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Press Release

West Haven Man Charged with Ammunition Possession and Cocaine Distribution Offenses

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Boston Field Division, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging BRIAN MELENDEZ, 31, of West Haven, with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school.

The indictment was returned under seal on July 29, and Melendez was arrested on July 31.  Following his arrest, Melendez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector via videoconference.  He is detained pending a detention hearing that is scheduled for August 7.

As alleged in the indictment, on January 7, 2020, Melendez possessed .22 caliber ammunition and a distribution quantity of cocaine within 1,000 feet of the Washington Elementary School in West Haven.

It is further alleged that, in 2008, Melendez was convicted in North Carolina of possession of a weapon of mass death and destruction.  In 2010, he was convicted in Connecticut of carrying a pistol or revolver with a permit.

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

If convicted, Melendez faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on the firearm charge, and 40 years of imprisonment on the cocaine distribution charge.

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 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the West Haven Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Doherty.

Updated August 3, 2020

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