John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ALEXIS VELEZ, 56, formerly of Connecticut and Maine, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford to 57 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for trafficking narcotics.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in August 2018, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force and the Hartford Police Department received information that Danny Castillo and Pascual Ivan Medina were distributing large quantities of fentanyl in and around Hartford. An investigation revealed that Castillo used his family business, the Albany Grocery Store located at 1160 Albany Avenue in Hartford, to conduct narcotics transactions. Between October 2018 and January 2019, investigators made multiple controlled purchases of distribution quantities of fentanyl from Castillo, sometimes with Medina’s assistance, at both the Albany Grocery Store and Castillo’s apartment on Woodland Street in Hartford.
On January 25, 2019, investigators conducting surveillance observed Velez arrive by car at Castillo’s apartment building, interact with Castillo, enter his apartment, exit the apartment and then drive away from the location. After a Hartford Police cruiser conducted a traffic stop of Velez’s vehicle, a search of Velez’s person revealed quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine, and a search of a bag that Velez was seen carrying as he entered and exited Castillo’s apartment revealed approximately 102 grams of a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, 46 grams of cocaine, 15 grams of crack, two ounces of marijuana, and $4060 in cash. Velez was arrested at that time.
Castillo was arrested a short time later at his Woodland Street apartment. A search of the residence revealed approximately 436 grams of fentanyl, 229 grams of heroin, 231 grams of a mixture with both fentanyl and heroin, 543 grams of a mixture of tramadol and methamphetamine, numerous items used to process and package narcotics for distribution, a loaded short-barrel shotgun, and a loaded Smith & Wesson .357 revolver. Investigators later recovered a third firearm from Castillo’s residence.
U.S. Attorney Durham noted that the quantity of the fentanyl and heroin seized from Castillo would have produced at least 35,000 dose bags of the drugs.
On February 28, 2020, Velez pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (“crack”). He is currently detained.
Castillo and Medina pleaded guilty to related charges. On August 25, 2020, Castillo was sentenced to 128 months of imprisonment and, on January 23, 2020, Medina was sentenced to 30 months of imprisonment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.