Tekashi 6ix9ine arrested on racketeering, firearm charges
Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine has been denied bail after a judge deemed him a likely danger to the community. A prosecutor argued there was evidence that he directed or participated in multiple acts of violence as part of a deadly gang.
The rapper, whose legal name is Daniel Hernandez, and five others, including his former manager, Kifano (Shotti) Jordan, were arrested on racketeering and firearms charges on Sunday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman concluded an hour-long hearing by citing “troubling” corroborating evidence offered by a prosecutor to show that the 22-year-old rapper directed or participated in multiple acts of violence over the last eight months.
Assistant U.S. attorney Michael Longyear said a backpack stolen during a gunpoint robbery in April was found during a raid at 6ix9ine’s Brooklyn residence, along with an automatic pistol.
“The defendant is quite violent,” the prosecutor said of a man whose debut album, Day 69, was among the most downloaded records on iTunes.
Longyear said 6ix9ine was captured on surveillance video as he sat in a car and filmed the scene in Times Square when his co-defendants carried out a violent robbery against a rival gang member.
“[Hernandez] is a member of a violent sect of the Bloods,” said Longyear at the arraignment. “This defendant participated in multiple acts of violence.”
The prosecutor said he was also part of a video boasting about shots recently fired by a co-defendant in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
Longyear also said the Fefe rapper was a threat to flee because of his worldwide connections, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and the knowledge that a conviction would bring a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years in prison and as much as life.
Pitman ordered 6ix9ine held until a Tuesday bail hearing, saying he was concerned about the danger to the community, particularly because the rapper could direct others to carry out acts of violence.
He was among five people charged, including Shotti, Jensel (Ish) Butler, Jamel (Mel Murda) Jones and Faheem (Crippy) Walter, in an indictment containing racketeering and firearms charges. The indictment alleged that he participated in the July shooting of a bystander in Brooklyn and the gunpoint robbery of one of his gang’s rivals last spring.
His lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, said 6ix9nine posed no threat and denies directing or playing any other role in violence.
Lazzaro says the Bebe rapper had fired some of his co-defendants as part of his management and security team last week and was offered protection by federal agents on Saturday after some of them were overheard on wiretaps threatening his life.
Lazzaro advocated for bail for his client under the condition that he surrender his passport, pay over US$1 million for bail and be placed under house arrest. Bail was denied by the judge, and 6ix9ine was kept in custody.
The judge said that the rapper may still be a danger to the community even if Lazzaro’s bail conditions were met. 6ix9ine’s legal team plans to appeal that decision.
According to the prosecution, the charges are the result of a five-year federal investigation.
6ix9ine refused protection and was arrested on Sunday.
Two of the firearms charges that 6ix9ine is facing have a maximum sentence of life behind bars.
The court documents claim that 6ix9ine, Shotti and two other members of the entourage robbed unknown rivals at gunpoint “for the purpose of gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing position in Nine.”
6ix9ine has been one of the most controversial and popular names in hip-hop in recent months. His album Day69: Graduation Day was among the top records on iTunes following its February release.
He is also known for the multiplatinum hit Fefe with Nicki Minaj, which peaked at No. 3 on the pop charts, and Stoopid, featuring the incarcerated rapper Bobby Shmurda.
But 6ix9ine also has had a series of run-ins with law enforcement and has publicly identified himself as a member of a violent New York gang, 9 Trey Bloods — also known as Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods — which was mentioned throughout the indictment.
Prosecutors said the gang carried out acts of murder, robbery and narcotics trafficking in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn since at least 2013.
The indictment said each gang member was required to participate in at least two acts of racketeering conspiracy. Those acts could include murder, robbery, extortion and drug distribution, the court papers said.
6ix9ine cancelled all U.S. tour dates and publicly fired his management and the rest of his team last week, saying in an Instagram video that they had all been stealing from him.
(Warning: The video below contains explicit language.)
WATCH IT ALL CRUMBLE @elpelonavila rescheduling for Austin ?? DMV everything ????
A post shared by NOVEMBER 23RD (@6ix9ine) on
He expanded on the situation in an interview with Power 105’s the Breakfast Club on Friday.
“There’s so much money out here to be stolen,” he explained. “A lot of people think I’m on cocaine now, buggin’ and they like, ‘Yo you just paranoid.’ But I know.”
He continued: “My rate right now for shows is $100,000. Nothing under $100,000. So they’re like we got these 15 days for you. These dirty a** booking agents are like, ‘Yo, we have $60,000 for this that and the third, right? I’m like, ‘Yo, why so low? Why is it 60K?’ ‘Listen Tekashi, we’re cleaning up your name right now. These venues are scared of you.’ Because right now as we all know these venues are afraid of me. They don’t want nothing to do with me. ”
“They’re like, ‘Yo, this kid is a loose cannon.’ I don’t care. It’s not stopping my money because I still get booked. Live Nation has their venues,” 6ix9ine said. “There’s other venues. You’re not going to stop me. I’m gonna get away with everything I wanna get away with. So these dirty promoters, this is MTA Booking, they dirty. Most of the money is going to security and the local police because they don’t want you there, so we have to pay them.”
The Keke rapper went on to explain how he accepted $60,000 per show, when he typically wouldn’t book for less than $100,000.
When he tried cancelling a show with one venue, he says he learned that his promoters had been skimming money and that he should have been receiving $180,000 for the show, not $60,000.
He accused his team of skimming $120,000 from a 3.6 million concert appearance deal.
(WARNING: This interview contains explicit language.)
He also claimed that the booking agents gave the promoters his mother’s address and told them to “go do something to his mother” if 6ix9ine didn’t show up to perform.
The Gummo rapper recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Brooklyn Criminal Court in connection with a May traffic stop.
In a 2015 case in New York, 6ix9ine was sentenced to probation for his involvement in a sexually explicit video of a 13-year-old girl. At the time of the incident, 6ix9ine was 18.
The video, posted on social media, showed the girl performing a sex act on another man while 6ix9ine “stands behind the child making a thrusting motion with his pelvis and smacking her on her buttocks,” according to court documents.
He is not registered as a sex offender, but he was told that he must refrain from gang affiliation and the posting and reporting of online sexually explicit or violent images of women or children
Earlier this month, shots were fired on the set of 6ix9ine’s and Kanye West’s upcoming music video in Beverly Hills.
According to police, there were no injuries and the investigation is ongoing, but they could not confirm the names of anyone involved in the incident.
—With files from the Associated Press
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