California consultant sought toxins online: FBI
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[June 07, 2014]
(Reuters) - The San Francisco public
relations consultant who was arrested for having bomb-making materials
in his apartment had sought toxins on an Internet black market for
dangerous materials, according to court documents unsealed on Friday.
A search warrant affidavit, which allowed the raid of 42-year-old
Ryan Kelly Chamberlain's apartment and his subsequent arrest on
Monday, was unsealed in a San Francisco federal court. The document
provided new details into the months-long investigation leading up
to his capture.
Chamberlain's attorney could not be reached immediately for comment
about the affidavit
The document, written by FBI agent Michael Eldridge, said
Chamberlain purchased a precursor to abrin - a biological toxin -
and pure nicotine through an online marketplace called Black Market
Reloaded. He also attempted to purchase ricin before balking at its
steep price, it said.
In May, agents questioned a Black Market vendor of toxins,
improvised explosives and guns from Sacramento who told agents that
he had done business with Chamberlain. The seller said Chamberlain
asked for samples of pure abrin to help ease the suffering of cancer
patients, according to the affidavit.
The vendor instead sold him two clear vials of ground rosary peas,
which can be converted into abrin, the affidavit said. The vials
contained enough peas to create hundreds of lethal doses of the
Small doses of abrin can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting and
even death within two days of being inhaled and there is no known
antidote for poisoning, the document said.
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In January, agents interviewed a separate Florida-based seller who
had been arrested for producing and selling ricin and abrin over the
web. The seller said he had sent 200 milligrams of pure nicotine to
Chamberlain, according to the affidavit.
Pure nicotine - as opposed to the kind used in cigarettes - is also
a potentially lethal poison when exposed to the skin, ingested or
inhaled in sufficient quantities, the document said.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Paul Tait)
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