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Press Release

New Haven Man Charged with Drug Distribution and Gun Possession Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging JOEL MARTINEZ, JR., 22, of New Haven, with narcotics distribution and firearm possession offenses.

This prosecution is part of a coordinated federal, state and local law enforcement effort to address rising gun violence in New Haven.  Participating in this effort are the New Haven Police Department; the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets/Gang Task Force; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As alleged in court documents, on September 17, 2020, during a court-authorized search of a New Haven hotel room being used by Martinez to process and package narcotics, law enforcement seized a loaded Glock model 26, 9mm pistol with an obliterated serial number; a box of 9mm ammunition; approximately 74 grams of crack cocaine including packaging; approximately 150 grams of heroin including packaging; 12 digital scales; three blenders; other items used to process and package narcotics; and $1,825 in cash.  Martinez was arrested on state charges at that time.

Martinez was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on October 14, 2020.  On October 19, the grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging Martinez with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”), which carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years; one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years; and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence of at least five years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force, New Haven Police Department and New Haven State’s Attorney’s Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara E. Levens.

Updated April 18, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses