New York Man Who Tried Buy Ricin From Darknet in FBI Sting Found Guilty
The darkest side of darknet shopping.
A jury decision came down guilty Thursday for the New York man who wanted to fabricate “easy death pills” from poison bought off the darknet, the Associated Press reported. The drug in question is ricin, the toxin favored by Soviet-era umbrella-wielding spies and by black-hat Walter White, and the dark marketplace was the now-defunct site Evolution.
According to the prosecution, 22-year-old Cheng Le, who went by “WhenInDoubt” on Evolution reached out to “Dark_Mart” — in reality, the feds — to purchase ricin. Within the month the FBI had shipped the fake poison to Le; when the agency raided his home the FBI found the fake drug and castor beans (ricin is derived from the seed), prosecutors said, and Le’s computer was logged onto Evolution. Le’s attorney plans to appeal the verdict and says there is no proof Le was the person who had bought the poison.
Evolution was [a successor to Silk Road](http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/06/how-the-fbi-just-made-the-world-a-more-dangerous-place-by-shutting-down-silkroad-2-0-and-a-bunch-of-online-drug-markets/ — though, apparently, it was an even darker place, selling weapons and toxins, not just drug contraband. Late last year, Evolution was targeted in an FBI move against the darknet but did not close until March 2015; the Guardian reports that the operators bilked the users for about $12 million in Bitcoin.
Le faces up to life in prison for charges of trying to use a biological weapon.