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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hartford Gang Member Sentenced to 6 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Fentanyl and Heroin

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that FRANKIE VEGA, also known as “Lips,” 35, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 72 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.

In May 2017, investigators conducted two controlled purchases of fentanyl from Vega at his residence on Broad Street.  On May 3, 2017, a court-authorized search of Vega’s residence revealed more than 1,000 bags of fentanyl/heroin and other items used to process and package narcotics for distribution.  Vega was arrested on state charges on that date.

In November 2017, while he was released on bond in his state case, Vega was intercepted on a wiretap negotiating the purchase of 500 bags of fentanyl/heroin from Velez.

On May 1, 2018, a grand jury returned a 41-count indictment charging Velez, Vega and eight other members and associates of the Latin Kings.

Vega has been detained since his arrest on May 7, 2018.  On March 4, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, heroin and fentanyl

In 2008, Vega was arrested after he fired his gun at Hartford Police officers pursuing him in a foot chase.  Vega was sentenced to 15 years in prison, suspended after nine years, for that offense.  He was released from state prison in April 2016.

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 10, 2019