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U.S. rapper Ja Rule released from prison after two years

Rapper Ja-Rule arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing in New York March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Rapper Ja-Rule arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing in New York March 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. rapper Ja Rule was released from prison on Tuesday after serving about two years on gun and tax evasion charges, a spokesman for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons said.

Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Atkins, was released from federal prison in Ray Brook, New York, and will be under house arrest until July 28, a spokesman for the "Always on Time" rapper said.

Ja Rule, 37, pleaded guilty in 2011 to failing to file tax returns over a five year period and attempted criminal possession of a weapon in 2010.

He was sentenced to 28 months in prison after failing to pay $1.1 million in taxes between 2004 and 2008, prosecutors said.

The rapper was also sentenced to two years in prison for possessing a semi-automatic handgun, which police found hidden in his car following a 2007 concert in New York.

He was able served both sentences concurrently.

Ja Rule scored No. 1 albums with 2000's "Rule 3:36" and 2001's "Pain Is Love," which also garnered a Grammy nomination.

The rapper is best known for his collaborations with Jennifer Lopez, "I'm Real" and "Ain't It Funny," which both topped the U.S. Billboard song chart in 2001.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Cynthia Osterman)

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