San Marino man accused of driving truck into Black Lives Matters protest freed on $10-million bond
A San Marino man accused of intentionally driving a truck into a crowd of Pasadena Black Lives Matter protesters and charged with conspiring to violate firearms laws will be released after his parents put up a $10-million property bond and he surrendered his stock of firearms, authorities said.
U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson signed an order that Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, who is accused of collecting weapons and building a training camp for civil disorder, will be placed on electronic monitoring and subject to drug testing after his release once federal authorities take control of the bond and an array of firearms discovered at his homes in San Marino and Lodi.
Hung drove a Dodge Ram truck flying three large flags related to right-wing extremist groups — a “Thin Blue Line” flag, a Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow flag, and an original 13 states “Betsy Ross” American flag — into the crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in the Old Pasadena shopping district in May, prosecutors said.
In court documents, federal prosecutors have shown Hung’s ties to anti-government extremists and his discussions about targeting Black Lives Matters protesters. Hung’s family owns a winery in Lodi and a recreation vehicle park in Oregon. Records showed Hung was still in the federal detention center in downtown Los Angeles on Friday morning.
Hung was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and making a false statement in relation to the acquisition of firearms. According to an affidavit, he had collected weapons and equipment from suppliers across the country and turned his family’s Northern California vineyard into a training camp “to prepare to engage in civil disorders.”
Pasadena police first arrested Hung on May 31 on suspicion of attempted assault with a deadly weapon after he intentionally drove into a crowd of protesters peacefully demonstrating against racial injustice, according to an FBI affidavit filed with the criminal complaint.
These 13 photos show protests in downtown Los Angeles after the Minneapolis man was killed by police.
About 150 protesters had gathered at an intersection when a police sergeant “saw the truck accelerate rapidly as it drove toward the crowd, and he saw the protesters, including two plainclothes PPD detectives, sprint out of the truck’s way to avoid being run over,” Special Agent Diamond Outlaw said.
When police searched Hung’s truck, they found a loaded semiautomatic handgun, various loaded high-capacity magazines, an 18-inch machete, $3,200 in cash, a megaphone and a long metal pipe. He was charged in L.A. County Superior Court with a misdemeanor for carrying a loaded firearm, but not in relation to the attempted assault on the crowd.
A friend purchased the firearm that had been in Hung’s truck for him in Oregon and transported it to California, prosecutors said. Hung’s friend falsely represented that he was the transferee of the gun instead of Hung, according to an FBI affidavit. Hung kept it at his home in San Marino, and bought at least three other firearms in Oregon and transported them to California earlier this year, documents show.
Times staff writer Leila Miller contributed to this report.
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