Rapper 21 Savage released from immigration detention in S. Georgia

Musician was granted $100,000 bond in Atlanta

Rapper 21 Savage returned home to the Atlanta area Wednesday after he was freed from a federal immigration detention center in South Georgia, his attorneys said.

Born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, the musician was granted a $100,000 bond during a closed hearing in an Atlanta Immigration Court Tuesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested him earlier this month, saying he’s a citizen of the United Kingdom who overstayed his visa. His deportation case is still pending in Atlanta.

A spokeswoman for the rapper released a photo of him posing with his mother, Heather Joseph, outside small airplane after his release from the  Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla Wednesday morning.


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“He is pleased with the outcome and his family is elated, of course, that he is returning home after days of stress and uncertainty,” said Tia Smith, one of his immigration attorneys.

ICE declined to comment on 21 Savage’s case Wednesday, though the federal agency has previously said it focuses on detaining and deporting people with criminal records. 21 Savage has a 2014 felony drug case in Fulton County. But the rapper’s attorneys have said he has no criminal record. The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said it could not confirm or deny whether he was convicted, citing Georgia’s first offender law, which allows records to be expunged and sealed.

“ICE continues to focus its limited resources first and foremost on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” the agency said in a statement issued Feb. 3, the day 21 Savage was apprehended. “ICE only conducts targeted enforcement and does not conduct any type of indiscriminate raids or sweeps that target aliens indiscriminately.”

ICE said it arrested 21 Savage last week during a “targeted operation” that took "weeks to months" of planning and that was aimed at Young Nudy, whose real name is Quantavious Thomas. DeKalb County police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved. 21 Savage happened to be with Thomas.

Thomas is scheduled to attend a bond hearing Tuesday in DeKalb County. He faces gang- and fire arm-related charges and an aggravated assault charge. Some of those charges are from 2017. His attorney, Scott Smith, predicted he will be released on bond.

“Based upon our independent investigation,” Smith said, “we don’t believe a judge would deny him bond.”