California Man Arrested at US-Mexican Border for his Role in Rochester Drug Conspiracy
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Hugo Martin Velasquez a/k/a “H,” 40, of California, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine. The charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10,000,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn M. Hartford, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, since October 2020, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been investigating the illegal drug trafficking activities of Richmond Sutton and his associates. Sutton was trafficking bulk quantities of cocaine throughout the Western District of New York and elsewhere, with the aid and assistance of other co-conspirators. In October 2021, 12 members of the Sutton Drug Trafficking Organization (Sutton DTO) were arrested, including Richmond Sutton. The investigation determined that defendant Velasquez was one of Sutton’s suppliers. Velasquez supplied kilogram-quantities of cocaine to the Sutton DTO from 2019 until November 2020. A review of telephone records determined that Velasquez was in contact 70 times between January and April 2021 with another co-defendant who also supplied cocaine to the Sutton DTO. Investigators also learned that the phone number associated with Velasquez had been in contact with numerous telephone numbers in Mexico.
Velasquez was arrested as he attempted to enter the United States from Mexico. He made an initial appearance in the Southern District of California and will be returned to the Western District of New York at a later date.
Charges remain pending against Richmond Sutton.
The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III, New York Division, Rochester Resident Office and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge. Additional assistance was provided by the DEA San Yisidro Resident Office, San Diego Division.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.