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Brothers Indicted on New Pipe-Bombing Charges

July 03, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A federal grand jury handed up an indictment Wednesday altering the charges against two brothers arrested last month after a remote-control pipe bomb exploded in one of their cars near the Santa Ana campaign office of Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove).

Hai Duc Le, 34, and his brother Hien Duc Le, 33, are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

Hai Duc Le is still charged under the Patriot Act with using a weapon of mass destruction. He is also still charged -- though not under the act -- with carrying and using a destructive device. Under the new indictment, Hai Duc Le is also charged with attempted arson, possession of an unregistered firearm -- in this case, a pipe bomb -- and illegal making of a destructive device, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Kevin Smith.

Hai Duc Le's younger brother was charged by the grand jury with accessory after the fact, a count related to the alleged illegal making of the bomb, and obstruction of justice for allegedly concealing evidence, Smith said.

The brothers were arrested after a bomb made with PVC pipe and filled with roofing nails exploded June 15 in Hai Duc Le's car, leaving him with severe burns on his hands and torso. He is expected to survive, but it may be months before he can appear in court.

Hai Duc Le's car was parked in a strip mall where Sanchez has her Orange County office. The investigation is continuing into whether Sanchez or a Vietnamese cafe was the intended target. Police said the congresswoman was helping a Le family member with an immigration matter.

Craig Wilke, the public defender representing Hai Duc Le, said he had not seen the indictment and could not comment.

The attorney for the younger brother could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But in a failed bid to get Hien Duc Le released on bail, his lawyer argued that the older brother was trying to kill himself and that his client is only guilty of sharing a bedroom with his brother.

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