Staten Island man sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for international arms trafficking and money laundering


Date: January 30, 2020


Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Albert Veliu was sentenced by United States District Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to nine years' imprisonment for his role in a money laundering scheme that resulted in the defendant's purchase and sale of an anti-tank rocket launcher and AK-47s rifles in Kosovo. Veliu pleaded guilty in February 2019.

In October 2017, Veliu and his co-conspirators met with a DEA confidential source (CS), who represented himself to be a narcotics trafficker in need of laundering his illicit drug proceeds through a shell corporation. Veliu agreed to assist the CS in exchange for a commission. Veliu then orchestrated the money laundering scheme by, among other things, exchanging the cash for purportedly "clean" checks made out to the shell corporation. The checks were supported by fraudulent paperwork, including bogus invoices and receipts. Throughout the course of the investigation, the CS gave Veliu approximately $800,000 in purported drug proceeds to be laundered.

Later in the investigation, Veliu informed another DEA confidential source (CS-2) that he had access to firearms in Kosovo and was willing to broker a sale. Veliu and CS-2 agreed that Veliu would purchase and then sell weapons he believed were bound for drug cartels operating in Mexico. After accepting payment for the weapons, Veliu traveled to Kosovo to deliver the firearms to an individual he believed to be a Kosovo-based associate of CS-2. Therafter, on two separate occasions, Veliu and his co-conspirators provided individuals with 14 AK-47s and an M80 Zolja Anti-tank Rocket Launcher equipped with a 64mm rocket. Subsequent search warrants executed by Kosovo police netted additional weapons, ammunition and over 60,000 euros.

The arrest in this case was the result of a long-term investigation by the DEA's New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, comprising agents and officers of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, DEA, New York City Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, New York State Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, New York National Guard, Clarkstown Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Washington Police Department and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. The Strike Force is partially funded by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is a federally funded crime fighting initiative.