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Man Accused of Truck Attack on Protesters in Pasadena Arrested in Federal Weapons Case

Suspect used family vineyard in Lodi ‘as a training camp to prepare to engage in civil disorders,’ feds say

Published on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | 5:28 pm
 
A truck narrowly misses demonstrators at Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena on May 31, 2020. (Credit: Pasadena Now/James Carbone)

A San Marino man awaiting criminal proceedings after he allegedly attacked a group of protestors in Pasadena in late-May was again arrested Wednesday in connection with a federal case related to illegally obtaining and transporting guns, authorities said.

Federal agents arrested Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, on charges of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and making a false statement in acquisition of firearms, according to U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Ciaran McEvoy.

The case stems from his arrest on May 31, following the alleged truck attack on demonstrators who were protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis at Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, according to Pasadena police and federal prosecutors.

He drove a large 4×4 truck adorned with a Colonial American Flag and a Gadsen Flag emblazoned with a snake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me” as he skidded through the intersection, narrowly missing dozens of protesters, police said at the time.

Officers soon found the truck and arrested the driver, later identified as Hung, on suspicion of assault.

Police noted at the time that a loaded handgun was recovered from his truck. He was released on a $30,000 bond pending legal proceedings.

Local prosecutors filed a count of carrying a loaded firearm in public against Hung on Aug. 13, and an arraignment date was scheduled for Sept. 29, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

The handgun ultimately led to further investigation, and the new federal case, officials said.

Additionally, investigators found “multiple high-capacity magazines loaded with ammunition, an 18-inch machete, $3,200 in cash, a long metal pipe, and a megaphone” inside the truck, McEvoy said in a written statement.

FBI agents determined Hung had obtained the gun from a friend in Oregon, who had acted as a so-called “stray buyer,” authorities allege.

“When the friend purchased the firearm, he falsely represented that he was the actual transferee of the gun, rather than Hung,” McEvoy said. “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.”

Hung is further accused of purchasing at least three additional guns in Oregon, then transporting 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,” McEvoy said.

Hung made his initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles Wednesday, where a judge ordered him held pending a bail hearing on Monday, according to the DOJ. He was scheduled to appear for an arraignment on Oct. 15.

If convicted as charged, Hung could face up to five years in federal prison.

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