Former Soldier Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Illegally Transporting Grenades To The Bronx
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ANTHONY CIBELLI pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to the unlicensed transportation of grenades. He was charged in February 2012 in connection with his theft of two grenades and other weapons that were the property of the United States military. CIBELLI pled guilty to an Information before United States Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Grenades are lethal weaponry that are meant for soldiers doing battle in service of their country, and they have no place in a residential community. Fortunately, no harm was caused, and Anthony Cibelli will be punished for illegally bringing grenades into the Bronx– a crime that could have led to fatal consequences.”
According to allegations in the Complaint, the Information, and statements made during CIBELLI’s plea allocution today:
CIBELLI served in the Army until 2010, when he was discharged from active duty. On March 31, 2010, CIBELLI arranged for two grenades and various other items to be transported from Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, to his residence in the Bronx. On December 23, 2011, law enforcement officers searched CIBELLI’s Bronx residence, which 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, several rounds of ammunition, and 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, where he had been assigned for military service, and that, on the morning of December 23, 2011, he panicked when the police arrived at his residence and placed the grenades onto the roof outside the window of his bedroom. CIBELLI further explained 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, 25, of the Bronx, New York, pled guilty to one count of transporting destructive devices, namely, an M-67 fragmentation grenade and an M-84 flash-bang grenade, from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to the Bronx, without a license or the required authorization. CIBELLI faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, and will be sentenced by United States District Judge Harold Baer, Jr., on October 16, 2012, at 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the New York-based Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), especially those JTTF members from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department, 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 and Jason B. Smith are in charge of the prosecution.