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
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.
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