CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden woman was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for conspiring to distribute heroin in the city of Camden, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jasmin Velez, 27, of Camden, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin within 1,000 feet of a school. During her sentencing hearing, Velez agreed that the amount of heroin jointly attributable to her, as a member of the conspiracy, was three to 10 kilograms. She also acknowledged her role, as a member of the conspiracy, with respect to the distribution of cocaine and cocaine base.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
A total of 19 defendants were arrested in late 2018 on drug-trafficking charges based on the FBI’s investigation of a drug-trafficking organization that ran the open-air narcotics trade on the 400-500 block of Pine Street in Camden for several months in 2018. The investigation used video surveillance, confidential informants, consensual recordings, controlled drug purchases, and several court-authorized wiretaps to uncover the inner workings of the drug-trafficking organization. The organization included street-level sellers like Velez, who worked various shifts selling drugs to customers and collecting drug proceeds. These sellers were supervised by different layers of managers who, in turn, supplied them with pre-packaged heroin, some of which was mixed with fentanyl, as well as cocaine and crack cocaine. The FBI and other law enforcement officers recovered multiple firearms from different locations connected to the drug organization at the time of the 2018 arrests.
Sixteen defendants already have entered guilty pleas on drug conspiracy charges. Three defendants are awaiting trial; the charges against them are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Bumb sentenced Velez to six years of supervised release.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI’s South Jersey Violent Offender and Gang Task Force, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gabriel Rodriguez; the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer; the Camden County Sherriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the Cherry Hill Police Department, under the direction of Chief William P. Monaghan; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. She also thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Department of Homeland Security for their assistance.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Aliabadi and Patrick C. Askin of the U. S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.