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Press Release

West Hartford Resident Charged with Distributing Fentanyl While Released on Bond

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced a federal grand jury in New Haven returned an indictment yesterday charging BRIAN VELEZ, also known as “Whites,” 31, of West Hartford, formerly of Hartford, with distributing fentanyl while released on bond in a federal case.

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.

Velez was detained from the date of his arrest until April 2, 2019, when he was released on a $100,000 bond.

As alleged in court documents, 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 conducted 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 convicted 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.

The indictment charges Velez with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of fentanyl, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and committing the offense while on release in a federal case, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

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

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

Updated March 19, 2020

Drug Trafficking