A Newburgh man who's allegedly the leader of the Latin Kings gang is heading to prison.
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Carmelo Velez, 32, of Newburgh was sentenced to 19 years in prison in connection with his participation in the Black Mob set of the Latin Kings and their distribution of narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. VELEZ pled guilty on May 25, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed today’s sentence.
“Carmelo Velez was the leader of a violent gang who himself participated in acts of extreme violence. His wanton disregard for his victims has now earned him a lengthy prison term," U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
According to public filings and statements made in court:
- The Black Mob is a New York-based set, or “tribe,” of the nationwide Latin Kings gang. In order to enrich the enterprise, protect and expand its criminal operations, enforce discipline among its members, and retaliate against members of rival gangs, members and associates of the Black Mob committed, conspired, attempted, and threatened to commit acts of violence; distributed and possessed with intent to distribute narcotics, including heroin, fentanyl, and crack; committed robberies; and obtained, possessed, and used firearms.
- The Black Mob’s leadership structure resembles the traditional leadership structure of other Latin King tribes. Leaders in the Black Mob are referred to as “Crowns,” with the respective Crowns ranked as “First Crown,” “Second Crown,” etc. VELEZ served as the First Crown of the Black Mob since in or around 2012 and, in that capacity, oversaw the Black Mob’s day-to-day operations and also ordered and participated in acts of violence and narcotics trafficking.
In December 2019 and April 2021, Velez was charged along with several other members and associates of the Black Mob, with racketeering offenses, narcotics conspiracy and firearms offenses.
Velez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute narcotics. In connection with his guilty plea, he further stipulated to his involvement in multiple acts of violence, including:
- June 2017 slashing of a rival gang member
- October 2018 home invasion that resulted in the slashing and assault of two rival gang members
- September 2019 gunpoint robbery of a drug dealer
In addition to the prison term, he was sentenced to five years of supervised release.
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