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Singer El DeBarge arrested in Encino on suspicion of drug possession

March 21, 2012 | 10:35 am

El DeBarge

Grammy-winning singer El DeBarge, who has struggled with substance abuse, was arrested in Encino on suspicion of drug possession with intent to sell, department officials said Wednesday.

Undercover narcotics officers were conducting an investigation near White Oak Avenue and the 101 Freeway early Monday when they spotted the singer and another man acting suspiciously, said LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman.

Officers recovered narcotics from an area where DeBarge had been standing, Eisenman said.

El DeBarge, best known for the Grammy-winning song "Rhythm of the Night" in the mid-1980s as part of his family's group DeBarge, was booked on suspicion of possession for sale of drugs.

The other man, Curtis Freeman, was arrested on suspicion of attempted drug possession.

DeBarge attorney Spencer Vodnoy said he was skeptical about the initial booking charge of possession for sale given his client's struggle with drug use.

"The DeBarge family is very close knit and have had their struggles with substance abuse," Vodnoy said. "They will do what they always have done, which is to support their sibling through this."


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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: El DeBarge arrives at the Staples Center for the 54th Grammy Awards in February. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP/Getty Images