Page last updated at 09:51 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 10:51 UK

DMX arrested over court absence

The rapper faces a number of other cases in Arizona

US rapper DMX has been arrested at a store in Miami after failing to appear in a court in Phoenix, Arizona, to face drug charges.

A judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the rapper, real name Earl Simmons, on Tuesday after he failed to show at Maricopa County Superior Court.

He faces charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Mr Simmons's lawyer claims the rapper had checked into a Miami hospital on the day he was due to appear in court.

Lawyer Charles Kozelka said his client had planned to enter a rehabilitation facility.

Animal cruelty

Mr Simmons was taken into custody outside a Wal-Mart store in north Miami Beach.

Simmons faces a number of other cases in Arizona including counts of animal cruelty and identity theft.

He had been due in court earlier this week to face the charges which relate to a May raid on his home in Cave Creek, Arizona, and subsequent arrest.

He was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and animal cruelty when 12 dogs - allegedly neglected - were found at his home.

Authorities allege that dog carcasses were also found there.

Police also seized illegal drugs and several weapons.

Chart topper

Three weeks ago, Simmons pleaded not guilty in court to two theft charges, including one of attempting to steal the identity of somebody else.

He is accused of giving his name as Troy Jones to avoid paying for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

At the start of July, he was detained after failing to appear in court and for driving without a licence.

In 2006, he served more than two months in Rikers Island prison in New York after he identified himself as a federal agent and drove his car into a gate at John F Kennedy airport.

The rapper has sold more than 20 million albums, with his first five topping the US chart in their opening week of release.

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