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Man sent to prison for bomb plot

| Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003, 12:00 p.m.

An Arnold man who conspired with others to plant a bomb under the truck of an Upper Burrell man after arguing over a woman was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to three years and one month in prison.

Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill Jr. also ordered Benjamin J. Lloyd, 20, of Ridge Avenue to serve three years probation after his release. Cohill allowed Lloyd to self-report to prison.

Lloyd pleaded guilty in September to charges stemming from a plot to plant a bomb under a truck owned by Thomas Bryan Learn. The bomb was real but it never went off.

On July 1, 2001, Armando F. Spataro confronted Learn at the Spartaco Club in New Kensington and accused him of harassing his girlfriend. Spataro and others threw Learn out of the club and allegedly began plotting to blow up his truck.

Spataro later recruited Lloyd, who used information he found on the Internet to build a crude bomb and planted it on July 4. A cigarette was used as a fuse. Special agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms matched DNA taken from the cigarette to Lloyd.

In addition to Spataro, 22, of Union Avenue, Harrison Township, and Lloyd, a federal grand jury also indicted Matthew T. Gaudy, 21, of Woodmont Avenue, Arnold; Raymond A. Wesner, 26, of Custer Avenue, Vandergrift; and Eddy J. Tavarez Jr., of Freeport Road, New Kensington.

They face a variety of charges including conspiracy, possession of firearms, making false statements and obstruction of justice, according to the indictment.

The indictment also states Spataro and Wesner later traveled to New York City, where they used intimidation, physical force, threats and corruption to convince others to provide false information to investigators, the indictment said.

Spataro has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Gaudy and Tavarez are awaiting trial, and Wesner is scheduled to plead guilty today before Cohill. All three are free on $10,000 bond.

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