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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 23, 2019

Gang Member Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison for Distributing Fentanyl and Heroin in Hartford

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that CRUZ FERNANDEZ, also known as “Blood,” 28, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 37 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing fentanyl and heroin.

According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force and the Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division targeting gang violence and narcotics trafficking in Hartford.  The investigation revealed that Wilson Velez, also known as “Wiso,” a member of the Almighty Latin Kings Nation (“Latin Kings”), was distributing heroin and fentanyl.  Velez employed family members and other Latin Kings members and associates to process, package and distribute the drugs from apartment buildings on Hamilton Street and Elliot Street in Hartford.  During the investigation, law enforcement conducted multiple controlled purchases of narcotics from Velez and other members of the drug trafficking organization.

Fernandez, who is originally from New York, is a member of the Bloods, not the Latin Kings.  He relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts, and then to Hartford, where he began distributing fentanyl/heroin that he had acquired from Velez and other Latin Kings members.

At the time of the offense, Fernandez was on probation following a heroin related arrest in Springfield.

On May 1, 2018, a grand jury returned a 41-count indictment charging Velez, Fernandez and eight other members and associates of the Latin Kings.  Fernandez was arrested on May 7, 2018.  On February 26, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin and fentanyl.

Velez was arrested on federal narcotics offenses on December 7, 2017, and was subsequently released on bond.  He has been detained since April 5, 2018, when his bond was revoked.  On February 22, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and/or 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and one count of conspiracy to use and carry a firearm in relation to, and furtherance of, a drug trafficking crime.  He awaits sentencing.

The FBI Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated September 23, 2019