Florida Man Tried to Sell Lethal Toxin: Police

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 23, 2014, 9:46 a.m.

Au­thor­it­ies de­tained a 19-year-old Flor­ida res­id­ent for al­legedly at­tempt­ing to sell a bio­lo­gic­al tox­in com­par­able to ri­cin, the Phil­adelphia In­quirer re­ports.

Po­lice ar­res­ted Jesse Korff on Sat­urday for pur­portedly try­ing to sup­ply the tox­in ab­rin to an un­der­cov­er fed­er­al of­ficer who posed as a pro­spect­ive buy­er from Canada in an on­line sting op­er­a­tion. A chem­ic­al as­sess­ment found “a de­tect­able amount” of the leth­al sub­stance, which is de­rived from ros­ary pea plant seeds, in­side candles left at a drop-off point for the al­leged trans­ac­tion.

The at­temp­ted sale re­portedly began on “Black Mar­ket Re­loaded,” a web­site that tries to con­ceal the iden­tit­ies of users through use of an an­onym­ous net­work and the elec­tron­ic cur­rency Bit­coin. Po­lice iden­ti­fied Korff by tra­cing vehicle re­cords for a car they spot­ted at the dropoff point.

“Had this been an ac­tu­al sale to a real cus­tom­er, the con­sequences could have been tra­gic,” fed­er­al pro­sec­utor Paul Fish­man said in re­leased com­ments. “For­tu­nately, an un­der­cov­er law en­force­ment of­ficer pos­ing as a buy­er was able to get a dan­ger­ous chem­ic­al weapon and its al­leged seller off our streets.”

Re­spond­ing last month to a re­quest from the Home­land Se­cur­ity In­vest­ig­a­tions op­er­at­ive for in­form­a­tion on the tox­in, Korff re­portedly said it “comes in a li­quid to put in a drink or in food like the bun of a cheese­bur­ger.”

In a Jan. 13 mes­sage, he al­legedly said: “I guar­an­tee it will work … If you drop the ab­rin in someone’s drink Wed­nes­day he will be dead Fri­day and there is no way to trace it after 24 hours of in­ges­tion.”

When the un­der­cov­er agent asked how phys­i­cian might in­ter­pret a vic­tim’s death, Korff al­legedly replied that the ef­fect of ab­rin would look like “a really bad case of the flu.”

“No doc­tor will sus­pect foul play so there will most likely be no autopsy,” he is said to have ad­ded.

Korff could be sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment and re­ceive a $250,000 pen­alty if he is con­victed of pos­ses­sion and trans­fer of a tox­in for use as a weapon, the Fort My­ers News-Press re­por­ted. A sep­ar­ate con­vic­tion for smug­gling goods from the United States is pun­ish­able by as much as 10 years in pris­on and a pen­alty of up to $250,000.

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