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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of California

For Immediate Release

March 13, 2013

Melinda Haag, United States Attorney

Contact: Josh Eaton, Public Information Officer
(612) 664-5611

Berkeley Man Sentenced To Prison For Possessing A Destructive Device

SAN FRANCISCO – Emoru Oboke Obbanya was sentenced March 12, 2013, to 27 months in prison for possessing a destructive device, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Francisco Field Office (FBI).

A federal grand jury indicted Obbanya in September 2011 on a charge of possessing a firearm not identified by a serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i). In March 2012 the grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging Obbanya with additional crimes. Count one of the superseding indictment charged Obbanya with possession of a firearm in the form of components from which a destructive device may be readily assembled, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). Count four of the superseding indictment carried forward the charge from the original indictment of possessing a firearm not identified by a serial number, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 5861(i).

In July 2009, Berkeley Police Department served a search warrant at Obbanya's residence and found in Obbanya's bedroom a loaded firearm – specifically a flare gun that had been converted into an operable .38 caliber handgun. The firearm bore no serial number and had not been registered, and Obbanya had not applied for or received permission from ATF to make the gun. In addition to the altered firearm, the officers found .38 caliber ammunition, and numerous bomb-making materials in Obbanya‘s bedroom

On September 17, 2012, Obbanya entered guilty pleas to counts one and four of the superseding indictment. Specifically, he admitted to possessing explosive components and a converted .38 caliber handgun.

The sentence was handed down by Chief District Court Judge Claudia Wilken. Drew Caputo is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case. The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the ATF and the FBI with the assistance of Berkeley Police Department.

Further Information:

Case #: No. CR 11-0677 CW

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney‘s Office‘s website at

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at

Judges‘ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court‘s website at

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney‘s Office should be directed to Joshua Eaton at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at