On Wednesday, rapper and Instagram star Tekashi69 was sentenced to two years in prison by a federal judge. The judge did give the rapper credit for sending several of his former Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods to prison.
Tekashi69, otherwise known as Daniel Hernandez, spent 13 months in federal jail, and that time will count towards his sentence. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan described to the New York Times as “extraordinary” and extremely useful.” However, the federal judge, Paul A. Engelmayer, reported the conduct described by Tekashi69 as “too violent” to justify an immediate release from police custody.
Tekashi69 will get out soon, but it begs the question – what will happen to Daniel Hernandez? Prosectors report he is at risk of being killed because the Nine Trey Gang may want to get revenge. Mr. Hernandez says upon his release that he is not interested in getting into the federal witness protection program. In fact, in a letter, he told the court he plans to keep performing after getting released.
Tekashi69 was arrested in November 2018 after spending years flashing his gangster lifestyle on social media and building a public persona of a hustler and gang leader. With his famous face tattoos and brightly colored hair, Mr. Hernandez became viral after live streaming to millions of his fans with money and guns. He would often engage in quarrels on Instagram and taunted the police on social media.
But Tekashi69’s lifestyle came to an end when he was arrested on firearms and racketeering charges, which carried a sentence of at least 47 years if he were convicted of the crimes mentioned above. It did not take a lot of time for Tekashi69 to snitch on the Nine Trey gang. Within 24 hours, Daniel Hernandez made a deal with the government, agreeing to plead guilty and testify against two co-defendants.
“I was weak. I was easily influenced. I can’t believe that was me,” Tekashi69 said while crying at the sentencing hearing. “There is no apology good enough.”
During his sentencing hearing, he explained to the judge he had just seen his biological father in the courtroom for the first time since third grade. His biological father would attempt to make a statement, but Judge Engelmayer refused.
Tekashi69’s decision to become a snitch was a major surprise for a career that imitated the street life mentality, where becoming a witness against your fellow gang members is immoral. He testified in a federal courtroom in Manhattan and laid out the details of the Nine Trey gang for a jury, which later convicted two of his co-defendants.
“Hernandez provided the government with critical insight into the structure and organization of the gang,” the government addressed to Judge Engelmayer last week, seeking mercy on Mr. Hernandez’s side.
Due to Hernandez’s decision to testify, many other gang members charged in the case decided to plead guilty as well.
“The weight of the evidence, coupled with the knowledge that Hernandez was ready, willing and able to testify to describe the acts of violence and how they were related to Nine Trey were significant factors in the co-defendants’ decisions to plead guilty,” prosecutors wrote.
Tekashi69 apologized for his conduct, saying, “I still consider myself a role model to millions of people as an artist, a celebrity, and as a human being. I’m happy that the public was able to witness me dealing with the consequences of my actions because I feel like it sheds light on what can come from gang affiliation.”