Ricin accused ‘bought poison on dark web from FBI’

The man allegedly tried to buy 500mg of ricin on the "dark web". Picture: Getty

The man allegedly tried to buy 500mg of ricin on the "dark web". Picture: Getty

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A FAMILY man ordered enough deadly poison on the “dark web” to kill 1,400 people then set about finding a rabbit, chinchilla or other “pocket-sized pet” to test it on, a court heard.

Father-of-two Mohammed Ali, 31, allegedly tried to buy 500mg of ricin worth $500 (£320) from a US dealer called Dark Mart and Psychochem.

The software programmer did not know the man with whom he had been communicating on the internet black market was an undercover FBI agent known as Peter posing as a ricin supplier.

Under the username Weirdos 0000, Ali allegedly approached Dark Mart in January with a private message on the dark web, which has been described as the “underground of the internet” and cannot be navigated with search engines such as Google.

Ali wrote: “Hi, would you be able to make me some ricin and send it to the UK?”

In a series of encrypted chats they discussed details including the price of a lethal dose, discounts for bulk orders and repeat purchases, and ricin’s “shelf life”, jurors were told.

At one point Ali asked: “How do I test this ricin?” and received the instruction: “You must test it on a rodent.”

Peter had already alerted UK authorities who let the deal run its course, jurors were told.

On 10 February, Ali took delivery of a toy car with “special batteries” at the home he shared with his wife and two young sons in Prescot Road, Liverpool.

Instead of ricin, the five concealed packets contained a harmless powder and the toy was covered in a “unique marker” which sticks to skin on contact and can be seen under a UV light, the court heard.

When police swooped to arrest Ali they seized the opened package from his home office, his computer and mobile phone.

The computer showed he had begun searching Google in October last year for poisons such as abrin, ricin and cyanide.

Records showed that on 4 February – days before the delivery – he made a payment of 2.1849 Bitcoins, the online currency, jurors were told.

He had made a list on his computer notepad which included the entries “paid ricin guy” and “get pet to murder”.

After receiving the delivery, Ali searched Google for “pocket-sized pets”, “animal rescue centre”, “chinchillas Liverpool” and “rabbit rehome – adopt an unwanted bunny from a rescue centre”, the jury was told.

Ali’s mobile showed Google and Yahoo searches for “how to make ricin” and “what poison kills you quick, is foolproof, easily found/made, easily concealed and hard to detect”.

Prosecutor Sally Howes QC told jurors a 100mg dose is enough to kill up to 280 people within three to five days, while 500mg can kill between 700 and 1,400.

Ms Howes told the jury police found no evidence to suggest Ali had any association with terrorist activities or organisations.

She said his defence is likely to rely on an assessment that Ali has Asperger’s traits.

The Old Bailey trial continues.

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