A licensed New York City pharmacist, who was arrested in Jersey City in 2013, was sentenced to 78 months in prison for attempting to weaponize the deadly toxins ricin and abrin, as well as for possessing a prohibited flask he intended to use for manufacturing illegal narcotics, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced last week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Jordan S. Gonzalez, 34, of New York, formerly of Jersey City, previously pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton before being sentenced on Friday.
From Sept. 18, 2011, through March 19, 2013, Gonzalez purchased thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin, and materials to extract and administer those toxins to others, including filtering equipment, respirators and glass vials, officials said.
Even small doses of ricin and abrin are lethal to humans if ingested, inhaled or injected—causing death within 36 to 72 hours from the time of exposure. There are no known antidotes.
Gonzalez also obtained conventional weapons, such as crossbows, spraying devices, and other items to deliver the toxins. He admitted he attempted to make these toxins in preparation for future confrontations with others, authorities said.
Gonzalez also obtained firearms, body armor, and precursor materials for the manufacture of military-grade explosives and improvised explosive devices. Gonzalez made the purchases through an online marketplace through which third-party vendors in the United States and abroad sell products to members of the public, court documents show.
Gonzalez learned how to extract toxins from the seeds and about methods to administer them to other persons from manuals he acquired. He also acquired manuals for making improvised explosive devices and synthesizing explosive compounds, officials said.
On Nov. 8, 2013, while living in Manhattan, Gonzalez purchased one kilogram of sodium azide, a toxic, gas-forming compound that can explode at high temperatures and is lethal if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Law enforcement officers intercepted the delivery during the investigation, authorities stated.
On Nov. 14, 2013, Gonzalez was arrested in Jersey City and search warrants were executed at three locations he used: apartments in Manhattan and Jersey City and a storage unit in Jersey City, the indictment says.
Collectively, material collected through the searches included thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin; explosive precursor chemicals; manuals related to toxins, explosives and improvised explosive devices; approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, handguns, components for assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines; a bulletproof vest; and books and documents related to the collapse of social order and techniques for surviving in a lawless environment, officials stated.
Gonzalez also acquired manuals for synthesizing controlled substances, including methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as “ecstasy,” according to court documents.
He bought and had delivered to the Jersey City apartment a three-neck round-bottom flask, gel capsules and an encapsulating machine, as well as precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of MDA and MDMA. Possession of that type of flask is prohibited if intended for use in the manufacturing of controlled substances, authorities said.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cooper sentenced Gonzalez to five years of supervised release.
“The sentence imposed today on Jordan Gonzalez is an appropriate response to his efforts to manufacture and deploy toxins as deadly weapons,” Fishman said in a statement Friday.
“He was preparing for a violent confrontation that fortunately never occurred because the excellent response by our law enforcement partners stopped him before anyone was hurt.”