Florida teenager arrested for alleged sale of toxin Abrin

A teenager in Florida was arrested on January 18 after an undercover Homeland Security Investigations Agent allegedly caught him illegally selling the potentially fatal toxin abrin on an underground, online black market.

The man in custody, Jesse Korf, 19, allegedly placed the toxin for sale on a website called "Black Market Reloaded," unaware that the supposed customer was really an undercover HSI agent, Southwest Florida Online reports.

"The criminal complaint alleges Jesse Korff was willing to sell a potentially deadly toxin to a stranger over the Internet," New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said, according to Southwest Florida Online. "He allegedly peddled the poison on a virtual black market of illegal and dangerous goods, hidden in the shadow of a secretive computer network favored by cybercriminals. Had this been an actual sale to a real customer, the consequences could have been tragic. Fortunately, an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a buyer was able to get a dangerous chemical weapon and its alleged seller off our streets."

Abrin is considered a Biological Select Agents or Toxins by U.S. law. When used as a weapon, abrin can cause organ failure, which leads to death. There is also currently no antidote for abrin poisoning.

"HSI has worked tirelessly with the FBI and other law enforcement partners to combat underground websites such as BMR," Special Agent in Charge of HSI Newark Andrew McLees said, Southwest Florida Online reports. "Anyone who can sell abrin, a potential agent for chemical terrorism, must be stopped. The arrest of Korff shows HSI's commitment to protecting the public from individuals who show a callous disregard for their safety in the interest of making a buck."