Artist manager and Pina Records owner Raphy Pina (real name: Rafael Antonio Pina-Nieves) is staying positive after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with firearms violations filed on Aug. 13 in the U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico.
“Starting a new chapter,” he expressed on Instagram. “A chapter that will make me stronger during tough challenges. I remain focused on what I have dedicated myself to since I was 16 years old: music.”
According to the indictment filed last week, “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.”
On Friday, Aug. 14, 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, El Nuevo Dia reports.
During the arraignment, Vélez Rivé imposed a $1 million bond and ordered that Pina’s passport be removed; he will have to request authorization to leave the country moving forward. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each count.
“I am not afraid of anything and I have nothing to hide in my life, no matter how much they want to judge me,” Pina, who founded Pina Records in 1996 and manages artists such as Natti Natasha and Daddy Yankee, said on the day of his indictment.
“This was a stop for a day but we are not going to quit,” he said in a later Instagram Live. “We are going to Miami to work on a Natti Natasha video that’s pending. We have a lot of music, several videos and collaborations,” he said, thanking his family, friends and colleagues — including Natasha, Yankee, and Ozuna — for their support. “This positive energy was missing.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, were in charge of the investigation.
In 2016, Pina-Nieves was federally convicted on charges of fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $150,000 fine.
Billboard has reached out to Pina’s legal representatives Maria Dominguez and Edwin Prado but had not heard back by press time.