NYPD Strategic Response Group Officers stands in Times Square one day after after a bomb exploded in The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City on December 12, 2017. On Thursday, twin brothers in Bronx, N.Y. were arrested in an unrelated incident and are accused of attempting to manufacture explosives. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Twin brothers, one of whom a former charter high school teacher, were arrested Thursday on federal charges of stockpiling explosive materials and manufacturing bombs, federal prosecutors said.
Christian and Tyler Toro, both 27, were arrested after law enforcement agents raided the brothers' Bronx apartment and found approximately 20 pounds of iron oxide; five pounds of aluminum powder; a substance appearing to be thermite, mixed from iron oxide and aluminum powder; five pounds of potassium nitrate; a glass jar containing explosive powder; and a cardboard box containing firecrackers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of New York.
Police said they found a notebook with handwriting they believe belongs to Tyler Toro. In the notebook, police found messages that said, "WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE" and "I AM HERE 100%, LIVING, BUYING WEAPONS. WHATEVER WE NEED."
Police also said they found an index card with handwriting they believe belonged to Christian Toro that said, "UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR."
The FBI's criminal complaint against the two brothers states that a bomb threat was called into the school Christian Toro taught at on Dec. 4. A student was arrested in connection with the bomb threat and, shortly after, Christian Toro resigned.
Tyler Toro then returned a school-owned laptop used by his brother for employment purposes. A school technician reviewed the contents on the laptop and found documents with instructions on how to make explosives.
FBI agents interviewed Christian Toro about the content on the laptop and he said he unintentionally downloaded the materials while researching the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. He said he never built a bomb and only read the document's table of contents.
FBI agents also interviewed former students of Christian Toro who said he paid them approximately $50 per hour to "break apart fireworks and store the powder that came out of the fireworks in containers." The students said this occurred between October 2017 and January 2018.
Christian Toro was accused of another serious crime just days before Thursday's arrest.
John J. Miller, the deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD, told the New York Times that Christian Toro was arrested on Jan. 31 for raping a victim under the age of 17 who was a student of his.
"That was something that developed as a result of the investigation of the bomb scare to the school," Miller said.
Christian Toro was charged with with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device and and one count of distribution of explosive materials to a minor. Both charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Tyler Toro was charged with one count of unlawfully manufacturing a destructive device, which also carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.