A man who attempted to buy a potentially deadly toxin from the ‘dark web’ has been convicted.
Mohammed Ammer Ali, 31, was found guilty of attempting to have a chemical weapon in his possession contrary to the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, and the Chemical Weapons Act 1996.
He was convicted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 29 July with sentencing due to take place on 18 September 2015.
This followed a joint investigation by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) and Merseyside Police.
The information was passed to the NWCTU after law enforcement officers were covertly in communication with Ali over the dark web and during which he attempted to purchase the deadly toxin.
During these communications, he showed awareness of the drug’s toxicity and the potential for it to be used to cause considerable harm.
On 3 February 2015, he attempted to place an order with the law enforcement officers posing as sellers of the toxin and by 11 February, warrants were executed at five addresses in Merseyside and Ali was arrested.
During the execution of one of the warrants, a toy car was recovered which contained the substance which Ali believed was Ricin.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole of the NWCTU said, “Ali attempted to buy a deadly poison and we can only speculate on what he planned to use it for, but in any case such as this, we take swift and decisive action.
“Thanks to the vigilance of officers from a number of different law enforcement agencies, we were able to intervene before this man did get hold of such a deadly substance from a genuine seller.
“I want to reassure our communities that the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and local police are well aware of the potential dangers associated with internet activity on the ‘dark web’. Law enforcement agencies use a range of investigative techniques to monitor and police unlawful internet.