Man who tried using Bitcoin to buy chemical weapon capable of killing 300 jailed

A heartbroken man who tried to buy a lethal chemical weapon using Bitcoin has been jailed.

Jason William Siesser, 46, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty last August to attempting to acquire the weapon and to aggravated identity theft.

The Columbia, Missouri local admitted trying to buy the toxic compound, which is capable of killing up to 300 people, on two separate occasions in the summer of 2018.

It's thought he may have been planning a deadly chemical attack in the wake of an upsetting breakup, with the target believed to be his former partner.

Siesser used the dark web and gave the seller a shipping address in a minor's name, the Justice Department said.

His first attempt on July 4, 2018 saw him order two 10-millilitre units of the chemical, which he paid for with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

After the seller failed to ship the chemical, Siesser tried to contact them and said: "I plan to use it soon after I receive it."

A month later he ordered three 10-millilitre units of the weapon and paid for the order with Bitcoin, then valued at $150 (£110). This quantity would be enough to kill approximately 300 people, police said.

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Police intercepted the order and a "controlled delivery" of a package containing a harmless substance was made to Siesser's home on August 23.

"Siesser believed the package contained the chemical weapon he had ordered, signed for the package and took it inside the residence," the Justice Department said.

Officers later searched the home and found the substance on a shelf in his garage, along with "two separate and seemingly unopened shipping boxes on the shelf next to it".

Inside was "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".

"An invoice for these products showed they had been ordered together on March 30, 2018," the Justice Department added.

Police also found troubling "writings" in Siesser's home which pointed to a potential motive for his orders.

These notes "articulated Siesser's heartache, anger and resentment over a breakup, and a desire for the person who caused the heartache to die," the Justice Department said in a press release.

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