New York Resident Pleads Guilty to Illegal Possession of Explosives and Silencer
Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced that YUNG TANG, 38, a citizen of China last residing in Greenwood Lake, New York, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of possession of an explosive during the commission of a felony, one count of possession of an unregistered firearm silencer, and two counts of possession of unregistered explosives.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in earlier proceedings in this matter, in the early morning hours of January 29, 2008, police in Wallingford, Connecticut encountered TANG sleeping in a van located in the parking lot of a kindergarten and child care facility on Miles Drive in Wallingford. TANG was placed under arrest after police learned that TANG’s driver’s license was suspended, the license plates on the van belonged to another vehicle, and TANG could not produce valid registration or insurance information for the van. A subsequent search of TANG’s van revealed the apparent presence of pipe bombs, a digital timer, and materials for disguising a person’s appearance. Wallingford Police contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut State Police bomb squad for further investigative assistance. The investigation confirmed that, in the van, TANG possessed two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), two partially-assembled IEDs, two radio-controlled initiators that could be used to remotely activate IEDs, and two firearm silencers.
A few days later, on February 1, 2008, FBI agents and officers of the New York City Police Department executed a federal search warrant at a rental property owned by TANG in Brooklyn, New York. Among other things, the agents and officers located a van parked in the driveway of TANG’s property which contained two more IEDs of the same appearance and design as those found in TANG’s van in Wallingford, as well as a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol and matching silencer and several other containers filled with explosive and incendiary chemicals. The van was parked next door to where the defendant’s estranged wife was living in Brooklyn. At the time of his arrest in Connecticut, Wallingford Police officers had seized the keys to the Brooklyn van from TANG’s person.
On July 3, 2008, the NYPD recovered a third van in Brooklyn that appeared to contain explosive devices. An emergency search revealed that the van contained two more IEDs of the same appearance and design as the IEDs previously found in TANG’s vans in Wallingford and Brooklyn, as well as two WD-40 cans containing an explosive material known as thermite and a large box containing four 5-gallon jugs filled with sulfuric acid. A latent fingerprint recovered from the interior of the van matched the fingerprints of TANG.
Tests conducted by the FBI forensic laboratory in Quantico, Virginia and the NYPD forensic laboratory in New York confirmed that the IEDs recovered from the vans seized in Wallingford, Connecticut on January 29, 2008, and in Brooklyn, New York on February 1, 2008, and July 3, 2008, all contained explosive material. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, TANG has never registered any firearms, silencers, or explosive devices in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records.
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for December 29, 2008, at which time TANG faces a total maximum term of 40 years in prison and a $280,000 fine on the four charges to which he pleaded guilty, including a mandatory minimum term of 10 years on the charge of possession of an explosive during the commission of a felony, which must be served consecutive to the sentences imposed on the other three charges.
As part of the plea agreement, TANG and the United States agreed that TANG should serve a total term of imprisonment of 20 years. TANG and the United States further agreed that, as a non-citizen who has committed an aggravated felony, TANG shall be removed from the United States at the conclusion of that prison sentence. As a condition of his plea, TANG must account for the location of all dangerous materials with which he has come into contact.
“If not for an alert Wallingford Police officer, this prosecution may very well have occurred following a very tragic event, not prior to one being committed,” stated Acting United States Attorney Dannehy. “I want to credit him, and the agents and officers of the FBI, ATF, Connecticut State Police and NYPD for the coordinated law enforcement effort that not only will remove a dangerous individual from the streets for a very long time, but likely has saved the lives of potential victims.”
“Securing the safety and well-being of the residents of our communities is the number one priority of law enforcement,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “Thanks to the quick action of the dedicated men and women involved in all aspects of this investigation – federal, state, and local – the potential for serious harm was averted.”
TANG has been detained since his arrest on January 29, 2008.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Haven and New York field offices, the New York City Police Department, the Wallingford Police Department, the Connecticut State Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Henry K. Kopel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and Assistant United States Attorneys Marshall Miller and Evan Norris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
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