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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Man Sentenced to 57 Months for Illegal Gun Possession, and then Distributing Fentanyl While Released on Bond

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRIAN VELEZ, also known as “Whites,” 33, formerly of Hartford and West Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 57 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for illegally possessing of a firearm, and then distributing fentanyl while released on bond.

According to court documents and statements made in court, at approximately 10:20 a.m. on November 27, 2018, a car Velez was operating sped away from Hartford Police officers who were attempting to stop the vehicle in Hartford’s South End.  Velez parked in a driveway of a residence on Newbury Street and then ran from the car while carrying a duffel bag.  After Velez was apprehended, a detective located the duffel bag in Velez’s path of travel.  The bag contained a disassembled Ruger AR 556 semi-automatic rifle, which Velez was prohibited from possessing due to a prior felony conviction.

Velez was detained from the date of his arrest until April 2, 2019, when he was released on bond.

In January 2020, law enforcement received information that Velez was involved in ongoing criminal activity, including the distribution of narcotics.  On January 28, 2020, investigators made a controlled purchase of 20 bags of fentanyl from Velez in Hartford.

On January 29, 2020, Velez pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon, stemming from his arrest in November 2018.

Velez has been detained since March 12, 2020, after he was arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with distributing fentanyl.  On April 12, 2021, he pleaded guilty to distribution of fentanyl while on release in a pending federal case.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force, the FBI’s Connecticut Violent Crime Task Force, and the Hartford Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Updated May 25, 2022