Bronx Brothers Arrested for Bomb-making Plot

A New York City Police (NYPD) vehicle seen parked outside of the 44th Precinct in the Bronx. PHOTO: SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

Two Bronx brothers, including one former teacher, were arrested on Thursday for allegedly paying students from a Harlem high school to help them construct bombs in their apartment, authorities said Thursday.

From October 2017 to January of this year, Christian Toro and his brother Tyler allegedly paid at least two students approximately $50 an hour to visit the brothers’ apartment, break apart fireworks and store the powder in containers, according to the complaint from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. Police searched their home on Thursday and found bomb-making materials, including 20 pounds of iron oxide, 5 pounds of aluminum powder and a bag containing metal spheres, according to the complaint.

“We don’t know at this point in the investigation, other than the criminal charges related to the explosives the full breadth of what these materials mean,” said John Miller, New York Police Department deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.

Lawyers for the brothers didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Both of them pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday, according to Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. The Toro brothers were charged with manufacturing a destructive device and Christian Toro was additionally charged with distributing explosive materials to a minor. Neither of the brothers were on the police’s radar before the investigation, Mr. Miller said.

There is no remaining credible threat to New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a briefing on Thursday night. He said the investigation by the NYPD and Federal Bureau of Investigation “likely saved many, many lives.”

Ironically, a bomb threat to the Harlem school—where Mr. Toro was employed—led the police to cracking the case. A student called in a faux bomb threat to the school in early December and police began questioning teachers and students. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Toro resigned, according to the complaint. Tyler then returned Mr. Toro’s work laptop back to the Harlem school, according to the complaint.

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SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, Zolan Kanno-Youngs