James Harden and his rapper friend Lil Baby have been stopped and searched by police in Paris with the musician subsequently arrested for drug possession.
The 31-year-old NBA star and 26-year-old musician – real name Dominique Jones – were in town for Paris fashion week when police approached a parked car that Jones was sitting in because it smelled of marijuana.
Harden is not thought to have been in the vehicle and was standing on the street nearby, but ended up being frisked by officers when he tried to intervene.
Photos showed Harden and Jones being quizzed by police on Avenue Montaigne, a well-known Parisian thoroughfare that runs through the upmarket 8th Arrondissement close to the Champs Elysee.
James Harden (right), an NBA star with the Brooklyn Nets, was stopped and searched on a well-known street in central Paris on Thursday afternoon
Also searched was rapper Lil Baby – real name Dominique Jones (centre, in white) – who was subsequently arrested on suspicion of drug possession
Police said Jones and another man (right) were arrested after 20 grams – about an eighth of an ounce – of cannabis was discovered in a parked car they were sitting in
Pictures and video also showed Jones and a second man being placed in the back of a police van.
The incident took place around 4:50 p.m. when officers on patrol smelled cannabis coming from the black Mercedes van, according to Le Parisien.
Three men, including Jones, were taken out of the vehicle and searched while officers also swept the van itself.
A stash of cannabis was subsequently found in the glove box, a police source told the paper, so Jones and another man were arrested.
Later on Thursday, a Paris Police Department spokesperson confirmed that Lil Baby had been arrested with one other person drug possession.
Harden was released without charge.
Harden had been in France alongside his friend Jones for Paris fashion week, before getting into trouble with the police
Harden is not thought to have been in the car with Jones but was standing on the street nearby and was searched after trying to intervene
Checking in: Harden was accompanied by several other men and was busy on his phone while the police spoke with others
Not alone: Local French outlets reported that Lil Baby and one other man were arrested on marijuana-related charges
In a video posted to Twitter, Harden could be heard shouting, ‘You know, It’s OK. I don’t understand,’ though he seemed to be shouting to someone behind the officer searching him.
While speaking to the other person, the plainclothes officer patted down his arms and checked his sleeves.
Sources close to the shooting guard later told the outlet that he hadn’t done anything illegal and was let go by police after the altercation.
Lil Baby was photographed speaking with other police officers who were in uniform, while another man stood to his side.
The rapper and the other man were then taken in the police van down to the station for questioning.
The Paris Police Department refused to answer questions about the altercation as it was part of an active investigation.
However, law enforcement sources told TMZ on Friday that Lil Baby had been released and would be required to pay a fine.
Unclear: However, it wasn’t clear if it was a marijuana vaporizer or if it was used for another substance, such as tobacco
Packed in: The van where Lil Baby and others were held
France has largely resisted steps to legalize or decriminalize marijuana, in contrast with other European nations, and it has among the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the European Union.
Last year, the French government instituted a new fine system in which people in possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana would simply be fined a lump sum of €200.
Prior to the loosening of restrictions, a marijuana possession charge could come with a fine well over €1,000 and up to a year in jail.
As Lil Baby and his entourage were reportedly found with only 20 grams, it’s unclear why they were taken to the station and not just fined.