NEW BRITAIN, CT. – Steven W. Derr Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that STEVEN VELEZ, 32, of New Britain, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 144 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for his leadership of a New Britain and Hartford-area cocaine and crack cocaine distribution ring.
This matter stems from a 10-month Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force investigation dubbed “Operation Slow Play.” The investigation, which included the use of court-authorized wiretaps and the participation of the New Britain Police Department and several other local police departments, revealed that VELEZ was acquiring kilogram quantities of cocaine from co-defendant Angel Mulero. VELEZ then sold ounce quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine to various individuals in the New Britain and greater Hartford areas.
On June 16, 2010, Mulero and Ulissis Verde Lopez were arrested at Mulero’s apartment at 16 Owen Street in Hartford. A search of the apartment revealed approximately 21 kilograms of cocaine and $500,000 in cash. VELEZ was arrested later that same day and an additional five kilograms of cocaine and approximately $30,000 was seized from him.
On February 1, 2011, VELEZ pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Mulero and Verde Lopez have pleaded guilty to the same charge and await sentencing.
A total of 20 individuals have been charged as a result of this investigation.
This matter has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New Britain, Newington, Windsor, Wethersfield, Wallingford, Manchester, and Hartford Police Department. Additional assistance has been provided by the United States Marshals Service and the State of Connecticut Office of Parole.