Robert Kelly, 52, was taken into custody by New York police detectives and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement sources said.
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that separate federal indictments were filed against Kelly in Chicago and Brooklyn. The arrest was first reported by NBC New York.
Kelly was arrested when he stepped outside to walk a dog and smoke a cigarette, a law enforcement official said.
He faces a 13-count indictment out of federal court in Chicago and five additional charges out of New York, according to court documents. The charges include racketeering, forced labor and sexually exploiting children.
Kelly engaged in “sexual activity with girls under 18 years old, engaging in and facilitating sexual activity without disclosing a sexually transmitted disease Kelly had contracted and producing child pornography,” according to the New York indictment.
Kelly is expected to appear in federal courtroom in Chicago on Friday afternoon.
A bail hearing for Kelly is expected to be held early next week, according to a statement Friday by the singer’s defense lawyer, Steve Greenberg.
Greenberg said the new federal charges stem from “decades-old” allegations that “he was acquitted of” previously. The attorney didn’t elaborate.
Kelly just wants to make “wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him,” according to Greenberg.
Homeland Security’s investigations division and New York police declined to comment. Calls to the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, New York, weren’t immediately returned.