A federal grand jury has indicted a 21-year-old man accused of making the deadly toxin ricin from a recipe he found on the Internet.
Alexander Joseph Jordan told an FBI agent he got the idea from watching the television show Breaking Bad, about a chemistry teacher who decides to make and sell methamphetamine to help his family's financial situation.
Jordan was charged Wednesday with knowingly possessing ricin without obtaining a registration, as required by the Public Health Service Act, according to a news release from Cody Hiland, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Arkansas.
Jordan was arrested Feb. 27.
Police and paramedics were dispatched to Jordan's residence on Horseshoe Loop after receiving a 911 call Feb. 22. The news release identified the address as Little Rock, but Hiland said the residence is in Saline County, south of Little Rock.
Jordan lives there with his mother and stepfather, according to court testimony Feb. 28.
Jordan called 911 saying he feared he had ingested ricin and was having heart problems, diarrhea and blurred vision, FBI Special Agent Katie Rowbotham testified during a Feb. 28 detention hearing in federal court in Little Rock.
Jordan was transported to UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock, where he was treated and released.
Jordan told investigators he was considering killing himself by ingesting the ricin, but that he had no intention of harming anyone else, Rowbotham testified.
Jordan told investigators that he accidentally sloshed some of the liquid on his hands when he was mixing it in the blender, and then touched his hand to his mouth. He also told them that he planned to turn it into a powder, but initially was "very hesitant to say what he was going to do with it then," Rowbotham testified.
"Jordan told police officers at the hospital that he produced two mason jars of the ricin mixture, and the ricin and production materials were still at his house," according to the release. "He stated that he learned how to make the substance on the Internet and got the idea from watching the television show Breaking Bad."
Little Rock Fire Department hazardous-material teams were immediately dispatched to the residence, where they found two small Mason jars containing a white substance. A blender was later found in a trash can.
Tests from samples on the blender and both Mason jars were positive for ricin, according to the release.
Agents also recovered a receipt from Amazon.com for 50 castor beans and paperwork that appeared to be a shopping list and instructions for ricin production, according to the release.
Ricin is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein that is produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, according to the release. A dose of purified ricin powder the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult.
"Jordan produced and possessed ricin, a deadly and highly toxic substance, which could have severely affected the safety of our citizens," said Diane Upchurch, special agent in charge of the Little Rock FBI office.
"Obviously, it was an incredibly serious situation that posed a significant risk to public safety," Hiland said.
Interviews with Jordan's friends and former co-workers at Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff indicated he was upset about losing his job, Rowbotham testified in the Feb. 28 hearing. But Jordan described it as a mutual decision rather than being fired.
He also had been treated for depression and was being discharged from the Army National Guard because of it, the agent acknowledged under questioning by defense attorney Nicole Lybrand of the federal public defender's office.
On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth Deere ordered Jordan to be sent to a facility in Fort Worth for a mental examination.
Metro on 03/08/2018
Print Headline: Federal jurors indict man, 21, on ricin charge; Charges say Saline County man concocted toxin at home from Internet recipe