Bronx Brothers Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Explosives Charges

Reporters were camped out late in the evening after two brothers were arrested in a plot to bomb a Manhattan school. Photo by David Greene

Two Brothers Charged in School Bomb Plot

by David Greene

A day after a Florida teen went on a shooting rampage at a school and killing 17 students and teachers, a New York City teacher and his twin brother were arrested at their Pelham Parkway home– after more than 30 pounds of bomb-making chemicals were discovered in a closet.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, February 15, police and FBI agents stormed the home of Christian and Tyler Toro, both 27, at 2121 Matthews Avenue, where investigators discovered the chemicals, simulated weapons and a diary, containing the chilling title: “Operation Flash.”

The pair were quickly taken into custody and Matthews Avenue was shutdown to traffic the entire day as the chemicals were carefully removed from the 6-story building.

Police removed more than 30 pounds of chemicals from an apartment at 2121 Matthews Avenue. Photo by David Greene

One resident of the building explained, “We knew they were from the FBI, they knocked on our door. But we didn’t know about the bomb-sniffing dogs. It’s crazy.”

During a 20-minute press conference at 1 Police Plaza later that night, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Berman, FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney and NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller.

O’Neil told reporters, “I think it’s very important that we brief you this evening on the arrest of two individuals by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, on a number of federal charges relating to explosives.

According to O’Neil, the investigation began with a December 4, 2017 bomb threat made to charter school in Upper Manhattan, for which a 15 year-old was apparently arrested. Members of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division continued to investigate the incident.

O’Neil added that the break in the case came on January 10, when teacher Christian Toro “abruptly” quit his job at Democracy Prep High School and later returned the laptop with the incriminating evidence that led to a search warrant and the arrests.

New York City teacher Christian Toro, who was charged Thursday with possession of bomb-making materials. (Facebook)

“In the course of that search,” O’Neil continued, “which was conducted beginning this morning and went on through much of the day, over 30 pounds of chemicals which taken together, in certain combinations constitute explosive precursor materials were recovered.”

Officials reportedly discovered 20 pounds of iron oxide and five pounds each of aluminum powder and potassium nitrate and an undetermined amount of gunpowder and fireworks.

“This case likely saved many, many lives,” Mayor de Blasio stated, adding, “I also want to say that the staff at the school did something very important. There work was crucial here as well.”

The pair were charged in a 2-count federal indictment of explosive possession and also charged with giving explosives to minors, as the pair allegedly paid two teens to extract gunpowder from fireworks.

In briefly mentioning the diary, Miller read one chilling passage, “Under the full moon, the small ones will know terror.”

O’Neil concluded, “There is no reason to believe at this point that there is any remaining threat to New York City or any school.”

According to Berman, the pair were brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman, where the two pled not-guilty. A bail hearing for Christian will be held on February 21, and a preliminary hearing for the pair is scheduled for March 19.

The arrests comes two days after Ahmad Khan Rahimi was sentenced in the September 17, 2016 detonation of a pressure-cooker bomb that injured more than two dozen people in Manhattan. Rahimi was given two life terms.

Click here for the link to the indictment and the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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