DMX arrested for drugs and animal cruelty

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Rap star DMX was arrested on Friday on suspicion of drug possession and animal cruelty after two searches of his home allegedly turned up weapons, drugs, dog carcasses and abused pit bulls.

Earl Simmons, also known as hip hop star DMX, is shown in this police booking mugshot from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department released May 9, 2008. REUTERS/Maricopa County Sheriff Department/Handout

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said DMX, 37, whose real name is Earl Simmons, initially barricaded himself in his bedroom when officers arrived at his home at 3 a.m. He eventually surrendered without offering further resistance.

“We are handling this case as we would any other incident of alleged animal cruelty,” Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said in a statement.

It was the second time this week DMX, who rose to fame with hard-core rap songs and hit albums like “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” has run afoul of Arizona authorities.

On Tuesday, state police arrested him for driving at speeds as high as 114 miles per hour (183 kph) on a freeway.

Police first raided his home in the Cave Creek community near Phoenix last August. They found 12 distressed pit bulls and three dead animals partially buried on the property as well as a number of firearms.

An indictment was issued on seven counts of animal cruelty after the August raid. Police staged Friday’s raid to arrest DMX on charges from their initial investigation. This time, they also found unspecified illegal drugs and five more pit bull puppies, which they removed from the house.

Said Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “With all his money and fame, (DMX) has no excuse for not providing proper care for his animals.”

DMX pleaded guilty in New Jersey to animal cruelty charges in 2002 for neglecting some 13 pit bulls, according to news reports. As part of his sentence, he was required to make a public service announcement against animal abuse.

He has also faced previous charges of possession of marijuana and assault.

The rapper has sold more than 20 million albums. The cover art for one of his recent CDs, “Year of the Dog ... Again” depicts him restraining a snarling pit bull on a chain.

While he is best known as a rapper, DMX also has acted in several movies including “Romeo Must Die” and “Exit Wounds.”

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Alan Elsner