MANHATTAN U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES CHARGES AGAINST FORMER SOLDIER FOR STEALING GRENADES AND OTHER WEAPONS FROM THE U.S. MILITARY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday February 16, 2012
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of charges against ANTHONY CIBELLI, a former soldier who served two tours of duty in Iraq, in connection with his theft of two grenades and other weapons that were the property of the United States military. CIBELLI was taken into federal custody this morning, and was presented in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein this afternoon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “When Anthony Cibelli allegedly stole lethal weaponry from the U.S. military and carried it to his apartment in the Bronx, he both committed a very serious crime and created a significant danger to the community. This should go without saying, but military grade weapons like grenades and rifle ammunition belong on the battlefield, not in an urban center.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk stated: “Cibelli had a small arsenal in his residence. Our armed forces are issued weapons like these to carry out their mission, not to become personal property after their service. Keeping grenades and ammunition is more than reckless behavior, it is a threat to the safety of the city and the country. The FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force is committed to protecting public safety.”
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly stated: “This past December NYPD officers executed a search warrant in a Bronx apartment and discovered grenades, firearms, and live ammunition. How the explosives found in the apartment made their way from Iraq to a densely populated Bronx neighborhood is of great concern to us, and to the neighborhood residents. I commend the NYPD officers and FBI agents assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, as well as the Bronx District Attorney's office and the U.S. Attorney's office for their work during this investigation.”
The following allegations are based on the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
CIBELLI served in the Army until 2010, when he was discharged from active duty. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, in 2006 and 2008. On March 31, 2010, CIBELLI arranged for various items to be transported from Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, to his residence in the Bronx (the “Residence”). On December 23, 2011, law enforcement officers executed a judicially-authorized search warrant at the Residence that resulted in the recovery of two grenades on the roof outside of the window of CIBELLI’s bedroom and six M-16 30-round magazines. Law enforcement officers also recovered two improvised explosive devices, four firearms, and several rounds of ammunition from the Residence, and observed a number of other items that apparently belonged to the U.S. military.
CIBELLI later admitted to law enforcement officers that he brought the grenades back with him from Iraq, that he panicked when the police arrived at his residence to execute the search warrant, and that he then threw the grenades onto the roof outside the window of his bedroom. CIBELLI told the officers that he transported the grenades and other military items by concealing them in a bag that he placed in a shipping container that was sent to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. CIBELLI retrieved these items at Fort Bragg, and transported them to the Bronx
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CIBELLI, 24, a resident of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of theft of Government property, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of unlicensed transportation of explosives, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), especially those JTTF members from the FBI New York Field Office and the NYPD, and the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorney John P. Cronan is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.