A computer geek has been found guilty of trying to buy deadly ricin poison from the Dark Web after being inspired by the hit US television series Breaking Bad.
An Old Bailey jury deliberated for around five and a half hours to convict software programmer Mohammed Ali, 31, of attempting to possess a chemical weapon between January 10 and February 12.
Under the username Weirdos 0000, Ali struck a deal with a supplier on the internet black market to buy 500mg of powder for $500 - enough to kill 1,400 people.
Ali was unaware that his source Psychochem was in fact an FBI agent who tipped off police in England and substituted the consignment of ricin for harmless powder.
After the father of two took delivery of a toy car with five vials hidden in the battery compartment, police swooped to arrest him at his home in Prescot Road, Liverpool.
Under ultraviolet light, Ali’s face lit up showing that he had handled the package which had been specially treated with a marker substance.
The court heard Ali approached the undercover agent in January with a private message: “Hi, would you be able to make me some ricin and send it to the UK?”
In a series of encrypted chats they discussed 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.”
In his defence, Ali told jurors that he was just “curious” and wanted to test the boundaries of the Dark Web unaware that ricin was illegal.
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