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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Hedric "Edrik" Velez, 35, of Vernon,Drug source for Latin King gang members

Drug source for Latin King gang members who controlled cocaine sales in parts of Hartford was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday at U.S. District Court in New Haven.Federal prosecutors said that Hedric "Edrik" Velez, 35, of Vernon, received about 44 pounds of cocaine by mail from Puerto Rico between March 2008 and April 2009 and made about $40,000 in profit selling to gang members.Velez, who was arrested in April, is one of 55 people charged by Hartford police, state police and the FBI following a yearlong investigation of drug sales and violence in the Hartford area. He pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to distribute and distribution of 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.In addition to the prison sentence, Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey ordered Velez to submit to five years of supervision by the federal probation department upon his release from prison.Federal prosecutors said that Velez received kilogram packages of cocaine from Puerto Rico by U.S. mail. After learning about the deliveries through telephone wiretaps and from informants, federal agents intercepted the last delivery at Velez's home and arrested him on April 27. He has been in jail since.Velez supplied groups of Latin King drug dealers who distributed cocaine in the areas of Brownell Avenue and Broad, Arnold and Willard streets in Hartford.The sentencing of Velez, charged with supplying people who investigators say are affiliated with the Latin Kings gang, comes at a time when city officials in Hartford are downplaying reports that drug gangs might be re-establishing a foothold in the city. A fight between the Latin Kings and Los Solidos over drug sales in the 1990s created a wave of violence.Authorities, while building the case against Velez and the others, identified at least a dozen men who are described as members of the Latin Kings or Los Solidos.In memos filed in court, prosecutors said the Latin Kings were "a mostly fractured and disorganized entity with no clear and established leadership." However, the memos said that some of those arrested used their reputations as "established Latin King members" to control the drug supply in parts of the city


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