3 MS-13 Gang Members Charged With Murders

Three reputed MS-13 street gang members were charged with allegedly killing three men on Long Island less than a month apart four years ago and trying to kill four others, authorities said.

Edwin “Scarface” Acosta-Martinez, 26, of Huntington Station, 31-year-old Sergio “Taz” Cerna and 22-year-old Arnolvin “Momia” Umanzor Velasquez, both of whom are from Brentwood, were indicted on federal charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy and racketeering.

“MS-13 is a scourge on our communities,” said Diego Rodriguez, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “The three defendants charged today with murder demonstrate the extraordinary violence of this gang.”

Federal prosecutors said Cerna, who was also known as “Lechon,” and Velasquez, who was also known as “Lito,” fatally shot brothers Ricardo and Enston Ceron “execution-style” in the head in the victims’ hometown of Brentwood on Dec. 18, 2011.

The gunmen killed Eston because he was distancing himself from the Brentwood clique of the gang, whose members feared that he would become an informant, authorities said. They allegedly killed his brother, who was member of another MS-13 clique, to pre-empt his presumed retaliation. The victims were giving the suspects a ride home from a party at the time.

When the suspects got out of the car, Cerna and Velasquez allegedly shot at another car that stopped at the scene, hitting the driver in the chest, authorities said. The second driver survived.

One month prior to the double murder, Acosta-Martinez allegedly gunned down 23-year-old Brandon Sotomayor of Central Islip when the alleged gunman and another MS-13 member, who was then a juvenile, set out to kill a rival gang member in Baywood on Nov.2, 2011, according to investigators.

Acosta-Martinez believed that Sotomayor, who was wearing a red hat, was a member of the rival Bloods street gang when, prosecutors said, the alleged gunman shot the victim in the neck and torso, killing him, while the victim sat in a car.

The same 9mm and .22 caliber semi-automatic handguns were used in both shootings, authorities said.

Aside from those shootings, Acosta-Martinez is accused of shooting at two suspected members of the Latin Kings in Brentwood, wounding one of them on Dec. 22, 2011. In addition, Cerna was charged with shooting and wounding two suspected rival gang members Oct. 23, 2011.

FBI agents apprehended Velasquez on Tuesday in Georgia. He was arraigned in Atlanta and is expected to be transferred to face the charges on LI. Cerna and Acosta-Martinez, who were already in federal custody, will be arraigned at Central Islip federal court.