San Marino Man Who Drove Truck into Protesters Agrees to Plead Guilty to Illegally Obtaining, Transporting and Possessing Firearms
LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man who drove his truck into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators last year in Pasadena has agreed to plead guilty to a series of federal firearms offenses, including illegally obtaining and transporting weapons, and possessing short-barreled rifles.
Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, a San Marino resident who also has a home in Lodi, entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors that was filed today in United States District Court. Hung agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony offenses – including conspiracy, transporting and receiving firearms across state lines, making false statements during purchases of firearms, and possession of unregistered firearms – charged in a superseding information that was also filed today.
Hung admitted to participating in a multi-year conspiracy to make false statements to firearms dealers in Oregon and to illegally transport those firearms to California. Hung provided cash to a co-conspirator in Oregon to buy handguns for Hung and to falsely state that the co-conspirator was the actual buyer, rather than Hung. The co-conspirator then delivered the firearms to Hung in California. In his plea agreement, Hung admitted that he engaged in the scheme to obtain the firearms and “evade California’s firearms registration laws.”
Hung also admitted to making false statements to firearms dealers in Washington in connection with his purchase of four rifles and one shotgun in March 2020. When he purchased the firearms, Hung falsely attested that he was a resident of Washington, rather than California, which was material because, as Hung admitted in the plea agreement, “the firearms dealers were not legally permitted to sell firearms to California residents.” Hung also agreed to plead guilty to illegally transporting those firearms to California.
Hung further admitted he illegally possessed three unregistered short-barreled semiautomatic rifles, which authorities seized from his residence in Lodi in September 2020.
In the plea agreement, Hung admitted bringing one of his illegally obtained firearms, a Glock 26 9mm handgun, to counterprotest in Old Town Pasadena against a group who had gathered on May 31, 2020, to protest against inequitable treatment of minorities by police, including the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Hung, who was driving a customized Dodge pickup truck with vanity license plates reading “WAR R1G,” accelerated toward an intersection where the protest was taking place, sounded a train horn installed on the truck, came to a stop, and then continued through the intersection. As he drove past the demonstrators, Hung caused the truck to emit a large amount of exhaust in what is sometimes called “coal rolling.” No protesters were injured during the incident.
Hung was detained by local police following his confrontation with the demonstrators, and the FBI then took over the investigation.
A date for Hung to appear in court to formally enter the guilty pleas has not yet been set.
This matter was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI civil rights squads and the Pasadena Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frances S. Lewis of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and David T. Ryan of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.