NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former New York City high school teacher and his brother on Monday pleaded guilty to attempting to build a bomb using explosive materials stashed in their apartment, federal prosecutors announced.
Christian Toro, the former teacher, and his brother Tyler Toro, both 28, were arrested in February and charged with stockpiling materials for making bombs in their shared apartment in the city’s Bronx borough. They pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and possessing a destructive device conspiracy before U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
Amy Gallicchio, a lawyer for Christian Toro, and Bryan Konoski, a lawyer for Tyler Toro, could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a criminal complaint filed at the time of the brothers’ arrest, prosecutors said law enforcement agents who searched their apartment found explosive substances and a backpack with an index card reading, “Under the full moon the small ones will know terror.”
Agents also found a book that appeared to be a diary with Tyler Toro’s name on it, with a line saying, “WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE,” the complaint said.
Christian Toro was a teacher at a high school in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood before resigning last year. Following the resignation, Tyler Toro returned to the school a computer that had been provided to his brother, and staff found instructions on it for building explosive devices, according to the complaint.
Investigators said Christian Toro told them he had found the document while researching the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and never read it or had built a bomb, according to the complaint.
About a week later, investigators interviewed students at the school who indicated that at least two students there had been paid about $50 an hour to break apart fireworks and store powder for the two men, the criminal complaint said.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler