Florida man Jesse William Korff arrested for selling deadly toxin abrin online

6:50 PM, Jan 21, 2014   |    comments
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  • Jequirity is a source plant of the deadly toxin abrin. Photo courtesy US Geological Survey



Fort Myers, Florida (News-Press) -- Federal agents have arrested a LaBelle man accused of selling a deadly toxin through an underground internet marketplace.

Jesse William Korff, 19, was arrested Saturday on charges of possession and transfer of a toxin for use as a weapon and smuggling goods from the U.S. He will appear in federal court in Fort Myers at 1:30 p.m. Korff will then be transferred to federal court in New Jersey - where the charges originated.

Korff arranged to sell the toxin abrin to an undercover agent via a website called "Black Market Reloaded," according to a FBI release. Homeland Security Investigations was investigating illicit sales via the website, which provides a platform for anonymous sales of biological agents, toxins, firearms, ammunition, explosives, narcotics and counterfeit items.

Korff and the undercover agent agreed on a price of $2,500 for two doses of the poison. Korff said he would leave the package, containing poison hidden in two hollowed-out candles inside a fast foot bag, at a rest stop about 10 miles outside of Fort Myers.

Korff told the undercover agent how much abrin would be needed to kill a person of a particular weight, and how best to administer the poison, according to the FBI release. He assured the agent the victim's death would appear to be a bad case of the flu.

Korff dropped off the package at the pre-arranged date and time, and the agent collected the candles which were found to contain liquid doses of abrin.

Abrin is a natural poison found in the seeds of a plant called the rosary pea or jequirity pea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is similar to ricin, and can be a powder, mist or pellet, or it can be dissolved in water. Abrin has not been used in any known wars or terrorist attacks, according to the CDC.

Abrin can be lethal if ingested, inhaled or injected even in small doses, and can cause death within 36-72 hours, according to the FBI release.

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