An country man located in Los Angeles has been sentenced to 42 months in prison. The charges are for the attempt to purchase a biological weapon. Steve S. Kim, has been attempting to buy two deadly substances on the dark-net since 2018. The threat actor ended up buying ricin, a deadly toxin that can kill many in small amounts.
Leading to the Arrest
Steve has been looking at two options, cyanide and ricin. After deciding to buy ricin, he ended up paying $350 in bitcoin. Little did Kim know, the vendor he purchased the substance from was an undercover FBI agent. The purchase address was set to a commercial property. The USPS was in on the plot and helped the FBI with the arrest. A safe powdered substance was shipped to the location. After the package arrived, Steve picked it up and went home. As soon as he opened the package, agents raided his home.
Investigation & Prosecution
The fake dark-net vendor questioned Steve about his intents before selling the substance. He mentioned his intents to kill someone, he also mentioned that his target weighted about 110 pounds. Investigations found that Steve's wife weighs about 110 pounds.
In court, the defendant testified that he did not plan to use the substance on anyone but himself. He mentioned his intents to commit suicide and that he did not have any malicious intents. Following the comments Steven made online, prosecutors would not budge. Prosecutors wanted to sentence Kim to 7 years in prison, and were convinced he wanted to kill his wife. The prosecutors also mentioned the risks that such substances pose to normal civilians. Not only such amounts can be used to kill many, but it's a risk to postal workers handing the package. Prosecutors went on to talk about the risk both substances pose when inhaled and how they can both lead to death.
Steve pleaded guilty to 1 count. The violation of a federal criminal statute called prohibiting biological weapons. He was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison. Kim ended up admitting his intentions were unlawful. The director of the FBIs L.A. division went on to comment on the case. He intimated the danger that such cases pose to civilians. The director also showed his commitment in finding more criminals similar to Steve. Anyone trying to access biological weapons or weapons of mass destruction is on the FBIs scope.
This case is another example of agencies successfully tracking dark-net buyers. In this case, the FBI had undercover agents roaming online. Most markets do not allow the sale of such items. Any weapons are strictly prohibited on most dark-net markets. Markets that allow the sale of weapons should seize to exist. Despite that, it should be quite obvious that agents are probably roaming around normal markets.