Virginia prosecutors have reportedly denied bond requests for former Virginia Tech freshman Yunsong Zhao who was recently arrested and charged with “possession or transportation of certain firearms by certain persons.”
The 19-year-old former student took the stand on Thursday to answer questions from his defense attorney, Jason Wolfrey, according to WSET. Zhao requested for a $5,000 bond, arguing that the police did not find a 30 round magazine, the report continued to note.
The judge said that the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detainer was the one who ultimately stopped him from granting Zhao his request for bond.
“It is not illegal for Zhao to own the two separate items,” the search warrant reads, referencing the AR-15 rifle that he checked into the student gun locker in the school and the magazine. “If Zhao inserts a 30 [round] magazine into the rifle (changing the status of the rifle to assault firearm) is when it becomes illegal for him to possess due to his Student Visa status.”
Zhao’s defense attorney, however, argued that it’s legal for the student to have a 20 round magazine, which Wolfrey claims to the be all that the authorities have recovered from him.
The defense attorney told the judge that the Chinese embassy in the United States is planning to help Zhao in his case, and that his mother is also flying from China to assist her son.
Zhao, who was enrolled in Virginia Tech as a student for the past six months, was arrested earlier this week. It was reported that the student had attempted to buy 5,000 rounds of ammunition. Investigators also found Zhao researching bulletproof vests and found he purchased an old police car that still bears some police markings that he equipped with a special bumper.
He was immediately expelled from the school after his arrest. The prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that after being expelled, he is now technically in the country illegally since he is no longer a student of any school.
They also claimed that Zhao made phone calls while in jail and was heard saying he would have a “victorious return to China,” further adding he was famous, WSET reported.
Before his arrest, police were notified of a 30 round magazine Zhao purchased on January 22. Then on Friday, January 26, university police asked the Blacksburg Police Department to follow Zhao to a local shooting range after he checked out the AR-15 rifle that he had stored in the school’s gun locker, Roanoke Times reported.
The charges that Zhao is facing are considered a Class 6 felony that leads to a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The student is currently being detained at Montgomery County Jail without bail, according to reports. He is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing for his charges on March 1.