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Press Release

Bronx Men Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Explosives Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CHRISTIAN TORO and TYLER TORO pled guilty to manufacturing and possessing a destructive device, and conspiring to do so, in connection with their stockpiling of explosive materials and manufacture of a destructive device.  Both defendants pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.  They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, 2019, CHRISTIAN TORO at 11:00 a.m. and TYLER TORO at 2:00 p.m.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As admitted in court today, Christian Toro and Tyler Toro sought to build a destructive device that could have caused great damage.  Christian Toro used a minor student to assist him in this endeavor.  Thanks to the excellent work of the FBI and the NYPD, no one was injured as a result of this grave conduct, and the defendants now await sentencing for their crimes.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint, the Indictment, and statements made during court proceedings:

Between approximately October 2017 and February 2018, CHRISTIAN TORO and TYLER TORO conspired to build and possess a destructive device at their residence in the Bronx, New York (the “Residence”).  CHRISTIAN TORO, a former teacher at a high school in Harlem, New York (the “School”), paid students from the School for their assistance in manufacturing the destructive device, doling out approximately $50 per hour in return for the students’ work dismantling fireworks and storing the explosive powder contained within those fireworks in containers.  CHRISTIAN TORO also had on his School laptop a copy of a book that provided instructions for, among other things, manufacturing explosive devices.

On February 15, 2018, law enforcement agents searched the Residence pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant.  In a bedroom shared by CHRISTIAN TORO and TYLER TORO, law enforcement agents recovered numerous components for use in building a destructive device and other dangerous substances, including: (i) a glass jar containing low explosive powder; (ii) a strip of magnesium metal; (iii) approximately twenty pounds of iron oxide; (iv) approximately five pounds of aluminum powder; (v) a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum powder, the key ingredients for thermite; (vi) approximately five pounds of potassium nitrate; (vii) a cardboard box containing firecrackers; and (viii) metal spheres, which can be used as fragmentation for a bomb.

Also in the Residence, 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.”  Agents also recovered a page inside a notebook found in the Residence labeled “Operation Flash,” with a ledger appearing to delineate the hours worked and payment owed to one of the School’s students.

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CHRISTIAN TORO, 28, and TYLER TORO, 28, both of the Bronx, New York, each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to manufacture and unlawfully possess a destructive device, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of unlawfully possessing a destructive device, 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 the defendants’ sentences will be determined by Judge Berman. 

U.S. Attorney Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which principally consists of agents from the FBI and detectives from the New York City Police Department.

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

Updated November 26, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-412