YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Jersey City pharmacist today admitted in federal court that he tried to develop, produce and deploy the potentially deadly toxins ricin and abrin as weapons.
Jordan S. Gonzalez, 34, old U.S. District Court Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton that he also stockpiled weapons and body armor and collected training manuals for violent confrontations.
“We all have seen the devastation possible when these behaviors go unchecked,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. “Even small doses of ricin and abrin are potentially lethal to humans if ingested, inhaled or injected – causing death within 36 to 72 hours from the time of exposure.
“With today’s guilty plea, Jordan Gonzalez will face justice and will not be a threat to society,” Fishman said.
From September 2011 through March of last year, Gonzalez admitted, he bought thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin, along with materials to extract and administer the toxins, at his Central Avenue apartment ( photo, above ) and a storage facility near the Tonnelle Circle.
This included including filtering equipment, respirators, glass vials, a spraying device and projectile weapons — including a crossbow pistol.
He also bought materials for making RDX, an explosive compound used in military and commercial demolition applications, Fishman said.
Gonzalez used an online third-party vendor that delivered all the materials to Jersey City. Manuals he collected taught him extraction and deployment methods.
Fishman said Gonzalez also had manuals showing how to make improvised explosive devices and synthesize explosive compounds, including RDX.
This was all done, Gonzalez told the judge today, in anticipation of using them in confrontations with others.
Last November, while living in New York, Gonzalez bought a kilo of sodium azide, a toxic, gas-forming compound that can explode at high temperatures and is lethal if ingested or absorbed through the skin.
Federal agents intercepted the delivery and arrested Gonzalez in Jersey City.
Search warrants were executed at three locations the FBI he used: apartments in Manhattan and Jersey City and the Tonnelle U-Haul storage unit.
“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 one thousand 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,” Fishman said in a release.
Gonzalez also acquired manuals for synthesizing controlled substances, including methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) — Ecstasy, the U.S. Attorney sid.
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, Fishman said.
Possession of that type of flask is prohibited if intended for use in the manufacturing of controlled substances.
Fishman credited agents from the Newark FBI and DEA offices with making the case.
He also thanked members of FBI Newark’s Joint Terrorism Task Force; FBI’s New York Office and Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Laboratory Division; DEA’s New York Division; and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness for their work on the case; as well as the police and fire departments of Jersey City and the City of New York and the New Jersey State Police for their assistance.Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Judson Welle of Fishman’s National Security Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Navarro of the office’s Criminal Division, both in Newark.
“Valuable support was provided by attorneys of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division – Counterterrorism Section,” Fishman said.
Sentencing was set for Sept. 17.