Raphy Pina, Puerto Rican urban music producer and manager of singer Daddy Yankee, was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in prison for illegal possession of firearms. Judge Francisco Besosa of the Federal Court of San Juan issued that sentence against Pina, who assured that he did not expect that ruling, although he did expect “a good punishment.”
Pina will have to add to that period in prison 3 years and 5 more months on supervised release and pay a fine of $150,000. Besosa also told the producer that he had until 3:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT) on Tuesday to turn himself in to US federal authorities.
Pina was facing two counts of possession of a firearm illegally modified to fire automatically and possession of firearms by a person convicted of a felony.
For this reason, he was found guilty in December, although he had to wait until today for the reading of the sentence, which was delayed on several occasions. The discovery of the weapons occurred in April 2020, when FBI agents in Puerto Rico searched an unoccupied house belonging to the artist manager, in Caguas, a municipality neighboring San Juan.
According to the authorities, Pina kept a 9mm Glock 19 pistol in a bedroom, which was modified, a Smith & Wesson .40, as well as 526 ammunition of different calibers.
Upon leaving the court, Pina — 43 years old and president of the Pina Records label — said that he would turn himself in at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, a municipality near San Juan.
“Always in my mind I knew that I was going to be punished. I didn’t expect jail, but I did expect a good punishment.” The Puerto Rican businessman said this Tuesday, on a date —May 24— that coincided with the death of his father of the same name, 22 years ago.
The producer, who came to the court accompanied by his wife, Puerto Rican urban singer Natti Natasha, and their teenage children, asserted that he is a person who does not give up and that is why he will appeal the sentence.
Regarding the period of three additional 3 and 5 months of supervised release that Besosa added, the press asked him if it was fair, to which he replied: “You have to ask him that.”
Prior to the reading of the sentence, Pina read a message before the judge and the rest of the people who attended the hearing, including the well-known Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee and his wife, Mireddys González.
“Today I face the most difficult situation that a citizen can face, losing freedom,” Pina expressed before the judge. “Today, before you, I want to ask you with great respect to allow me to return to my family,” requested in his message the producer, father of four children, including his youngest daughter, Vida, one year old.
After the sentence, Pina’s legal team, of which the lawyer María Domínguez is a part, asked Judge Besosa that his client remain free while he appealed the case, which was denied.
“We have to continue. It’s another ’round’ —assault— for my family, for me, for my friends, my business. I say it publicly: this business is not drug trafficking, this business is not money laundering”assured.
In that sense, he told the press that the authorities have been investigating him since 2018 for drug trafficking and money laundering, criminal matters that he denied are related to the reggaeton industry.
“Today I am standing here, and I say it publicly: (this is) for being a reggaeton producer. It’s not for anything else. They couldn’t prove anything.” he assured the media while around thirty people waited outside the court.
“They wanted to paint as if reggaeton is from the underworld. When will they finish with that theory? Today I’m going to prison, but I’m going to come back, I’m going to fight for my rights.” assured.
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