The 23-year-old rapper appeared in federal court in New York on Wednesday, with Judge Paul A. Engelmayer sentencing Tekashi — né Daniel Hernandez — to 24 months in prison (with credit for 13 months served), five years of supervised release, 300 hours of community service and a $35,000 fine, according to multiple outlets. Although the judge called Tekashi’s testimony against his former fellow gang members “extremely useful,” Engelmayer ultimately found the rapper’s conduct “too violent” to set him free, the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Hernandez, if you expected to be released today, you will be disappointed. But you were wise to cooperate. Your cooperation will result in years more liberty,” Judge Engelmayar told the rapper according to Inner City Press, which was inside the courtroom. “The worst part is over. There is a great deal to be admired about you. You’ve learned a hard lesson here. I wish you very very well.”
Ahead of his sentencing, the rapper wrote a letter to Judge Engelmayer apologizing for crimes involving his former gang, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.
“There is no excuse, no justification and no apology good enough in this world to explain my crimes. While I have been incarcerated, I have had time to reflect on the recklessness and foolishness of my decisions. I wake up every morning asking myself was it worth it?” he wrote, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.
“I realize that I placed myself in this position with the choices that I made. I know that I am not a victim because my actions contributed to this mess,” he continued. “I’m sorry to the victims who were affected by my actions, to my fans who look up to me and were misled, to my family who depends on me and to this courtroom for this mess that I contributed to.”
The rapper, known for his album Day69: Graduation Day and hit “Fefe” with Nicki Minaj, took a plea deal on Jan. 23 and plead guilty to nine felony charges, Page Six previously reported in February, when the court documents were unsealed.
As part of his plea, Tekashi admitted to joining the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang in the fall 2017, and hiring a fellow gang member to “shoot at” rap rival Chief Keef in June 2018, in order to “maintain or increase my own standing in Nine Trey,” according to documents cited by TMZ.
He went on to admit to robbing a rival at gunpoint with other gang members in April 2018, to helping attempt to kill another rival in March 2018, and to selling a kilo of heroin in 2017, Page Six reported.
According to the outlet, Tekashi also pled guilty to further federal felonies including racketeering conspiracy, firearms charges, narcotics trafficking, and violent crimes in aid of racketeering. He was previously indicted for six felony charges in November 2018.
The day before Tekashi’s court records were unsealed in February, three additional men were implicated in the attempted shooting of the rapper’s rival Chief Keef, Page Six reported.
His charges carried a minimum sentence of 47 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life in prison, the New York Times reported at the time, going on to report in December that federal prosecutors asked the judge for more lenient sentencing in light of the rapper’s “extraordinary” cooperation.
RELATED: Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine Denied Bail, Faces Life in Prison on Racketeering and Firearm Charges
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has labeled the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods “a violent New York City gang.”
“Nine Trey was a criminal enterprise involved in committing numerous acts of violence, including shootings, robberies, and assaults in and around Manhattan and Brooklyn,” they said in a previous statement. “Members and associates of Nine Trey engaged in violence to retaliate against rival gangs, to promote the standing and reputation of Nine Trey, and to protect the gang’s narcotics business. Members and associates of Nine Trey enriched themselves by committing robberies and selling drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, furanyl fentanyl, MDMA, dibutylone, and marijuana.”
Tekashi was previously sentenced to four years probation and 1,000 hours of community service in October 2018 for a prior arrest over his involvement in a child sex case.