A jury has found Raphy Pina Nieves guilty of illegal possession of weapons in Puerto Rico, Billboard has learned. The jury, composed of seven women and five men, began deliberating around 1 p.m. local time Wednesday (Dec. 22), six days after hearing witnesses and evidence presented by both legal teams at the U.S. Federal Court building in San Juan.
Pina was found guilty on both charges: one for possession of an automatic weapon and for possession of firearms by a person who was convicted of a felony. He will be sentenced by Judge Francisco Besosa on April 1 and could face up to 20 years in prison. Until then, Pina will remain under house arrest and will wear an ankle monitor, according to reports by El Nuevo Día.
Pina, Natti Natasha‘s partner and manager, was accompanied by the “Sin Pijama” singer and the rest of his family, including his three older children. Daddy Yankee, also managed by the 43-year-old producer and executive, was at the federal courthouse in support of his longtime manager.
“We respect the jury’s decision but we are not in agreement,” Yankee told the media during an interview as he was leaving the courthouse. “At this moment, Pina is going through a very difficult process but he is calm and seems happy that he can at least spend New Year’s with his family, and that’s the most important thing. We get to spend the holidays with him and we’re happy about that.”
Pina was indicted back in August, where legal documents outlined that, “on or about April 1, 2020, Pina-Nieves, who’s considered a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing or carrying firearms because of restrictions of a prior conviction, knowingly possessed one Glock pistol, Model 19, 9mm caliber, which was was modified to automatic, one Smith & Wesson, Model SD40, .40 caliber, and 526 total rounds of live ammunition for handguns, rifles, and shotguns.”
The FBI and the IRS, Criminal Investigation, were in charge of the investigation. Following the indictment, Pina traveled from Miami to Puerto Rico, where he surrendered to federal authorities. He then attended an initial virtual arraignment hearing before Judge Camille Vélez Rivé, where he pleaded not guilty to federal charges for possessing two firearms.
On the eve of his Wednesday court date, Pina — who founded Pina Records in 1996 — took to social media to tell his millions of followers that he had faith. “It has not been an easy process but believe me that because of the people in these photos, I’m willing to face all the consequences. I have faith and I know God knows my heart, my dedication and position. I will always be thankful to those who have supported me during this process,” he captioned a post with photos of all his four children and Natasha.
In 2016, Pina was federally convicted on charges of fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $150,000 fine.