Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge

June 02, 2016

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Three Time Convicted Felon Arrested In Otsego County On Drug Charges

(OTSEGO COUNTY, N.Y.) - James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) and John M. Muehl District Attorney, Otsego County announced yesterday the arrest of three time convicted felon Paul James Velleca, 45, of 304 Main Street lot #11, Worcester, NY following the execution of a no-knock narcotics search warrant.    

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “This arrest shows how law enforcement is focused on identifying, investigating and arresting those responsible for fueling drug addiction within our communities.  Our partners in law enforcement and DEA are working to make our towns safer by cutting off the head of the snake when it comes to drug trafficking.”  

District Attorney’s Office investigators received information from Town of Worcester Supervisor Donald L. Lindberg that there was suspicious activity at Velleca’s mobile home.  Investigators and DEA special agents from the Albany District Office opened an investigation into the possible drug activity and developed probable cause for a search warrant.   A search warrant for Velleca’s residence and vehicle was obtained on May 22nd from Otsego County Court Judge John F. Lambert.

On May 31, 2016, District Attorney’s Office investigators and DEA special agents, assisted by the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Bureau comprised of deputies, investigators and K-9 teams and Oneonta City Police detectives searched Velleca’s residence and SUV.  During the search they located and seized an unregistered Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, approximately 30 grams of powder and crack cocaine valued at $3,000, 59 packets of heroin valued at $1,180, an ounce of marihuana valued at $350, an electronic digital scale, plastic baggies used for packaging and $1,120 in U.S. currency. 

Velleca was charged with the following crimes:

Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, two counts, for possessing heroin and cocaine with the intent to sell - class B felonies
Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree for possessing more than one-half ounce of a narcotic drug, cocaine - a class B felony
Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree for being a felon and in possession of a firearm - a class D felony
Criminal possession of a firearm for possessing an unregistered pistol - a class E felony
Criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree for possessing more than 25 grams of marihuana - a class B misdemeanor
Criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, two counts, for possessing an electronic digital scale and plastic baggies used to weigh and package the narcotic drugs respectively - both class A misdemeanors

Velleca was arraigned by Town of Worcester Judge William J. Fisher and remanded to the Otsego County Correctional Facility without bail due to his three previous felony convictions in New York State: attempted robbery in the second degree in Nassau County, criminal possession of marihuana in the second degree in Rockland County and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree in Otsego County.  A felony hearing is scheduled in the Worcester Town Court on June 3rd at 1:00 p.m. 

If Velleca is convicted of a felony, he can be sentenced to 15 years to life as a persistent felony offender. 
      
District Attorney John M. Muehl is prosecuting the case. 

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