A suspected MS-13 gang member was arrested Tuesday in Flowery Branch in connection with the 2011 execution-style deaths of two brothers in New York.
Arnolvin Umanzor Velasquez, aka “Momia” or “Lito,” was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in the 4200 block of Winder Highway and arraigned in Atlanta before U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III, according to the FBI.
Velasquez was indicted along with other suspected MS-13 members Edwin Acosta-Martinez, aka “Scarface,” and Sergio Cerna, aka “Taz” or “Lechon,” according to an FBI news release.
The FBI defines MS-13 as a violent international street gang comprising primarily immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras.
The 29-count indictment was unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Central Islip, N.Y.
Velasquez, 22, of Brentwood, N.Y., and Flowery Branch, was ordered to be moved to the Eastern District of New York. Cerna, 31, of Brentwood, and Acosta-Martinez, 26, of Huntington Station, N.Y., are already in federal custody and were set to be arraigned Thursday afternoon and next week, respectively.
“MS-13 is a scourge on our communities,” said Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez in the FBI news release. “As alleged, the three defendants charged today with murder demonstrate the extraordinary violence of this gang. We continue to work with prosecutors and local law enforcement on Long Island to arrest and prosecute members of MS-13.”
Velasquez and Cerna are charged in the Dec. 18, 2011, murder of brothers Enston and Ricardo Ceron in Brentwood.
According to the FBI, Enston Ceron was killed because he was distancing himself from the Brentwood clique of the MS-13 gang, known as BLS, and his brother Ricardo Ceron was killed to prevent retaliation for Enston Ceron’s death.
Gang members were concerned Enston Ceron may cooperate with law enforcement if arrested.
According to the FBI, Velasquez and Cerna volunteered to kill the brothers and, armed with 9mm and .22-caliber semi-automatic handguns, they asked the brothers for a ride home from a party.
When the car stopped, Velasquez and Cerna shot the brothers in the head and torso at close range. The men exited the car and as another vehicle approached the scene and stopped, Cerna fired multiple shots at the driver, striking him in the chest, according to the FBI. The driver survived.
The BLS clique then blamed the killings of the Ceron brothers on the rival Latin Kings gang, according to the FBI, and plotted a retaliation shooting. Acosta-Martinez is suspected of being involved in that shooting and injuring one man, who survived.
He’s also charged in the Nov. 2, 2011, death of Brandon Sotomayor in Baywood, N.Y., using the same guns used to kill the Ceron brothers. Sotomayor was a suspected member of the Bloods street gang.
Cerna is also charged with two 2011 attempted murders of rival gang members and additional charges of conspiracy to murder rival gang members later that year.
The defendants are also charged with racketeering offenses, including assaults, obstruction of justice, armed robbery and related firearms and conspiracy counts.
Since 2003, more than 250 MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in the Eastern District of New York. Dozens of MS-13 members have been convicted in connection with murders.