Ac­cused al­legedly tried to buy enough ricin to kill 1400 peo­ple

Weirdo poi­son plot

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CLAIRE DUF­FIN

A COM­PUTER pro­gram­mer call­ing him­self “Weirdo” bought enough ricin from an un­der­cover FBI agent to kill 1400 peo­ple in a Break­ing Badin­spired plot, a Bri­tish court has heard.

Fa­ther- of- two Mo­hammed Am­mer Ali, 31, is ac­cused of try­ing to buy 500mg of the lethal poi­son, which he planned to test on a rab­bit or “pocket- sized” an­i­mal adopted from a res­cue cen­tre.

The court heard

Ali had or­dered the ricin from a dealer us­ing the “dark web” – web­sites that can be used anony­mously – but walked into a trap laid by the FBI.

The pro­gram­mer be­gan search­ing for the toxin in Jan­uary un­der the name “Weirdos 0000” be­fore he was traced by an FBI agent, the court heard.

He al­legedly paid $ 500 in Bit­coins, a dig­i­tal cur­rency, for five vials of the poi­son, which is 6000 times more deadly than cyanide, to be de­liv­ered to his home in Liver­pool hid­den in­side a toy car. He was ar­rested by of­fi­cers from the UK Counter- Ter­ror­ism Unit and charged with at­tempt­ing to pos­sess a chem­i­cal weapon. He de­nies the charge.

Jurors at the Old Bai­ley yesterday heard po­lice had found no ev­i­dence he had any as­so­ci­a­tion with ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties.

Open­ing the case, Sally Howes QC said: “This was not a gen­uine trans­ac­tion, but he thought he was go­ing to be pos­sess­ing ricin.”

The court heard how on Jan­uary 11 an FBI agent had re­ceived an en­crypted mes­sage on a web­site called Evo­lu­tion Mar­ket­place, the dark web equiv­a­lent of Ama­zon.

A user called Weirdos 0000 asked the agent: “Hi, would you be able to make me some Ricin and send it to the UK?’’

Miss Howes said: “Weirdos 0000 is a name at­trib­ut­able to the de­fen­dant.”

She said ricin was “the per­fect poi­son” be­cause it does not show up in post- mortems: “If in­haled or in­jected, 100mg of ricin, one vial in this case, is suf­fi­cient to kill 140 to 280 peo­ple. The 500mg could have killed 700 to 1400 peo­ple.”

The pair talked be­tween Jan­uary 13 and Fe­bru­ary 6. Ali then ne­go­ti­ated a bulk- buy dis­count, al­legedly promis­ing to be a “re­peat cus­tomer”.

He also wanted the ricin split into “Break­ing Bad- style” small vials, a ref­er­ence to the TV se­ries about a drug dealer who uses ricin to kill ri­vals.

The “ricin” ar­rived at the home Ali shared with his wife and two young sons on Fe­bru­ary 10. The five pack­ets con­tained a harm­less pow­der.

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