the rapper’s cellphone. The agents were eventually led to a Detroit airport, and found the wanted rapper at around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“When he was arrested he had $25,000 in cash and more than $100,000 in jewelry,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Lanning said during the hearing.

Prosecutors said the private aircraft didn’t have an assigned flight number, and Dugg’s government name wasn’t listed on the flight’s passenger manifest.

“He’s claimed more than $11 million worth of assets. He has access to a private plane with a pilot willing to fly an unnumbered flight where Mr. Hayes is not included on the flight’s manifest,” Lanning continued. “That’s not an accident. That’s not a happenstance.”

Dugg’s six-month sentenced stemmed from a 2019 incident in which he allegedly fire a weapon at an Atlanta gun range. Authorities claim surveillance footage at the facility shows Dugg and two others at the range on Nov. 8; the rapper was reportedly filmed loading and shooting a 9 mm Glock, which he was prohibited from doing due to a prior felony conviction.

Dugg was ultimately sentenced to three years of probation for the gun range incident and was ordered to pay a $90,000 fine; however, he allegedly violated the terms of his probation by repeatedly testing positive for drugs and getting arrested in Las Vegas. A judge subsequently sentenced Dugg to six months in a federal prison camp.

The rapper’s lawyer, Steve Scharg, told the Detroit News that his client didn’t surrender because he appealed the sentencing, and mistakenly believed he didn’t have to turn himself in while the case was pending. But prosecutors say that in late April the rapper filed a court document in which he claimed to be a sovereign citizen who was immune to federal laws. However, Dugg’s court-appointed lawyer, Casey Swanson, told the judge Thursday that Dugg did not file said letter.

“Mr. Hayes did not flee,” she said. “He did not intentionally avoid a sentence in this case.”

Swanson pointed out that Dugg has been quite active on social media and had made several public appearances over the past weeks. ATF agents claimed they conducted surveillance at seven locations, but never once saw Dugg. It wasn’t until April 28 when the court gave them permission to track the rapper’s phone; however, they said they didn’t receive any results until earlier this week. 

Dugg remains in custody as he awaits to face charges for failing to surrender. 

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