Rapper G Herbo, 2 others found not guilty of having guns in SUV near the Magnificent Mile

CHICAGO — Herbert Wright, better known as Chicago rapper G Herbo, and two companions have been found not guilty of misdemeanor weapons charges stemming from a traffic stop near the Magnificent Mile last summer. A fourth man who was in the Cadillac Escalade with Wright continues to fight felony gun and cannabis charges.

Judge Donald Panarese praised the Chicago cops who handled the case, saying they “did great work here” and he found them “very professional and very credible” during the bench trial for the 28-year-old rapper and two of his companions, Derrick Linares, 26, of Yonkers, New York, and the Cadillac Escalade’s driver, Antoine Smith, 42, of suburban Miami.

Chicago cops stopped the SUV, which had Montana license plates, at 34 West Ontario around 5:30 p.m. on July 9 after Smith failed to signal before making a turn near Wabash and Ontario, according to arrest reports filed in the case.

The officers said they saw the Cadillac’s back seat passengers, Wright and Linares, make “furtive movements” toward areas of the vehicle where guns were subsequently found, prosecutors said.

During a bond hearing last year for the fourth occupant, 33-year-old Cecil Davis of Hazel Crest, Assistant State’s Attorney Alexander Konetzki said bulletproofing modifications prevented Smith from opening the driver’s window during the traffic stop.

After exiting the car, Smith initially denied that there were weapons in the vehicle, but he later admitted that he was working security for a “well-known rapper in the back seat” and that there were, in fact, guns inside the SUV, Konetzki stated.

Herbert Wright, known better as rapper G Herbo, and two companions were found not guilty of possessing firearms inside an SUV near the Magnificent Mile. (@gherbo)

The police found two guns in the center console, another in a backpack in the rear cargo area, and a fourth inside a backpack on the front passenger floorboard near Davis, according to Konetzki.

After arresting the men, CPD officers tried to use a device to test the legality of its window tint darkness, but they could not get a reading because the ballistic glass was too thick, one of the arrest reports said.

Prosecutors rejected felony charges against Wright, Smith, and Linares, so police filed misdemeanor counts against the men.

“My appreciation for law enforcement has gotten greater dealing with this stuff on the street that you deal with,” Judge Panarese remarked before making his findings.

He explained that he believed the police saw movement in the car and possibly a bag being placed in the area where a gun was found.

“But, there were numerous bags in the back,” Panarese continued, according to a transcript of the proceeding. “So, it might have been Mr. Linares. It might have been Mr. Wright. We can’t determine which one. There is a finding of not guilty for both of those individuals.”

The judge recalled that Smith “took ownership of all these weapons,” but pointed out that Smith is from Florida.

“There is an exception for a non-resident. He can pass through or go through the State” with weapons, Panarese explained. 

According to Smith’s arrest report, the SUV he was driving received “multiple” parking tickets in Chicago on July 6 and June 24 last year and in November 2022, indicating that the vehicle was not “passing through” the city. Some of the reports said the men had just been shopping at Zara on the Mag Mile.

This story is made possible by contributions to the Cook County Courtroom Transparency Fund.

“I don’t know if they were here before or that vehicle was here before in November, in June; but, Mr. Smith appears to be an intelligent man,” Panarese observed. “There is a finding of not guilty on all charges.”

The judge did, however, order the destruction of all four firearms.

“Gentlemen, you are all found not guilty. You are all dismissed. Thank you, Officer,” Panarese concluded.

Davis, the front-seat passenger, is due in court again on April 4.

Just 19 days after the men were arrested, Wright pleaded guilty in Boston to federal charges of wire fraud and making a false statement to a federal officer.

“Mr. Wright used stolen account information as his very own unlimited funding source, using victims’ payment cards to finance an extravagant lifestyle and advance his career,” the District of Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

“Mr. Wright’s conduct affected countless businesses and individuals across the United States who had to foot his nearly $140,000 bill in unauthorized transactions. Mr. Wright flaunted his lavish spending on social media, in music videos and in industry news.”

A federal judge sentenced him to three years of probation in January.

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About Tim Hecke 378 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com