A Florida man pleaded guilty Tuesday to producing and selling ricin and abrin and sending some of the deadly toxin overseas to a woman who wanted to kill her mother.
Jesse William Korff, 19, pleaded guilty in federal court in New Jersey to several counts of producing, developing, possessing and smuggling the toxins and one count of conspiring to kill a person in a foreign country. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in November.
Abrin is found in the seeds of the tropical rosary pea plant and is similar to ricin, a poison that comes from castor beans. Abrin is used in medical research because of its potential to kill cancer cells, but it also is a deadly poison for which there is no antidote, according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. attorney's office said Korff, of LaBelle, Florida, used an underground Internet marketplace called Black Market Reloaded to sell the toxins to buyers in India and Europe. One of the shipments allegedly went to a woman in London who said she wanted to kill her mother.
Korff was arrested in January after he set up a transaction with undercover agents at a rest stop outside Fort Myers, Florida. According to the affidavit in the case, in one email exchange, Korff told the agent, "I guarantee it will work ... if you drop the abrin in someone's drink Wednesday he will be dead Friday and there is no way to trace it after 24 hours of ingestion."