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Bitcoin, Cops, Dark Net and Ricin — the Breaking Bad Way

Avatar Gautham 5 years ago

Television shows are mostly works of fiction and things don’t turn out the same way in real life. A Liverpool based software engineer and father of two found it out the hard way.

Mohamed Ammer Ali, a software engineer by profession living in the United Kingdom was recently arrested and sentenced to prison after he tried to do some Breaking Bad style shopping. According to reports, Mohamed tried to buy ricin, a potent poison on dark web earlier this year. He ordered 500mg of ricin under the screen name “Weirdos 0000” and paid for it in bitcoin.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depends on the perspective) he ended up dealing with an undercover FBI agent. FBI later tipped off the UK authorities, particularly the North-West Counter-Terrorism Unit who carried out a sting operation, which was followed by his arrest. Mohamed was put on trial which concluded last Wednesday with a guilty verdict for possession of a chemical weapon.

According to Mohamed, he was curious to know whether he can buy things over the dark web using bitcoins and he got the idea of ordering ricin in particular after watching one of the episodes of Breaking Bad. As part of the sting operation, the cops had delivered a harmless substance in five vials just like he ordered after being influenced by Breaking Bad.

Investigations revealed no connections between any terrorist groups and even though Mohamed’s reasons for ordering ricin seems valid, the jury wasn’t convinced. Given the nature and quantity of toxin involved, which is capable of killing over 1400 people, his explanation wasn’t convened to the prosecutors.

A review of this incidence opens a can of worms showing how bitcoin can be misused over the dark web for dangerous activities and also about the law enforcement agencies monitoring web traffic. However, it is a relief that there was no untoward incidences and hope justice prevails whether it will be in Mohamed’s favor or not, will be known during the sentencing scheduled for some time in September.

Full Story –  The Guardian

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