A Southern California man who allegedly used his family’s Lodi vineyard as a tactical training camp for “civil disorder” pleaded not guilty earlier this month to federal weapons charges.
According to www.pasadenanow.com, 28-year-old Benjamin Jong Ren Hung of San Marino has been charged with one count of conspiracy to transport firearms across state lines and making a false statement in acquisition of firearms.
Hung appeared for arraignment in Los Angeles federal court on Oct. 15, where he pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Hung would face as many as five years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
His trial is expected to begin Dec. 15 in Los Angeles.
In a federal complaint filed in September, prosecutors said Hung drove a white Dodge Ram adorned with flags associated with far-right extremist groups into a crowd of peaceful protesters during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Old Pasadena on May 31.
No one was injured during the protest, the complaint said. Pasadena police officers searched Hung’s truck and found a loaded semi-automatic handgun, several high-capacity magazines with ammunition, an 18-inch machete, $3,200 in cash, a long metal pipe and a megaphone, according to the complaint.
Hung acquired the gun from a friend who had purchased the weapon in Oregon, and then brought it to California. He purchased three other handguns in Oregon earlier this year and amassed other weapons and tactical equipment from suppliers across the country, the complaint states.
Hung is the son of Isaac and Celia Hung, president and secretary, respectively, of 157 California Reserve, Inc.
The couple have owned a vineyard on Davis Road since 2013, of which federal investigators said Hung was using as a training camp to prepare for the engagement in civil disorders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s media statement. They also own and operate an RV park in Bend, Ore., the complaint states.
According to the complaint, Hung used the Davis Road vineyard as a training camp and firing range, and was purchasing firearms and shipping them to Lodi prior to his May 31 arrest.
Investigators searched the vineyard, as well as a home in the Rose Gate neighborhood owned by the Hungs, on Sept. 23.
Hung is being held without bail while his trial is pending, according to www.pasadenanow.com.