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Sean 'Diddy' Combs' L.A., Miami homes raided in sex-trafficking inquiry, sources say

A law enforcement agent carries a bag of evidence to a van as federal agents stand at the entrance to a property belonging to rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs, Monday, March 25, 2024, on Star Island in Miami Beach, Fla. Two properties belonging to Combs in Los Angeles and Miami were searched Monday by federal Homeland Security Investigations agents and other law enforcement as part of an ongoing sex trafficking investigation by federal authorities in New York, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Law enforcement agents at the home of Sean "Diddy" Combs in Miami Beach, Fla., on Monday. (Rebecca Blackwell / Associated Press)

Homeland Security agents conducted searches of Holmby Hills and Miami mansions owned by Sean "Diddy" Combs on Monday as part of a federal inquiry into sex trafficking allegations involving the hip-hop and liquor mogul, law enforcement sources said.

The 17,000-square-foot mansion where Combs debuted his last album a year ago was flooded with Homeland Security Investigations agents, who served a search warrant and gathered evidence on behalf of an investigation being run by the prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, according to law enforcement officials familiar with the inquiry.

"Earlier today, Homeland Security Investigations New York executed law enforcement actions as part of an ongoing investigation, with assistance from HSI Los Angeles, HSI Miami, and our local law enforcement partners. We will provide further information as it becomes available," an HSI spokesman said in a statement.

Sean "Diddy" Combs, wearing a white suit, stands outside a music industry event.
Sean "Diddy" Combs arrives at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in 2022. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/AP)

Two of Combs' sons were briefly detained on the Holmby Hills property as agents searched the mansion in footage captured by FOX11 Los Angeles.

Read more: Behind the calamitous fall of hip-hop mogul Sean 'Diddy' Combs

Shawn Holley, an attorney for Combs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A hip-hop star turned entrepreneur, Combs has become the focus of sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations in the last year. The raid is the latest and most serious threat to his gilded lifestyle.

Four female plaintiffs have filed civil lawsuits against Combs accusing him of rape, sex trafficking a minor, assault and a litany of other alleged abuses, imperiling his empire and sending shock waves through the music industry.

Read more: Sean 'Diddy' Combs sexual harassment suit includes notable music industry names

Combs, 54, amassed his fortune first as a hip-hop producer, artist and founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, the label that launched the career of the late Notorious B.I.G., among others. He later added lucrative fashion companies to his ventures, most notably Sean John. He also previously partnered with Cîroc vodka owner Diageo on brand marketing for the liquor.

His former girlfriend Casandra Ventura, the singer known as Cassie, accused him of rape and repeated physical assaults, and said he forced her to have sex with male prostitutes in front of him. Joi Dickerson-Neal accused Combs in a suit of drugging and raping her in 1991, recording the attack and then distributing the footage without her consent.

Liza Gardner filed a third suit in which she claimed Combs and Guy singer Aaron Hall sexually assaulted her. Hall could not be reached for comment.

Another lawsuit alleges Combs and former Bad Boy label president Harve Pierre gang-raped and sex-trafficked a 17-year-old girl. Pierre said in a statement the allegations were "disgusting," "false" and a "desperate attempt for financial gain."

Read more: Diddy's 'Love' producer Lil Rod accuses him and associates of sexual assault, illicit behavior

After the filing of the fourth suit, Combs wrote on Instagram, “Enough is enough. For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy. Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday. Let me be absolutely clear: I did not do any of the awful things being alleged. I will fight for my name, my family and for the truth."

A source familiar with HSI's criminal inquiry said investigators have interviewed some of the people tied to the sex-trafficking allegations in the lawsuits against Combs.

Combs' legal problems extend beyond the rape allegations. Last month, producer Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones filed a federal lawsuit against Combs accusing the embattled media mogul of sexually harassing and threatening him for more than a year.

Jones, whose lawsuit also named Diddy’s son Justin Dior Combs, alleged that he was “the victim of constant unsolicited and unauthorized groping and [sexual] touching" by the elder Combs and was “uncomfortable with Mr. Combs’ advances.” When he expressed his complaints to Diddy’s chief of staff, the lawsuit claims, he was told, “You know, Sean will be Sean.”

He also alleged that Combs tried to groom him into engaging in sex with a fellow producer. Jones further alleged that Combs provided him with footage of people involved in sexual activity at Combs’ home, which Jones believed was procured through hidden cameras throughout the properties.

“Mr. Combs possesses compromising footage of every person that has attended his freak-off parties, and his house parties,” the lawsuit alleged. “Upon information and belief, due to this treasure trove of evidence he has in his possession, Mr. Combs believes that he is above the law and is untouchable.” Holley, in the wake of the lawsuit, called the allegations untruthful.

On Monday, Douglas Wigdor, a lawyer for Cassie Ventura and another, unnamed plaintiff, said in response to reports of a search warrant issued on Combs: “We will always support law enforcement when it seeks to prosecute those that have violated the law. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a process that will hold Mr. Combs responsible for his depraved conduct.”

Read more: Diddy 'voluntarily dismisses' racial discrimination lawsuit against liquor giant Diageo

Combs has a long history of run-ins with the law. in 1999, Combs was charged with assaulting an Interscope Records executive and pleaded guilty to harassment.

Later that same year, after a shooting in a Manhattan nightclub where Combs was partying with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez and Bad Boy artist Shyne, Combs was charged with gun possession and bribery charges. He was acquitted, but Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree assault in the shooting.

In 2003, a former Bad Boy Entertainment president sued Combs, alleging that in 1996 his former partner threatened him — with a baseball bat in hand — into signing over his shares of the company. An appeals court dismissed the suit in 2006, ruling that the statute of limitations had expired.

Read more: Sean 'Diddy' Combs sexual harassment suit includes notable music industry names

In her lawsuit, Ventura alleges that Combs told her in 2012 he was going to blow up the car of rap artist Kid Cudi, suspecting that Ventura and Cudi were dating. The suit alleges, “Around that time, Kid Cudi’s car exploded in his driveway.” (Cudi told the New York Times through his publicist, “This is all true.”)

In 2015, Combs was arrested after allegedly attacking his son Justin’s UCLA football strength and conditioning coach with a kettlebell weight. He was never convicted of a crime in connection with that incident.

In a 2019 interview,  Gina Huynh, Combs' former girlfriend of five years, said that during one incident in Miami, he "stomped on my stomach really hard — like, took the wind out of my breath.... I couldn’t breathe. He kept hitting me. I was pleading to him, 'Can you just stop? I can’t breathe.'"

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.