New York City man sentenced to 6 years in prison for paying students to build bombs

Christian Toro provided materials to students and paid them $50 to build them.

May 22, 2019, 6:25 PM

A former New York City teacher was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison for providing the materials and paying for teenagers to build explosives, prosecutors announced on Wednesday.

Christian Toro pleaded guilty earlier this year to Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard M. Berman that he instructed unsuspecting students from a New York City high school where he used to work to assist in building the bombs. Toro, 28, and his twin brother, Tyler Toro, were busted by federal investigators in February 2018 after a court-authorized search of their Bronx, New York, home.

"Today’s sentence serves as a message that building and stockpiling destructive devices are grave offenses in and of themselves," said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in a statement. "Thanks to the outstanding work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in eliminating this destructive threat in its nascent stages, Christian Toro and his brother were apprehended before they could carry out any attack with the device they were building."

Christian Toro stored information on how to manufacture explosive devices on his school-issued laptop. He then paid the students $50 an hour to take apart fireworks and store the explosive powder contained within them in containers, prosecutors said. The former teacher encouraged one of those students to call in a bomb threat to the school in December 2017, prosecutors said.

During the search of the Toro twins' bedroom, investigators found a slew of explosive-making materials, including a strip of magnesium metal, approximately 20 pounds of iron oxide, approximately 5 pounds of aluminum powder, a mixture of iron oxide and aluminum powder, key ingredients for thermite (used in incendiary bombs) and approximately 5 pounds of potassium nitrate, prosecutors said. There was also a notebook with the label "Operation Flash" in their room.

Tyler Toro also pleaded guilty and is expected to be sentenced on May 29.

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