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Press Release

Leader Of Latin Kings Set Sentenced To 19 Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CARMELO VELEZ, a/k/a “Jugg,” was sentenced today to 19 years in prison in connection with his participation in the Black Mob set of the Latin Kings and their distribution of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.  VELEZ pled guilty on May 25, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed today’s sentence.   

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Carmelo Velez was the leader of a violent gang who himself participated in acts of extreme violence.  His wanton disregard for his victims has now earned him a lengthy prison term.”

According to public filings and statements made in court:

The Black Mob is a New York-based set, or “tribe,” of the nationwide Latin Kings gang.  In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of the Black Mob committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack; committed robberies; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms.

The Black Mob’s leadership structure resembles the traditional leadership structure of other Latin King tribes.  Leaders in the Black Mob are referred to as “Crowns,” with the respective Crowns ranked as “First Crown,” “Second Crown,” etc.  VELEZ served as the First Crown of the Black Mob since in or around 2012 and, in that capacity, oversaw the Black Mob’s day-to-day operations and also ordered and participated in acts of violence and narcotics trafficking.

In December 2019 and April 2021, VELEZ was charged along with several other members and associates of the Black Mob, including Angel Lopez, a/k/a “SB,” and Christopher Rodriguez, a/k/a “Taz,” with racketeering offenses, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses.  Lopez and Rodriguez, both of whom also held leadership roles within the Black Mob, previously pled guilty and were sentenced to 240 months in prison and 210 months in prison, respectively.

VELEZ pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics.  In connection with his guilty plea, VELEZ further stipulated to his involvement in multiple acts of violence: a June 2017 slashing of a rival gang member, an October 2018 home invasion that resulted in the slashing and assault of two rival gang members, and a gunpoint robbery of a drug dealer in or around September 2019. 

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In addition to the prison term, VELEZ, 32, of Newburgh, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department. 

This effort 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

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Adam Hobson, Elinor Tarlow, and David Robles are in charge of the prosecution.

Updated September 21, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 21-246