NY Teacher, Twin Brother Charged with Paying Students to Make Bombs

A U.S. federal court has indicted a teacher from New York and his twin brother on explosives charges for allegedly stockpiling destructive material at their residence in the Bronx and paying students to make bombs, among other crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Both defendants had been allegedly manufacturing explosives at their residence.

When searching the defendants’ residence, law enforcement recovered the former teacher’s backpack, which contained an index card with handwriting that stated, “UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR,” reveals the DOJ in a press release.

The alleged criminals have been identified as 27-year-old twin brothers Christian and Tyler Toro from the Bronx, New York. ABC News learned from law enforcement that there is no current or active threat at this time in connection with the twins. The charges do not imply any terror-related offenses.

Citing the criminal complaint, DOJ reports:

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.

Several students reportedly told authorities that the former teacher paid at least two students nearly $50 per hour to help him make explosives by breaking apart fireworks and storing in containers the powder that came out. The students visited the Toros’ residence between October 2017 and January 2018, the court documents state.

The DOJ notes that law enforcement searched the twin brothers’ residence on February 15 and found bomb-making materials, including:

(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.

Authorities also found Tyler’s diary, which stated, “I AM HERE 100%, LIVING, BUYING WEAPONS. WHATEVER WE NEED.”

Law enforcement charged Christian with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, and one count of distribution of explosive materials to a minor, which also carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

Meanwhile, Tyler is facing a maximum of ten years for one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device.

ABC News reports that both brothers have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes detectives of the NYPD, reportedly thwarted a potentially deadly attack by the twins.

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