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Man accused of driving truck into California protesters used vineyard as "training camp"

Protests continue nationwide
Protests continue nationwide 01:42

A man who was arrested after allegedly driving a truck through a crowd of peaceful demonstrators during a May protest used his family's vineyard as a "training camp," federal authorities said. Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, of San Marino, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and to make a false statement in acquisition of firearms, CBS Los Angeles reports.

On May 31, Hung "intentionally drove his Dodge Ram truck adorned with flags associated with right-wing extremist groups into a crowd of individuals peacefully protesting against racial injustice in police practices on a street in Pasadena," according to an FBI agent's affidavit filed with the federal criminal complaint.

A day of protests in Pasadena.
Protesters march along Fair Oaks Ave. in Old Town after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis in Pasadena on Sunday, May 31, 2020.  Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

"The victims were forced to run out of the way to avoid being struck," according to the affidavit.

Nobody was hurt. Hung hasn't been charged with assaulting the protesters.

However, Pasadena police who arrested Hung found a loaded semiautomatic handgun and several high-capacity magazines in the truck, according to the affidavit.

They also found an 18-inch machete, $3,200 in cash, a long metal pipe and a megaphone, according to the affidavit.

Prosecutors contend that Hung illegally got the handgun from a friend who bought it for him in Oregon by falsely claiming to be buying it for himself.

In March, Hung also bought at least three other guns that he moved from Oregon to California, prosecutors allege.

"Hung also 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," the affidavit said.

Hung was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and to make a false statement in acquisition of firearms. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

At his initial appearance, Hung was ordered detained pending a hearing on Monday to determine his bail status, CBS San Francisco reported. His arraignment has been scheduled for Oct. 15.

It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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