Tibet Ergul and Chance Brannon, two 20-something-year-old men from Orange County, were arrested in June of 2023 for allegedly launching an improvised explosive device into a local Planned Parenthood medical center. They could face a statutory maximum federal prison sentence of 20 years if convicted.
Attacking Property that Affects Interstate Commerce
According to the complaint, Ergul and Brannon, an active duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, allegedly attacked the Costa Mesa clinic in March of 2022. The clinic's security videos show that two men wearing hooded sweatshirts and face masks came up to the facility doors at around 1 a.m., lit a device, and threw it at the front door of the building. The device is considered to be a Molotov cocktail - a glass container filled with gasoline and other materials - which resulted in a fire when it hit the wall beside a glass door. The fire then spread up the wall and across the ceiling above the glass door. The clinic was forced to close and cancel several dozen appointments.
The defendants are charged with using an explosive or fire to damage real property affecting interstate commerce. Under this federal law, if a person maliciously damages, destroys, or even tries to damage or destroy a building or other real property used in interstate commerce with fire or an explosive, they will be punished with at least five years in federal prison.
To be involved in interstate commerce, a business must transact or transport products, services, or money across state borders. In this case, the Planned Parenthood building is part of interstate commerce, and thus if convicted, the defendants could face anywhere from 5 to 20 years in prison for their actions.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
All defendants are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But what happens to your reputation when you are accused of a crime? Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group knows how damaging false accusations can be for a person, especially for someone in the military. A strong defense is more than important, and it is paramount to your success. Call 818-325-0579 today for a free consultation.