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Sheriff trying to arrange Chief Keef’s surrender through attorney

Chief Keef Pitchfork 2012. | AndreBauer

Chief Keef at Pitchfork 2012. | Andrea Bauer

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Updated: October 1, 2014 6:34AM

A week after a warrant was issued for Chief Keef’s arrest for missing a court hearing, the fugitive Chicago rapper has still not turned up, prompting officials to push his attorney to arrange his surrender.

The rapper, whose real name is Keith Cozart, missed an appearance Aug. 22 in Lake County court on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of marijuana in Highland Park. As a result, Judge Veronica O’Malley issued a $50,000 bench warrant for Cozart.

As of Friday morning, Cozart’s warrant remained outstanding and a bond forfeiture hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 3.

Cozart doesn’t have much to forfeit if it comes to that; he posted $300 of an initial $3,000 bond following his arrest by Highland Park Police on March 5. But if he is arrested or surrenders now, he will be required to post $5,000 – 10 percent of the $50,000 – to be freed from custody, according to Chief John Byrne with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

Byrne said Cozart’s warrant has been assigned to a deputy in the sheriff’s Warrants Division. The deputy has been tasked with trying to arrange Cozart’s surrender through his attorney.

Repeated attempts to reach Cozart’s Chicago defense attorney for comment have been unsuccessful.

Byrne said the sheriff’s department has information that Cozart is in California for work.

Brian Smith, a city attorney for Highland Park, which is prosecuting the municipal charges, said it is up to Cozart or his attorney to respond to the warrant. He added that warrant enforcement is in the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s department.

Cozart has pleaded not guilty to the charges of driving under the influence of marijuana. The violation is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a potential penalty of up to 364 days in jail.

Cozart was pulled over about 12:40 a.m. March 5 in the 2600 block of Skokie Valley Road in Highland Park after officers noticed expired registration on his 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee, according to police.

He appeared impaired by drugs, according to police reports, which noted that officers could smell marijuana smoke coming from inside the vehicle. Cozart failed a sobriety test and was taken into custody, police said.

Prior to that arrest, Cozart had spent time in California serving a 90-day court-mandated rehab sentence after he pleaded guilty last year to testing positive for drugs while on probation.

He also is being sought on a warrant issued July 14 in Cook County for child support he owes, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari.

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