Three Arrested In FBI Regional Drug Operation In Newington

Three men were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances following a regional drug operation conducted by the FBI, federal prosecutors said.

Wilson Velez, 32, of Newington remained detained on Friday. He has a bond hearing scheduled on Wednesday.

Luis Santiago, 18, who was living at the Newington house with Velez, was released after posting $25,000 bail.

A Hartford man, Franklyn Nieves, 55, was released after posting $50,000 bail.

Federal prosecutors said the arrest warrant affidavits for the three men are sealed.

On Thursday, federal agents and police armed with a warrant swarmed the neighborhood.

More than a dozen FBI agents and local officers searched the house at 285 Maple Hill Ave., not far from the center of town.

The FBI did not say why they were searching the single-family home, but Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley it was drug-related and part of a larger operation.

Foley said officers from the city were at the scene of the search, which he said was one of “multiple narcotics search warrant operations in the region.”

During the operation, more than a dozen unmarked cars and SUVs lined the road and driveway leading to the house, which is set back from the road. At least one police dog was used during the search.

Foley said he announced the drug operations on Twitter to allay any fear in the affected communities that residents are in danger. The sight of heavily armed police and military-style vehicles in a neighborhood can be disturbing, he said.

“When a law enforcement agency executes an operation in a neighborhood, including SWAT assets, the community feels as though they are under siege and possibly in danger,” he said. “I feel it’s our responsibility to quell concerns as soon as possible without risking the operation’s safety and success.”

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