A British man who allegedly attempted to order the highly toxic poison ricin through the darknet says that his interest in the substance was sparked by Breaking Bad. Ricin was featured in the TV show several times over its five seasons, including in the final episode.
In a related story by the Inquisitr, read about a suspected real-life Breaking Bad incident.
Speaking at the Old Bailey, Mohammed Ali, of Liverpool, said that he was interested in the darknet, and that he wondered whether you could actually “get anything” from the sites. After watching Breaking Bad, ricin was on his mind, the Guardian reports.
“I was interested in the darknet and ricin. I just wanted to know what the fuss was about. I wanted to know can you actually get anything from these sites.”
He went on to say that on the darknet, he found “lots of different items ranging from drugs, guns, other illegal items, and because I had been watching Breaking Bad I just had ricin in my mind.”
However, the seller that Ali allegedly did business with was, in fact, an undercover FBI agent. The Daily Mail reports that Ali, who used the username “Weirdos 0000,” contacted the seller, known as “Psychochem,” and allegedly arranged to have 500 mg of ricin delivered to his home. Ricin is deadly in extremely small amounts, with just 1.78 mg capable of killing an average adult.
The Guardian quotes the message transcript between “Weirdos 0000” and the FBI Agent.
“Hi, would you be able to make me some ricin and send it to the UK?” Ali asked, with the FBI agent saying in his reply that it wouldn’t be difficult.
“Yeah, no problem. I specialise in ricin. I have liquid or powder available right now 200 US dollars. UK should not be a problem.”
Ali was arrested after what were described as “special batteries,” accompanied by a toy car, were delivered to his home. The batteries contained packets of powder, but no ricin, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr. Ali said that he did not know ricin was illegal and counted as a chemical weapon, and he denies attempting to possess a chemical weapon, the Guardian reports.
Arguing in Ali’s defence, Dr. Alison Beck said that it appeared that he displayed behavior consistent with Asperger’s syndrome. She said that his attempt to buy ricin was born from an interest in pushing technology as far as it can go, with his interest in ricin being sparked by Breaking Bad, according to Metro.
“I think that so far as I understand it, Mr Ali was motivated with pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the technology.”
She went on to say “the relevance of the Dark Net was to procure ricin and that idea was implanted in his brain having watched the series Breaking Bad.”
BBC News reports that Ali said he had planned to dispose of the powder the day that he was arrested.
According to the Guardian, Mr. Ali said he had a long history with computers, and that he once stole £250,000 from online payment provider Paypal, with his father needing to sell one of his shops to pay the company back. He also said that he made another £17,000 by scamming the British firms Argos and Tesco, as well as Amazon.
It was also reported that although Breaking Bad may have sparked an interest in ricin, Ali said he was interested in the darknet before he began watching the show.
[Lead image via Breaking Bad wikia, other image by HediBougghanmi2014, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0]