A fugitive member of the MS-13 street gang, who was tracked down to Georgia, was charged Wednesday, along with two other gang members, with three killings on Long Island, officials said.
Arnolvin Umanzor Velasquez, 22, of Brentwood, was arrested by an FBI SWAT team in Flowery Branch, Georgia, Tuesday and charged with killing two brothers, Enston, 21, and Ricardo Ceron, 19, in Brentwood in December of 2011.
Also charged in those two killings was another MS-13 member, Sergio Cerna, 31, of Brentwood, who was already in federal custody on other charges. A third MS-13 member, Edwin Acosta-Martinez, 26, of Huntington Station, was also charged in Wednesday's indictment with the November, 2011 murder in Baywood of Brandon Sotomayor, 23, of Central Islip.
Sotomayor was wearing a red hat and Acosta-Martinez, and an unidentified member of MS-13 who was a juvenile at the time, believed he was a member of the Bloods street gang, according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors Raymond Tierney and John Durham. Sotomayor was sitting in a car with two other unidentified people when the killers went up to the vehicle and fired "numerous" shots at him hitting him multiple times in the neck and torso, the papers said.
The guns used in the Sotomayor killing were the same 9 mm and .22 caliber semiautomatics used to kill the Ceron brothers, the papers said.
Enston Ceron was marked for death because he was an MS-13 member who "was distancing himself from the gang by not attending meetings or 'putting in work' for the gang, and they were concerned he might cooperate with law enforcement authorities if he were arrested," according to the papers. His brother Ricardo, who was also an MS-13 member, was killed because gang members believed he would retaliate, the papers said.
In carrying out the killings, Cerna and Velasquez asked the brothers to give them a ride home from a party and when the car stopped on a Brentwood street the two shot them at close range in the head and torso, the papers said.
They were also charged with racketeering in the attempted murders of rival gang members in other shooting incidents.
"The execution-style killings of Brandon Sotomayor and the Ceron brothers, as well as the attempted murders charged . . . demonstrate the callous depravity of the MS-13," Acting Eastern District United States Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement. "This office and the FBI's Long Island Gang Task Force will continue to investigate and prosecute the MS-13 to ensure that gang members are held accountable for their brutal acts."
The three killings make the accused eligible for death-penalty prosecutions, but the final determination of whether to seek capital punishment upon conviction is up to the U.S. attorney general.Velasquez was arraigned Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Atlanta and ordered removed to Long Island. Cerna was arraigned Wednesday at the federal court in Central Islip, pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be continued in custody. Acosta-Martinez is scheduled to be arraigned next week.