08.12.14

Korff case closed

Posted in Ricin Kooks, War On Terror at 2:09 pm by George Smith

Rosary peas — the source of abrin. Number of fatalities from abrin poisoning in the last decade: zero.

Jesse Korff, a nineteen-year old from LaBelle, Florida, today pleaded guilty to a murder conspiracy involving abrin and ricin and the smuggling of those poisons. He stands to be sentenced to life in prison.

From this blog, in February:

A 19-year-old boy in south Florida is set to be imprisoned, possibly for life, as the result of a federal investigation of the Black Market Reloaded website, a replacement for the infamous Silk Road, where there were “numerous offerings for the sale of illegal and harmful goods, including but not limited to biological agents, toxins, firearms, ammunition, explosives, controlled substances, counterfeit goods and fraudulent documents,” according to an FBI document …

Jesse Korff of Labelle, Florida, was arrested by agents of the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations when he delivered two vials of liquid containing a small but detectable amount of the poison abrin to them. It was the final part of a transaction started on the Black Market Reloaded site when one of the undercover men contacted Korff, inquired about buying the poison and advanced him 1.608 Bitcoin for it.

Like the Silk Road, Black Market Reloaded was hosted on the encrypted Tor network where many people seem to still believe federal agents cannot get at them. Black Market Reloaded was subsequently taken down and the sting shows that Homeland Security and the FBI are well into operations aimed at keeping similar websites and Bitcoin markets for crime under heavy surveillance.

In an FBI press release on the matter today, Korff was also linked to a British case noted in this blog around the same time:

A banker accused of trying to kill her magistrate mother at their Stratford home by lacing her Diet Coke with a poison more deadly than ricin is to stand trial in July after appearing at Southwark Crown Court today where she was further remanded in custody.

Kuntal Patel,36, is alledged to have plotted to kill Meena Patel,54, using abrin – a rare poison extracted from the seeds of a Peruvian plant.

She was arrested by counter terrrorism officers at the £450,000 home they share in Park Road earlier this month after US homeland security is believed to have tipped off Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command about a website based in the US which specialised in selling lethal toxins.

She is not facing terrorist charges, but is accused of attempted murder between December 10 2013 and January 26.

Today’s FBI release does not mention Kuntal Patel by name but it is quite obviously the same case, an arrest stemming from Homeland Security and the FBI’s investigation of the Black Market Reloaded website:

In December 2013 Korff provided a quantity of abrin to a purchaser in London who claimed she intended to kill her mother. After the purchaser’s receipt and administration of the initial dose, which she claimed was ineffective, Korff agreed to provide a second quantity of the toxin in order to assist the purchaser in the implementation of the murder plot.

Before Korff had an opportunity to smuggle the second dose of abrin to the London purchaser, a federal undercover agent contacted Korff through BMR and negotiated the sale of two liquid doses of abrin. Korff told the buyer about his delivery methods—concealing vials in a carved-out and re-melted candle—and discussed how much abrin was needed to kill a person of a particular weight and how best to administer the toxin. Korff also assured the buyer that a victim’s death would appear to be similar to a bad case of the flu.

Following Korff’s arrest, FBI agents searched Korff’s property over three days and recovered several computers, castor beans, rosary peas, capsules, vials, jars, syringes, filters, respirators and other items commonly utilized in the manufacture, production, sale, packaging, and shipping of toxins and chemical substances. Among the items recovered was a liquid dose of abrin that Korff had intended to ship to the London purchaser.

Nineteen year olds can’t make weapons of mass destruction. They can, however, use old literature published by the American neo-Nazi and survivalist violent right in the Eighties to make powders and liquids containing some small amount, to be identified by federal laboratories, of the poisons ricin and abrin.

These recipes now exist in digital form. And through technological progress the products from them can be marketed on black internet sites. In much the same way the original poison recipes were distributed world-wide on underground hacker bulletin board systems in the Nineties.

Another summary of that world, along with original notice of the arrest, is included here at Jesse Korff and the legacy of The Poisoner’s Handbook.

Images for castor plants and crab’s eye — the latter being the source of abrin, are here and here, respectively.

Both can be found in Florida.

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