Man uses Bitcoin to buy chemical weapon ‘after bad break up’

<p>Physical imitation of a Bitcoin at a crypto currency “Bitcoin Change” shop, near Grand Bazaar, in Istanbul</p> ((AFP via Getty Images))

Physical imitation of a Bitcoin at a crypto currency “Bitcoin Change” shop, near Grand Bazaar, in Istanbul

((AFP via Getty Images))

A Missouri man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempting to purchase a chemical weapon capable of killing hundreds of people using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, in a plan to poison a woman who had ended a relationship with him.

Jason William Siesser, 46, of Columbia, Missouri, pleaded guilty on 4 August 2020 to one count of attempting to acquire a chemical weapon and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to federal court records.

Mr Siesser admitted to the authorities that in the summer of 2018 he twice attempted to purchase dimethylmercury from the dark web, an area of the Internet accessible through a special browser that is often used by criminals to anonymously purchase illegal items.

For both of the attempted orders, Mr Siesser provided the name and shipping address of juveniles placed in his custody through the group home he worked for.

Dimethylmercury is highly toxic and just a few drops can prove fatal, with the compound classed as a chemical weapon when it is not used for scientific research purposes.

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He first attempted to buy two 10-milliliter units of the chemical in July 2018 and paid the supplier with Bitcoin, telling the seller that “I plan to use it soon after I receive it,” according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

After his first order was unsuccessful, Mr Siesser attempted to order three 10-milliliter units of the chemical a month later, again paying using Bitcoin worth around $150 (£108) at the time. The DOJ said that the quantity was enough to kill 300 people.

A delivery of an “inert substance” was then made to Mr Siesser’s residence a week later, and the 46-year-old signed for it and brought it inside believing it was the toxic chemical.

The authorities then searched his home finding the box that Mr Siesser wrongly believed to contain the substance in a shelf in his garage, alongside two other unopened boxes of toxic substances.

The DOJ said that the boxes contained “approximately 10 grams of cadmium arsenide, a toxic compound, which can be deadly if ingested or inhaled; approximately 100 grams of cadmium metal; and approximately 500 mL of hydrochloric acid.”

Officers also discovered writing by Mr Siesser in his home, where he expressed his anger towards a woman who had recently ended a relationship with him and his intention to kill her.

“They say I should let it go But my hatred’s just too strong,” Mr Siesser wrote. “Letting go of anger is the right thing But it makes me feel so strong I dream about your ending You burn up in flames You suffocate on your own blood Your soul completely drained,” he added, according to the DOJ.

One of the juveniles whose name was used by Mr Siesser for the purchases, claimed that the 46-year-old had also told him that he wanted to be an assassin and kill people who had wronged him, including his ex-wife and a woman who said she did not want to see him anymore after three dates.

When interviewed by investigators, Mr Siesser claimed that he wrote fictional stories about men getting revenge on their ex-girlfriends.

“In one story, a man used a fertiliser spreader to lace a woman’s yard with asbestos, which ultimately killed her decades later,” the DOJ said.

“In another story, a man locked a woman in scuba gear in a submerged box so she would die when her oxygen tank was depleted,” the department added.

On Tuesday, Mr Siesser was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole after appearing remotely for his hearing in US District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri.