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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bronx Men Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Explosives Charges

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, (“NYPD”), announced that CHRISTIAN TORO and TYLER TORO have been charged in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in connection with their stockpiling of explosive materials and manufacture of destructive devices at their residence in the Bronx.  Both defendants were presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman in Manhattan federal court this afternoon and detained. 

As alleged in the Complaint[1]:

On or about December 4, 2017, a bomb threat was called into a high school in Harlem, New York (the “School”).  Shortly after a student was arrested in connection with that incident, CHRISTIAN TORO, who was a teacher at the School, resigned.  After CHRISTIAN TORO’s resignation, TYLER TORO returned to the School a laptop computer (the “Laptop”) that the School had provided to CHRISTIAN TORO for use in connection with his employment.  A School employee found, on the Laptop, a copy of a book that provides instructions for, among other things, manufacturing explosive devices.

Law enforcement agents subsequently interviewed multiple students at the School, who indicated that at least two students at the School had visited CHRISTIAN TORO’s residence (the “Residence”), where CHRISTIAN TORO would pay them approximately $50 per hour to break apart fireworks and store the powder that came out of the fireworks in containers.

On February 15, 2018, law enforcement agents conducted a search of the Residence pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant.  In a bedroom identified as shared by CHRISTIAN TORO and TYLER TORO, law enforcement agents recovered, among other items, (i) approximately 20 pounds of iron oxide; (ii) approximately five pounds of aluminum powder; (iii) a substance appearing to be thermite, mixed from iron oxide and aluminum powder; (iv) approximately five pounds of potassium nitrate; (v) a glass jar containing explosive powder; and (vi) a cardboard box containing firecrackers.  In addition, law enforcement agents found a handwritten diary labeled with TYLER TORO’s name, which stated, among other things, “WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE” and “I AM HERE 100%, LIVING, BUYING WEAPONS.  WHATEVER WE NEED.”  Law enforcement agents also recovered a backpack, identified as belonging to CHRISTIAN TORO, containing an index card with handwriting reading “UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR.”

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CHRISTIAN TORO, 27, of the Bronx, New York, is charged in the Complaint with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5822, 5861(f), and 5871 and 18 U.S.C. § 2, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of distribution of explosive materials to a minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 842(d)(1), which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  TYLER TORO, also 27 and of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, in violation of 26 U.S.C. §§ 5822, 5861(f), and 5871 and 18 U.S.C. § 2, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists principally of agents of the FBI and detectives of the NYPD.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Hanft is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
18-052
Updated February 15, 2018