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.
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.
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.
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.
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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