There’s a saying: “He who rises high, falls far.” And for rapper Tekashi69, the fall looks to be very far indeed.
At only 22 years old, Daniel Hernandez (a.k.a. “Tekashi69” or “6ix9ine”) had a brutal childhood followed by an explosive rise to fame – and repeated troubles with the law. His first brush with the criminal justice system as an adult came in 2015, when the then-19-year-old pled guilty to a sex offense involving a 13-year-old. He was placed on probation as part of the plea deal.
Then last month, just before the release of his first full-length album, Hernandez was arrested along with several other individuals for their alleged involvement in the Nine Trey Gangsta street gang, a sect of the Bloods. Hernandez faces six federal felony counts for racketeering, illegal use of a firearm, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit murder.
The last count alleges that Hernandez ordered a hit on someone who disrespected the gang, resulting in a bystander getting shot. The charges stem from a years-long investigation by the NYPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Department of Homeland Security.
His prison stay could be permanent
If convicted, Hernandez faces a minimum of 32 years in prison. A life sentence is also on the table.
Sentencing is still a long way off, however. The rapper is currently in federal prison awaiting trial. He was denied bail, which means he faces nearly a year behind bars before trial, set for September 2019.
Federal prosecutors have obtained a protective order to prevent evidence from public disclosure, which means it’s difficult to speculate on Hernandez’s outlook. TMZ reports that prosecutors have photos showing Hernandez’s involvement. The rapper’s own social media posts – including a video of him ordering a hit as well as references to the gang – may also play a key role against him.
His defense attorney has hinted that Hernandez’s alleged gang involvement was merely for show, part of a bad-boy image he strived to cultivate. Yet the attorney also acknowledged that Hernandez had close associations with gang members. One served as his manager, and others were on his security detail.
Meanwhile, Hernandez’s debut album, Dummy Boy, hit No. 2 on the charts and remains in the top 10. It’s likely a small consolation for a career cut short.