Twin brothers from the Bronx have been arrested on terrorism charges in a joint effort from the NYPD and the FBI. Christian and Tyler Toro, 27, were arrested on February 15 and accused of being in possession of bomb-making materials, according to a criminal complaint from New York’s Southern District. According to the documents, police say the brothers were in possession of a vast array of bomb-making materials. The twins will appear in U.S. District Court. Officials have been keen to stress that there is no further threat due to their actions.
Authorities have not said what the brother’s motivations were or if they were influenced by a foreign agent or group. Mayor Bill De Blasio thanked the NYPD and FBI for their role in the investigation saying that their actions likely saved many lives. The brothers were first taken to the 49th precinct where they were handed over to the FBI. Both brothers are pleading not guilty in the case.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Christian Toro Was Arrested on January 31 & Accused of Raping a Minor
The criminal complaint that a diary was found at the apartment and has been attributed to Tyler Toro. That diary detailed a plan referred to as “Operation Flash.” One entry read in all-caps: “WHEN YOU FIND OUT I THREW AWAY ALL EVIDENCE [OF OPERATION CODE NAME “FLASH”] I COULD FIND IN YOUR ROOM, I HOPE THIS DOESN’T TURN INTO A SCENE FROM GOODFELLAS.” In another message he said, “WE ARE TWIN TOROS STRIKE US NOW, WE WILL RETURN WITH NANO THERMITE.” Another read, “If you’re registered as a sex offender, things will be difficult. But I am here 100% living, buying weapons. Whatever we need.”
The documents add that Christian Toro was arrested on January 31 and accused of raping a minor. A card was also found in the apartment on Christian’s backpack with a note that read, “Under the full moon the small ones will know terror.”
You can read the entire criminal complaint against the brothers here:
2. The Twins Were First Interviewed by Authorities Exactly 1 Week Before Their Arrest
Christian Toro was a teacher in Harlem. The criminal complaint says that Christian resigned his position after a December 4 bomb scare took place at his school. A student was arrested in relation to that threat and Christian was also under investigation in relation to that threat. The documents say that upon his brother’s resignation, Tyler returned a city-owned laptop to the school. That computer contained guides on how to make bombs. The documents say Christian and Tyler were first interviewed by authorities on February 8 along with a female relative. They said that they were merely researching the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and hadn’t intended to download any material.
Mayor Bill De Blasio thanked the staff at Christian’s former school for their actions in contacting law enforcement. The school, a charter school, has not been named by authorities.
3. The Twins Graduated From Stony Brook University Together
According to their Facebook pages, the Toro twins both graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and Stony Brook University. Christian went on to study at the Hunter College School of Education. In 2012, Christian was a member of of Teacher for America, a non-profit that seeks to put highly educated teachers in underprivileged schools. On his Facebook page, Christian wrote in his about section:
It’s the devil’s way now
There is no way out
You can SCREAM and you can shout
It is too late now
You have not been!
I’ll always have an explanation for everything…always.
4. Tyler Toro Was Fired as Manager of Shake Shack for ‘Unsatisfactory Job Performance’
On his LinkedIn page, Tyler says that he has been the manager of Shake Shack restaurant since August 2013. A Shake Shack spokesperson contacted Heavy.com to say that, “Shake Shack terminated Tyler Toro for unsatisfactory job performance on January 3, 2018.”
Christian mentions on his page that he worked at Shake Shack until 2012. Tyler says on his Facebook page that he spent a semester in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in Spring 2009.
5. The Pair Are Accused of Paying Christian’s Former Students to Help Remove Gun Powder From Fireworks
The criminal complaint says that the pair are accused of taking apart fireworks to remove gun powder. The documents say that authorities accuse Christian of paying students to extract the gun powder. The station says that at least two students were paid $50 for the chore. The pair lived at 2121 Matthews Avenue in the Bronx close to the Pelham Parkway.
Speaking to ABC New York’s CeFaan Kim, neighbors said that the twins are “polite” and “keep to the themselves.” Those neighbors said that authorities arrived at their apartment building at 5 a.m.