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PREMIUM UPDATE: Feds charge man with using Lodi-area vineyard as right-wing militia training camp

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Screen Shot 2020-09-24 at 6.50.26 AMA Woodbridge-area vineyard was used as a training camp for right-wing counter protestors to prepare to engage in civil disorders, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Officials have arrested attorney Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, of San Marino, and charged him charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and to make a false statement in acquisition of firearms.

According to the U.S Attorney’s statement, Hung, was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 23, and charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and to make a false statement in acquisition of firearms. Hung was detained pending a Monday hearing to determine his bail status. Hung’s arraignment is scheduled for October 15.

 

According to the  statement, Pasadena Police officers arrested Hung on May 31 after he intentionally drove his pickup truck into a crowd of protesters demonstrating in Old Town Pasadena. The crowd scattered as the truck approached, and no injuries were reported in the incident, the affidavit states.

 

From the U.S. Attorney’s statement:

“During a search of Hung’s truck on May 31, police found a loaded semiautomatic handgun, multiple high-capacity magazines loaded with ammunition, an 18-inch machete, $3,200 in cash, a long metal pipe, and a megaphone, according to the affidavit.

Hung allegedly acquired the firearm from a friend who purchased it for him in Oregon and then transported it to California. When the friend purchased the firearm, he falsely represented that he was the actual transferee of the gun, rather than Hung, the affidavit states. Hung and his friend then allegedly conspired to transport the firearm to California, where Hung kept the firearm at his San Marino home prior to bringing it to the May 31 demonstration.

The affidavit further alleges that in March Hung purchased at least three additional firearms in Oregon and then transported them to California. He also allegedly amassed other firearms and tactical equipment from suppliers throughout the United States and used his family’s vineyard in Lodi, California as a training camp to prepare to engage in civil disorders.

Woodbridge area family vineyard used

According to county and state records, the Hung Vineyard is located on a 29.57-acre parcel at 21200 North Davis Road and is owned by 157 California Reserve, Inc. Isaac Hung is listed as President of the corporation and, Celia Hung, Secretary.

If convicted, Hung would face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

This matter was investigated by the FBI’s Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force and Civil Rights squads and the Pasadena Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frances S. Lewis of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and David T. Ryan of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.

More details in complaint as reported by NBC News,

In the complaint, an FBI agent named Diamond Outlaw said that Hung was arrested after he accelerated a Dodge Ram adorned with several flags embraced by right-wing extremists and a license plate that read “WAR R1G” into a crowd in Pasadena, northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The 150 or so protesters were in the Old Town section of Pasadena on the afternoon of May 31.

The agent says the protesters, who were chanting “Black lives matter here,” ran out of the way to avoid being hit. After being detained by local police, Hung told authorities that he felt threatened after protesters threw things at his truck, according to the complaint.

No evidence corroborated Hung’s account, the agent says, and officers who searched his truck found a loaded Glock handgun, a 15-round magazine, a machete, an 18-inch metal pipe, a megaphone and $3,200 in cash, according to the affidavit.

Hung was charged with attempted assault with a deadly weapon in state Superior Court. Court records show that he posted $30,000 bond June 12. An arraignment and plea are scheduled for Tuesday.

The records don’t list a lawyer, and Hung couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday night.

According to the federal complaint, Hung stayed in San Marino, near Pasadena, and Lodi, south of Sacramento, where his family has a vineyard.

The complaint describes the vineyard as a “tactical training camp” and shooting range that Hung and others planned on using amid a spike in conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a text message cited in the complaint, Hung is alleged to have called it “our very own shoot house.”

In a photo included in the complaint, Hung can be seen wearing a shirt with the logo of the 3 Percenters, a far-right militia group.

The complaint alleges that Hung was stockpiling weapons. A photo that authorities said they obtained from his iCloud account that was included in the documents shows assault rifles, semi-automatic pistols, magazines, ammunition, a tactical vest, binoculars, a rifle scope and other equipment.

The agents say the guns were likely purchased out of state and kept at the home in San Marino.

Hung was charged with illegally acquiring the Glock found in his truck and buying three out-of-state guns that he brought to California.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hung has a lawyer in his federal case