A federal judge today sentenced Rahshjeem "Six Nine" Benson, 39, to nine years in prison for the federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm after he was arrested by Boston Police for dealing drugs out of Whskey's, 885 Boylston St. in the Back Bay, the US Attorney's office reports.
According to court documents, Benson, who already had a long record of violence, drug dealing and larceny, had a loaded gun on him when he was arrested at Whiskey's on April 5, 2019, following a controlled buy by a local drug user convinced that an undercover cop really wanted to buy some crack. Whiskey's was one of a row of Boylston Street bars that closed in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.
It's against federal law for people convicted of felonies to possess guns. After he was indicted on the federal charges, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office dropped the state drugs and firearms charges to make it easier for the federal prosecution to continue.
Detectives had been investigating Benson for drug dealing in the Copley Square area for several months. Benson obtained the gun not long after it had been stolen in New Hampshire, about three weeks before his arrest. According to prosecutors, Benson had been trying for several months to buy a gun to protect himself and his drug trade, after he'd been shot at somewhere on Mass. Ave. on Oct. 9, 2018.
Federal prosecutors had asked for a ten-year sentence, arguing that Benson just hadn't learned from earlier convictions, for everything from stealing a safe belonging to his cousin containing $20,000 in cash and jewelry to choking and punching a friends girlfriend to selling crack.
After serving his sentence following his 2008 crack conviction, according to a prosecution sentencing memo, he seemed to have finally turned a corner - he went to college, met with then Gov. Patrick's staff and got profiled by WBUR - in an interview in which he said he didn't do drugs himself, but was addicted to money.
But by 2014, he was back to his criminal ways, stealing iPhones from the Apple store where he worked and getting convicted for the guns police found in his apartment. In 2019, according to the memo, "he was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting bank fraud, identity theft, and bank fraud, in a scheme in which the conspirators would apply for loans in stolen identities using fraudulent documentation, ultimately obtaining $123,292.11."
His attorney argued for a sentence of a little over seven years, arguing that Benson was the product of a broken home - his mother was just 14, he never met his father until he was well into adulthood - that his college career showed him to be a leader and that he has a warm and loving relationship with his own children.
He has dedicated much of his life to helping others and raising his children. He is motivated to move forward, learn from his experiences, and never cease trying to become a better role model for his children. He understands that any missteps could cost him his relationship with his children and that thought pushes Mr. Benson to leave the criminal justice system far behind him.
Prosecutors agreed Benson has the capacity to change for the good and that a long sentence would harm his relationship with his children, but says Benson has had similar chances to change in the past.
The government notes that, even after serving this sentence, Benson will be in the prime of his life with the opportunity to live a law-abiding life and be present for most of his children’s teenage years. Just 8-16 credit hours shy of a bachelor’s degree, and with the capacity for understanding demonstrated in his WBUR interview, Benson clearly has the ability to take a new path after completing his sentence.