Four of Hernandez’ associates — ex-manager Kifano “Shottie” Jordan, Faheem “Crippy” Walter, Jensel “Ish” Butler and Jamel “Mel Murda” Jones — were also arrested by the ATF on Sunday night and Monday morning and are facing many of the same charges as Hernandez, as well as drug charges stemming from the sale of heroin, fentanyl, MDMA and marijuana, prosecutors said.
According to the prosecution, the charges are the result of a five-year federal investigation. Lazzaro contended that Hernandez has only been affiliated with the associates and, by extension, their gang for a little over one year, when he met them at a concert and subsequently hired them as his manager and security detail. Hernandez publicly fired his management and the rest of his team late last week, alleging in an Instagram video that they had been stealing from him. He subsequently gave an interview with New York radio station Power 105’s the Breakfast Club on Friday to expand on his situation.
The armed robbery charge, which was never prosecuted, took place in Times Square this April; prosecutors said that the rapper’s four associates robbed a rival gang at gunpoint while Hernandez waited in the vehicle and alleged he filmed the robbery. When his home was searched in September, investigators found the stolen items from that April robbery. The prosecution didn’t offer further details.
Hernandez is also being charged with possession of an AR-15, and involvement in two additional shootings: One at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center where he was performing and another in which he allegedly ordered the shooting of a bystander at a Brooklyn housing project. The latter comes with a conspiracy to commit murder charge. The robbery charge comes with a 7-year minimum sentence, and the collected racketeering charges, which stem from the litany of alleged activities with gang members, comes with a minimum of 25 years.
“Members and associates of the Enterprise promoted and celebrated the criminal conduct of the Enterprise, namely narcotics distribution, acts involving violence, and the use of firearms, in music and on social media,” prosecutors said. “The purposes of the Enterprise included preserving and protecting the power, territory, and profits of the Enterprise through acts involving murder… and threats of violence.”
Following his public separation from his gang-affiliated associates last week, Hernandez was taken into protective federal custody on Saturday, prior to his Sunday arrest. According to prosecutors at his arraignment, there were wiretaps involved in the federal investigation and, following Hernandez’ public statements regarding his management team, they discovered credible threats against his life as the other subjects of the investigation were planning to “violate” Hernandez in retaliation; Hernandez declined law enforcement’s protection. After authorities learned of the rapper’s plan to go to a Connecticut casino Sunday, he was arrested to avoid further incident. “There could [have been] a random shooting,” Longyear said.
The charges against Hernandez are significant, and his arrest is a violation of the probation set last month at his sentencing hearing for his ongoing case for the use of a minor in a sexual performance. The judge in that case sentenced him to a four-year probation, under which two of the conditions were that he not get arrested for the period of said probation, and refrain from associating with any known gang members. In addition to his arrest, the prosecution claims that hours after his sentencing was concluded Hernandez was back with his Blood-affiliated team, leading to a shooting outside New York restaurant Philipe Chow between his associates and a member of the security team of his label head. The violation of his probation could also lead to four years in prison.