A man who attempted to buy a deadly toxin from the ‘dark web’, inspired by the hit TV series Breaking Bad, was jailed for eight years.
Mohammed Ammer Ali, 31 from Liverpool, was found guilty of attempting to have a chemical weapon in his possession. He admitted trying to buy ricin, but claimed he was motivated by curiosity after it featured on the TV show Breaking Bad.
He was sentenced at The Old Bailey to eight years on Friday (19). This followed a joint investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and Merseyside Police.
Ali, a computer programmer by profession, contacted a U.S. seller about buying 500 milligrams of ricin — enough to kill 1,400 people. However the contact was an undercover FBI agent, and Ali was arrested in February after he was sent a toy car containing a harmless powder.
The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said Ali’s actions created a “real risk”. He said: “Everyone needs to know that the possession of a chemical weapon is extremely serious and long prison sentences will follow. “I am afraid that because of the need for a deterrent sentence, the sentence will appear harsh to the defendant and his family.”
The judge continued: “I am satisfied that Mohammed Ali had no intention of disposing of ricin immediately. He intended to keep it. “That created a real risk that, at some stage in the future, he might decide to experiment with it or it fall into the wrong hands.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole said: “Ali attempted to buy a deadly poison and we can only speculate on what he planned to use it for, but in any case such as this, we take swift and decisive action.
“Thanks to the vigilance of officers from a number of different law enforcement agencies, we were able to intervene before this man did get hold of such a deadly substance from a genuine seller.
Anyone with concerns is urged to contact police on 999 in an emergency, or 101, or contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.