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UK man accused of attempt to buy ricin from FBI agent

LONDON (AP) — A British software engineer tried to buy enough ricin over the Internet to kill hundreds of people, and planned to test it by killing a small animal, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Mohammed Ali, 31, allegedly contacted a seller in the U.S. about buying 500 milligrams of the poison for $500. The contact, who used the names Dark Mart and Psychochem, was an undercover FBI agent.

Ricin is derived from the castor bean plant and is one of the world’s deadliest toxins. Prosecutors say the amount Ali sought would have killed between 700 and 1,400 people.

Ali was sent a toy car containing a harmless powder that he believed was ricin.

Police found a list on his computer with entries including “paid ricin guy” and “get pet to murder.”

His cellphone showed Google and Yahoo searches for “how to make ricin” and “what poison kills you quick, is foolproof, easily found/made, easily concealed and hard to detect post mortem.”

Ali denies attempting to possess a chemical weapon. Prosecutor Sally Howes told jurors at London’s Central Criminal Court on Tuesday that police found no evidence suggesting Ali was associated with terrorism activities or organizations.

She said defense lawyers would claim Ali wanted to buy ricin out of curiosity, and would produce a psychological assessment that Ali has traits associated with Asperger’s syndrome.

The trial is due to last two weeks.

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