MS-13 gang member, wanted for N.Y. murders, arrested in Hall Co.NC

4:12 p.m. Thursday, May 21, 2015 | Filed in: Local News

A reputed MS-13 gang member wanted for execution-style murders in New York was arrested this week in Hall County.

An FBI SWAT team detained 22-year-old Arnolvin Umanzor Velasquez in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, officials said, six days after an indictment was returned charging him and two co-defendants with three murders, four attempted murders and multiple racketeering offenses. Velasquez was arraigned in front of a federal judge in Atlanta before being ordered removed to New York, where his offenses are alleged to have occurred.

Velasquez and his co-defendants — Edwin Acosta-Martinez and Sergio Cerna — were all members of the notorious MS-13 gang, officials said.

All three are accused of participating in the Nov. 2, 2011, murder of Brandon Sotomayor — a believed rival gang member — in Baywood, N.Y. They’re also tied to the Dec. 18, 2011, murders of brothers Enston and Ricardo Ceron.

They reportedly killed Enston Ceron, a fellow MS-13 member, because he was “distancing himself” from the gang. They then killed his brother because they were afraid he would retaliate, federal officials said.

“The execution-style killings of Brandon Sotomayor and the Ceron brothers, as well as the attempted murders charged in this superseding indictment, demonstrate the callous depravity of the MS-13,” Kelly Currie, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a news release.

An FBI spokesman said Velasquez had been living in a home on the 4200 block of Winder Highway in Flowery Branch. It was unclear if he had any prior connection to the area.

Acosta-Martinez and Cerna were already in federal custody at the time of Velasquez’s arrest, officials said.

Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, is composed primarily of Central American immigrants and/or their descendants, according to the FBI, which says this extremely violent criminal organization got its start in Los Angeles and then spread out to a number of states around the country, including Georgia.