A San Marino man who drove a pick-up truck affixed with a train horn through a crowd of protesters in Pasadena last year while spewing exhaust on them now faces nearly three years in federal prison on a slate of conspiracy and illegal weapons charges.

Benjamin Jong Ren Hung, 28, in a plea agreement admitted to working with a co-conspirator to lie to gun dealers in Oregon to obtain weapons illegal in California and transport them across state lines, buying five handguns. Last year, he lied again, telling the Oregon dealers he lived in Washington when he bought four rifles and a shotgun.

In this way, Hung built an arsenal of 14 guns illegal in California over seven years, prosecutors for the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday. In addition to the rifles and the shotgun, the FBI seized three unregistered short-barreled semi automatic rifles from his home in Lodi after he was arrested on May 31, 2020. Police also took a semi-automatic Glock 26 handgun Hung was armed with on the day of the protest in Old Pasadena.

Authorities seized a large cache of weapons and ammunition allegedly belonging to Benjamin Jong Ren Hung of San Marino, who is charged with driving a pickup truck into a group a protesters on May 31, 2020, in Old Town Pasadena. (Photo courtesy of US District Court for Central California) 

That day, Hung’s customized Dodge pick-up truck — on a raised suspension, with a license plate reading “WAR R1G” and flags related to right-wing extremist groups — was seen barreling toward about 100 protesters gathered on Colorado Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue, who were demonstrating against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Hung sped through the intersection, nearly clipping some of the people there, while dark, black exhaust poured out of his tailpipe. Some witnesses said Hung was heard yelling through a megaphone just before he charged at the group.

No one was injured, but Pasadena police arrested him almost immediately on attempted vehicular assault charges. Prosecutors later dropped those charges.

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According to an affidavit filed in September 2020, inside Hung’s truck police found the megaphone, the loaded Glock, a machete, thousands of dollars in cash, and a long metal pipe.

Prosecutors said Hung never took the Glock out during the incident — the weapon “remained inside a closed fanny pack beneath the middle seat,” according to the plea agreement.

They wrote that the incident unfolded when Hung was stuck behind a line of cars approaching the intersection. The other cars turned around, but Hung continued, accelerating as he approached. He stopped short of the intersection, then a protester threw an object at the truck. That’s when a woman riding with Hung inside told him to “horn ’em,” referring to the train horn.

Hung sounded the train horn, then sped through the crowd, making a left turn, while the exhaust fumes blew.

Prosecutors alleged Hung scouted the area days before the protest was held. They said he later bragged to friends about his attempt to attack the protesters.

After the incident at the intersection, several witnesses said on social media they saw Hung’s truck in the days before. A passenger inside asked some about where they could find Pasadena protests.

In the same affidavit, prosecutors accused Hung of using his family’s vineyard in Lodi as a training camp to prepare for “civil disorders.”

According to the DOJ, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Los Angeles was involved in the investigation into Hung. The DOJ’s Terrorism and Export Crimes Section assisted in his prosecution.

The plea deal means Hung avoids a total potential sentence of 105 years in prison and more than $2 million in fines.

He was charged with 11 felonies: They included conspiracy, transporting and receiving firearms across state lines, making false statements during gun purchases, and possessing unregistered firearms.

A DOJ spokesman said Hung’s sentencing date has not been scheduled yet.

Attorneys for Hung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.