31-year-old rapper Willie Junior Maxwell II, more commonly known as Fetty Wap, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday for dealing drugs in New Jersey and New York in 2019 and 2020. Maxwell pleaded guilty in August to participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess controlled substances.
According to The Associated Press, a federal court in Long Island issued the sentence, which carried a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a 40-year maximum. Maxwell told the judge, “Me being selfish in my pride put me in this position today.”
“I agreed with other people to distribute cocaine,” he said. “I knew the conduct was illegal.”
“You’ve got a lot going for you.” Judge Joanna Seybert told him. “See if you can put it together.”
Maxwell and five co-defendants were arrested in October 2021 for a scheme to possess and distribute more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine between June 2019 and June 2020. While investigating the crime, police seized $1.5 million in cash and multiple weapons.
The group used the US Postal Service to ship drugs from the west coast to dealers on Long Island and in New Jersey, according to the indictment.
Maxwell's lawyers claimed that the rapper had only turned to crime after his income dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"He was motivated by his commitment to financially support others," they said. “He became ashamed when he began to struggle to keep up the lifestyle that he created for so many.”
Prosecutors argued pointed to Fetty Wap songs that “glamorized the drug trade,” as a reason he should face harsher punishment.
In a court filing, they wrote, “Before his arrest, the defendant became famous singing about his experience cooking crack cocaine, selling drugs, and making substantial money from those illegal endeavors,” prosecutors argued, “Young people who admire the defendant and are considering selling drugs need to be sent a message.”
Maxwell’s breakout hit in 2015 “Trap Queen,” a song about a girlfriend who helps him sell drugs, earned him the iHeartRadio Music Awards best new artist in 2016, as well as two Grammy nominations.
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