April 2 (UPI) -- Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine was released from prison into house arrest on Thursday due to concerns over his health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 23-year-old, born Daniel Hernandez, was granted an early release after U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York Paul Engelmayer ruled that 6ix9ine's asthma put him at heightened risk from the coronavirus.
"Further, the crowded nature of municipal jails such as the facility in which Mr. Hernandez is housed present an outsize risk that the COVID-19 contagion, once it gains entry will spread. And realistically, a high-risk inmate who contracts the virus while in prison will face challenges in caring for himself," Engelmayer said.
6ix9ine's lawyer Lance Lazzaro said the rapper was not exhibiting any symptoms of the virus but would likely be tested "when it becomes readily available."
Engelmayer had previously written he didn't have the legal authority to alter 6ix9ine's sentence, but he was allowed to act after the Bureau of Prisons denied his request to be released due to the pandemic.
6ix9ine was sentenced to two years in prison in December after previously pleading guilty to racketeering, firearms and drug trafficking charges.
He originally faced up to 47 years in prison for his connection to a series of shootings and assaults around New York City, but prosecutors recommended the shorter sentence after he cooperated with investigators and testified against Nine Trey gang members Anthony "Harv" Ellison and Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack in October.