Accused allegedly tried to buy enough ricin to kill 1400 people
Weirdo poison plot
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.