Raphy Pina is sentenced to 41 months in prison for federal weapons law violations

Music producer and promoter Raphy Pina Nievestwice federal convict, He was sentenced on Tuesday to 41 months in prison for violations of the federal weapons law.

The sentence was handed down by the federal judge Francis Kiss in a hearing that had been changed five times, including so that the also owner of the record label Pina Records attended the graduation of his youngest son. Pina Nieves must also pay a penalty of $150,000. Upon his release from prison, he is subject to a 3-year probation. All of his properties are subject to search on suspicion of criminal acts.

Pina went to Judge Besosa’s room accompanied by his partner, the singer Natalia Gutiérrez, better known as Natti Natasha, and the producer’s three eldest children: Mía, Rafael and Antonio. About 22 relatives and close friends also arrived at the court, including the urban artist and partner of Pina Nieves, Daddy Yankee.

“Today I face the most difficult situation that a human being can face: losing my freedom,” Pina said in front of Judge Besosa minutes before hearing his sentence. The producer asked the magistrate to allow him to return to his house to “see his daughter walk”.

The producer withheld the details of the case due to the appeal process, but in his message in court he recalled the previous case of bank fraud to which he pleaded guilty, arguing that it took him eight years to recover his reputation. “I tarnished my father’s legacy,” Pina acknowledged, crying before the judge.

Besosa had before him a report presented by the United States Probation Office that included an estimate of 33 to 41 months in prison. While, prosecutors presented arguments to “recommend a sentence within the variant sentencing range of 46 to 50 months in prison.”

The judge will allow Pina to voluntarily surrender today before 3:00 pm to the bailiffs. Besosa denied Pina’s request to be released on bail during his conviction appeal process.

Nevertheless, Pina Nieves’ lawyers submitted a sentence statement last Thursday in which they requested a sentence of probation for understanding that their client “has much to offer Puerto Rico during these difficult times,” both as a father, businessman and “philanthropist.” .

The hearing officially started at 9:55 am Judge Besosa called Pina and his lawyer, María Domínguez, to say a few words before being sentenced. Domínguez asked everyone who accompanied him to stand up, including the producer’s fiancee, Natti Natasha.

The defense attorney stated that Pina’s criminal history is unrelated to the case and that he did not need to be sentenced in excess of what the guidelines establish. She further recalled that the evidence did not find that she was in physical possession of the weapons.

In that sense, he argued that the charges for which his client was found guilty do not represent a danger to the community, for which he emphasized the defense’s recommendation not to put Pina Nieves in prison, but rather to impose a probation or to serve under house arrest.

Meanwhile, Besosa allowed Susana Pina Gómez, aunt of the convicted producer, to speak in the room.

“Raphy is not a danger to our society, he is not a criminal or a drug trafficker, much less a tax evader as he has been made to see,” his aunt explained to the federal judge.

“I want to end with the request to you, judge, that your children, Mía, Alberto and Antonio have made to me… They ask you to allow them the opportunity to continue sharing with their father what they need so much and to be able to spend a happy Father’s Day.” parents,” he added.

For his part, the prosecutor José Ruiz recalled that for the Daddy Yankee concert, in 2019, there was a shooting as well as at Pina’s office. “They have told him that he is a simple producer, but obviously someone was sending a message… I don’t think that the bullets to the Choliseo (Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum) were part of the show “he pointed out, while recalling that they found 526 bullets of ten different calibers in the residence owned by the artist manager.

“The guidelines are inadequate to reflect the seriousness of the crime,” stressed the prosecutor, who added that the convict has not shown repentance, something that, in his opinion, should be taken into consideration for the sentence.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Besosa acknowledged that the sentencing guidelines do not take into consideration the amount of ammunition, as recognized by the First Circuit in Boston and according to the federal prosecutor’s office. This “increases the lethality of firearms,” ​​he read in the room, noting that the weapons were acquired on the illegal market, years after his previous conviction for bank fraud (2016) and after swearing that he would not commit acts again. illegal.

He also pointed out that he also considered violence by firearms in Puerto Rico when establishing the sentence, something that has been shown to influence preventing that violence.

Upon arrival at court and questions from the media, Pina was calm, although he accepted that the process has been “difficult.”

“I have to face justice with my head held high and positive… At the time, they will understand everything since I have everything documented,” he said, adding that he tries to stay strong for his family. He once again thanked his friend and “his family shield”, Daddy Yankee.

“What better than having the support of a person so disciplined and respected that the people have loved her since this genre began,” he added about the urban exponent.

Minutes before, Yankee expressed his support for his friend and was heard hopeful that they would celebrate the end of the year parties at the producer’s house. Meanwhile, Mireddys González, wife of reggaeton, arrived minutes before. “I am here in support of the Pina Gutiérrez family. I stand by what I have said before Pina is a great father, a family man, and a good friend,” she maintained.

Pina’s parent, Kathy Nieves, was not at the hearing. In her representation, she attended Elaine Nieves, her mother’s cousin.

case background

A jury of seven women and five men declared guilty on December 22 the also manager of urban music artists for violations of the federal weapons law.

Exactly, he was facing two counts of possession of a firearm illegally modified to fire automatically and possession of firearms by a person who was convicted of a felony.

This because Pina Nieves pleaded guilty to bank fraud in 2015 and was sentenced to two years of supervised release in January 2016.

The weapons in this case were seized during an FBI raid on April 1, 2020 at a Pina Nieves residence in the Caguas Real urbanization of this municipality. Four days later, the FBI also raided a gas station owned by Pina Nieves called Rogelio’s, located on Bairoa Avenue, in Caguas.

The defense raised in the final arguments that the weapons could have been placed in the house by another person, since in the trial they presented evidence that Pina Nieves was not the only one with access to the house or to the vault where the weapons were kept. .

The FBI raids occurred almost three months after a shooting attack on a studio owned by the music executive located in Caguas and occurred on the morning of Sunday, December 8, 2019. That same day, but at dawn, she was also shot the facade of the Puerto Rico Coliseum, where Daddy Yankee, international artist and partner of Pina Nieves, presented a concert as part of a string of more than 10 performances at the venue located in Hato Rey.

Since he was found guilty last December, Pina Nieves has been under house arrest and in a shackle. He could only leave his house for work-related matters and to meet with his lawyers. In addition, he had to request permission from the court to leave his home for any other purpose.

That was the case on her daughter’s first birthday with Natti Natasha, isabella lifewhich was held last Sunday.

Although Pina Nieves had requested to be away from her residence on May 22 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., the judge only approved that she attend five hours: from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In addition, he warned him that he could not use his daughter’s party to say goodbye to his family and friends before he was sentenced.

“A child’s birthday party is not the occasion to say goodbye to their friends and family before a prison term that could be imposed when they are sentenced.”, the magistrate wrote in the order.

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