Tekashi 6ix9ine pleads not guilty to racketeering, firearm charges

NEW YORK — Brooklyn rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine pled not guilty to racketeering and firearm charges in court Monday, according to U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Rapper Tekashi69, born Daniel Hernandez, arrives for his arraignment on assault charges in County Criminal Court #1 at the Harris County Courthouse on Aug. 22, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old rapper, whose birth name is Daniel Hernandez, was arrested earlier this month and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 32 years in prison and as much as life.

He was deemed a likely danger to the community and denied bail after his arrest.

A prosecutor said at the time there was evidence Hernandez directed or participated in multiple acts of violence as part of the deadly New York gang 9 Trey Bloods, and was a flight fist because of his worldwide connections and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash.

Hernandez is set to face a  pretrial conference on Jan. 22, 2019.

Despite numerous controversies, Hernandez has become a dominant figure in hip-hop, with his album Day69: Graduation Day becoming one of the top records on iTunes following its February release. He has also worked with rappers Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, who were set to film a music video with him in California when several shots were fired near the set.

Last month, Hernandez was sentenced to four years probation for using a child in a sexual performance. He pled guilty after online videos surfaced of him sexually engaging with an underage girl in 2015.

Hernandez was seen touching and fondling the minor’s body parts, and standing behind her while “making a thrusting motion with his pelvis and smacking her on the buttocks,” according to a complaint filed with the criminal court of New York.

At the time of the incident, Hernandez was 18 years old. The minor was 13.

Hernandez originally faced one to three years behind bars. In addition to his probation, the rapper will have to complete 1,000 hours in community service.

Hernandez was previously arrested in July on a Texas warrant for allegedly choking a 16-year-old.

As a minor, Hernandez served time for selling heroin and assaulting the owner of a bodega, the music website genius.com reported last year.

According to NYS courts, if convicted on racketeering charges, the rapper faces a fine up to $25,000 and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.