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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced To 40 Years In Prison For Execution-Style Double-Murder In Brentwood

Velasquez Fled to El Salvador and Relocated to Georgia After Killing Two Brothers in Brentwood on December 18, 2011

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Arnolvin Umanzor Velasquez, a member of the Brentwood Locos Salvatruchas (BLS) clique of La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as the MS-13, a transnational criminal organization, was sentenced to 40 years in prison in connection with his involvement in the December 18, 2011, execution-style murders of two brothers, Ricardo and Enston Ceron.  After committing the murders, in order to avoid apprehension, Velasquez, who is an El Salvador citizen, fled to his home country before returning to the United States and relocating to Georgia.  On May 19, 2015, Velasquez was located and arrested in Flowery Branch, Georgia, by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) SWAT team and transferred to the Eastern District of New York in custody.  Thereafter, on March 11, 2016, Velasquez pled guilty to the Ceron brothers’ murders.

The sentence was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office, and Timothy Sini, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department.

“The MS-13 is a scourge on too many communities on Long Island, across the United States, and around the world.  The senseless acts of violence committed by its members cannot and will not be tolerated and will be met with resolute and unwavering enforcement by this Office and the members of the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force,” stated United States Attorney Capers.  “Today’s sentence should serve a reminder to MS-13 members: If you engage in violence in this district, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and justly punished.”

“This case illustrates how MS-13 maintains an ironfisted control over their turf, no life is protected, not even their own members.  Their goal is to create chaos wherever they plant their flag.  Our Long Island Safe Streets Task Force is working day and night, hand in hand with our partners, to get these gang members out of our communities,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

“The Suffolk County Police Department is fully committed to decimating the MS-13 in the Brentwood area.  We will continue our multi-pronged strategy which entails collecting intelligence and creating strategic subject lists of known gang members, intense street enforcement targeted at those individuals, and collaboration with our federal law enforcement partners, including the FBI and the United States Attorney's Office, to strategically prosecute gang members under the federal RICO statute,” stated Commissioner Sini.  “This sentencing is yet another step in the right direction, but we will not stop until the job is done.”  

As set forth in prior court filings, a detention letter, and the government’s sentencing memorandum, the BLS clique killed Enston Ceron because he was not attending meetings or “putting in work” for the MS-13, and the clique members were concerned that he might cooperate with law enforcement authorities if he were arrested.  The BLS clique also murdered his brother, Ricardo Ceron, who belonged to the Western clique of the MS-13, because they were concerned he would retaliate if he learned that the BLS killed his brother.  On December 18, 2011, Velasquez and Sergio Cerna, who had agreed to carry out the murders and were armed with .22 caliber and 9mm semi-automatic handguns, asked Enston and Ricardo Ceron for a ride home from a party.  When the car stopped in the vicinity of Lincoln Avenue and Stockton Streets in Brentwood, Velasquez and Cerna executed the Ceron brothers, shooting them in the head and torso at close range.  Velasquez and Cerna exited the car and when another vehicle approached the murder scene and stopped to try to help, Cerna fired multiple shots at the Good Samaritan, striking him once in the chest.  Miraculously, the Good Samaritan survived the shooting.

Today’s sentence is the latest event in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York targeting members of the MS-13, a violent, transnational criminal organization.  The MS-13’s leadership is based in El Salvador and Honduras, but the gang has thousands of members across the United States, comprised primarily of immigrants from Central America.  With numerous branches, or cliques, the MS-13 is the largest and most violent street gang on Long Island.  Since 2003, hundreds of MS-13 members, including dozens of clique leaders, have been convicted on federal felony charges in this district.  A majority of those MS-13 members have been convicted on federal racketeering charges for participating in murders, attempted murders, and assaults.  Since 2010 alone, this Office has obtained indictments charging MS-13 members with carrying out more than 30 murders, and has convicted dozens of MS-13 leaders and members in connection with those murders.  These prosecutions are the product of investigations led by the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force, comprising agents and officers of the FBI, Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, Suffolk County Probation, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, and Suffolk County Police Department.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham, Raymond A. Tierney, and Paul G. Scotti are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

ARNOLVIN UMANZOR VELASQUEZ (“Momia” and “Lito”)
Age: 23
Brentwood, New York and Flowery Branch, Georgia

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-087 (S-2)(JFB)

Topic: 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated November 15, 2016