Chemical Weapon Shopping Sends Dark Web User to Prison

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An American man who stole someone's identity and tried to purchase a chemical weapon on the dark web after going through a breakup has been sent to prison.

Forty-six-year-old Jason William Siesser admitted attempting to buy a highly toxic chemical in amounts capable of killing hundreds of people on two occasions between June 14 and August 23, 2018.

On August 4, 2020, Siesser pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to acquire a chemical weapon and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Siesser, who resides in Columbia, Missouri, attempted to mask his identity when giving dark web sellers his delivery address. Instead of using his own name, he gave the moniker of a minor whose identity Siesser used without authorization. 

On July 4, 2018, Siesser ordered two 10 milliliter units of the chemical on the dark web, paying in Bitcoin. When the seller didn't immediately dispatch the chemical, Siesser contacted them on multiple occasions to follow up.

The communication between Siesser and the seller indicates that the chemical was part of a short-term scheme devised by Siesser.

On July 19, 2018, Siesser told the seller that “I plan to use it soon after I receive it.”

On August 5, 2018, Siesser ordered three 10 milliliter units of the chemical—enough to kill approximately 300 people—and paid for the toxic substance with Bitcoin worth roughly $150. 

Siesser subsequently signed for a package delivered to his residence on August 23, 2018, believing it to be the chemical that he ordered. In reality, the drop was a controlled delivery of a dummy package containing an inert substance, which had been arranged by law enforcement.

Officers executed a search of Siesser's home, where they found approximately 10 grams of the toxic compound cadmium arsenide, which can be deadly if ingested or inhaled; roughly 100 grams of cadmium metal; and around 500 mL of hydrochloric acid. 

"Writings located within the home articulated Siesser’s heartache, anger and resentment over a breakup, and a desire for the person who caused the heartache to die," said the Department of Justice.

On April 6, Siesser was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

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