A onetime driver for the Kosovar consulate will stay parked in jail as he fights charges that he was hooked up in arms trafficking, extortion and money laundering.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors claim Albert Veliu tried to arrange a sale of more than a dozen AK-47s and a rocket launcher – munitions he allegedly called “sneakers” and a “Shaq-sized sneaker.”
Veliu was a consulate driver from 2012 until the feds pulled him over this summer. Prosecutors say Veliu boasted to secret Drug Enforcement Agency sources that his consulate job — and the lighter airport security that came with it — meant he could move contraband through airports more easily.
He also bragged he could get on planes with little scrutiny and he even tried to pawn off his diplomatic plates for the right price, authorities say.
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The 34-year-old Staten Island resident has been locked up since late June on charges he was part of a crime ring with access to serious weaponry.
Judge Pamela Chen denied the bail bid Wednesday, saying Veliu was a flight risk and danger to the community.
Veliu’s lawyers tried arguing for a $ 750,000 bail package. They argued he was a family man with no criminal record and strong ties to the city.
Prosecutors worried Veliu’s ties to the consulate meant access to replacement travel documents.
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The defense said in court papers that prosecutors shouldn’t “lightly allege that the Kosovar consulate would assist Mr. Veliu to obtain diplomatic credentials in violation of court order.”
Veliu’s lawyer, Richard Levitt, declined to comment afterwards.
Veliu is looking at up to 20 years in prison.
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