Illinois man facing bioterror charges for puffer fish neurotoxin

An Illinois man who is on currently on trial for plotting to kill his wife with deadly puffer fish neurotoxin could be facing bioterror charges.

Edward F. Bachner IV pleaded not guilty at a hearing last month to amassing a stockpile of the highly lethal poison with the intent of using on his wife in order to collect her $20 million life insurance policy, according to the Huffington Post.

Bachner was arrested in 2008 and charged with several accounts of possessing a biological toxin with intent to use it as a weapon. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Federal officials closed in on Bachner after he attempted to purchase more than 98 milligrams of tetrodotoxin, a poison found in several marine species, including the puffer fish, through a New Jersey chemical company, reports. Tetrodotoxin is extremely lethal, considered to be 1,000 more potent than cyanide.

While searching Bachner’s home, authorities found 45 vials of the poison, in addition to 50 knives, a handgun and a false identification badge from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Bachner had been using the name Edmond Backer and had created a fake research company in order to obtain the toxin, according to

A plea deal is expected to be announced at a hearing in the beginning of August.

Bachner and his wife have apparently reconciled. They were seen mouthing “I love you” to one another during the high-profile trial, reports.