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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 12, 2019

Hartford Gang Member Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Firearm Offenses Stemming from Gun Battle

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MIGUEL CLAUDIO, also known as “Mega,” 36, of Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 96 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for firearm offenses related to a shootout in Hartford’s South End in April 2017.

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.

On April 28, 2017, Velez, Claudio and three other Latin Kings members were involved in a shootout after they confronted a rival drug dealer in the area of Franklin Avenue and Barker Street in Hartford.  Claudio shot and wounded two individuals during the gunfire exchange, and was shot multiple times himself.

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

Claudio has been detained since his arrest on May 7, 2018.  On March 8, 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to carry and use a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

Claudio’s criminal history includes convictions for robbery and assault with a firearm.

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  He has been detained since April 5, 2018, when his bond was revoked.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
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated July 12, 2019