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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Berkeley Man Sentenced To Prison For Possessing A Destructive Device

SAN FRANCISCO – Emoru Oboke Obbanya was sentenced March 12, 2013, to 27 months in prison for possessing a destructive device, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Francisco Field Office (FBI).

A federal grand jury indicted Obbanya in September 2011 on a charge of possessing a firearm not identified by a serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i). In March 2012 the grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Obbanya with additional crimes. Count one of the superseding indictment charged Obbanya with possession of a firearm in the form of components from which a destructive device may be readily assembled, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). Count four of the superseding indictment carried forward the charge from the original indictment of possessing a firearm not identified by a serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i).

In July 2009, Berkeley Police Department served a search warrant at Obbanya’s residence and found in Obbanya’s bedroom a loaded firearm – specifically a flare gun that had been converted into an operable .38 caliber handgun. The firearm bore no serial number and had not been registered, and Obbanya had not applied for or received permission from ATF to make the gun. In addition to the altered firearm, the officers found .38 caliber ammunition, and numerous bomb-making materials in Obbanya’s bedroom

On September 17, 2012, Obbanya entered guilty pleas to counts one and four of the superseding indictment. Specifically, he admitted to possessing explosive components and a converted .38 caliber handgun.

The sentence was handed down by Chief District Court Judge Claudia Wilken. Drew Caputo is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the ATF and the FBI with the assistance of Berkeley Police Department.