Kentrell Gaulden

Kentrell Gaulden

A judge Thursday ordered the return of more than $47,000 seized from Baton Rouge rapper NBA YoungBoy when he and 15 others were arrested in September while creating a music video.

One of Kentrell Gaulden's attorneys, James Manasseh, had argued in a court filing that the seizure and detention of the cash was "illegal and unconstitutional" because the state did not have sufficient evidence to support the confiscation of non-contraband property.

After a brief hearing Thursday, state District Judge Tiffany Foxworth signed an order directing the Baton Rouge Police Department to return the money to Gaulden, 21.

The East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office did not object to the motion to release seized property.

Gaulden and the 15 others booked on drug and weapons counts have not been formally charged.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III did not attend the hearing but said afterward his office is still reviewing the law enforcement reports and the evidence collected.

"We will continue to do so and meet with the agencies involved before making the appropriate billing decision -- probably at the first of the year," he said.

Andrew Bevinetto, one of Gaulden's lawyers, said outside Foxworth's courtroom that there was no legal basis for the forfeiture of the cash, and he said the state agreed.

Gaulden was taken into custody in late September after the BRPD Street Crimes Division and FBI agents received anonymous complaints of people brandishing guns in an abandoned lot and investigated, police have said.

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Officers went to the 3800 block of Chippewa Street about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 and found members of the “Never Broke Again” (NBA) and “Bottom Boy Gorilla” (BBG) groups — police described them as "gangs" — gathered at the lot shooting a video, Gaulden’s arrest documents state.

When officers arrived, some at the scene ran away while others were detained for questioning. Authorities seized drugs, 14 guns and a large amount of money, police said. One of the guns was a stolen weapon.

Gaulden rose to national acclaim as a teenager growing up in Baton Rouge, though his success has been marred with violence and drama.

State District Judge Bonnie Jackson gave Gaulden a suspended 10-year prison term in August 2017 and put him on probation for three years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm in the 2016 nonfatal shooting.

Gaulden served 90 days in jail during the summer of 2019 after Jackson issued a temporary probation hold in the 2016 case. Prosecutors had moved to revoke his probation entirely, which would have sent him to prison for 10 years, following his involvement in a shootout in Miami on Mother's Day 2019 that left a bystander dead.

Gunmen opened fire on Gaulden and several of his associates outside the Trump International Hotel. His girlfriend was shot in the shoulder. Legally armed members of his entourage returned fire, killing a bystander. Miami-Dade police said no members of Gaulden's party would be charged because they acted in self-defense. No arrests have been made in the shooting.

Jackson decided last December that the rapper had served enough time under court supervision and released him, which ended his probation.

As a felon, Gaulden is prohibited from possessing a firearm. Manasseh said no firearms were found on Gaulden or in his immediate control on Sept. 28.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.