WASHINGTON – A Missouri man was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole today for attempting to purchase a chemical weapon, capable of killing hundreds of people, on the dark web with Bitcoin.
Jason William Siesser, 46, of Columbia, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to acquire a chemical weapon and one count of aggravated identity theft on Aug. 4, 2020. According to court documents, Siesser admitted that he attempted to acquire a chemical weapon on two occasions between June 14 and Aug. 23, 2018. He provided a shipping address in the name of a juvenile, whose identity he used without authorization, to place the orders for a highly toxic chemical in amounts capable of killing many people. Siesser paid for the chemical weapon with the digital cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin.
Siesser ordered two 10 mL units of the chemical on July 4, 2018, and paid with Bitcoin. The seller did not ship the chemical weapon at that time. Siesser continued to contact the seller. On July 19, 2018, Siesser told the seller that, “I plan to use it soon after I receive it.”
Siesser ordered three 10 mL units of the chemical weapon on Aug. 5, 2018. Siesser again paid for the order with Bitcoin, the equivalent of $150, and provided a shipping address in the name of a juvenile. This quantity of the chemical weapon has the capacity to kill approximately 300 people.
A controlled delivery of a package that contained an inert substance was made to Siesser’s residence on Aug. 23, 2018. Siesser believed the package contained the chemical weapon he had ordered, signed for the package and took it inside the residence.
Law enforcement officers then executed a search warrant at Siesser’s residence. On top of a shelf in the garage, officers located the inert substance Siesser believed to be a chemical weapon. Officers also located two separate and seemingly unopened shipping boxes on the shelf next to it. They contained approximately 10 grams of cadmium arsenide, a toxic compound, which can be deadly if ingested or inhaled; approximately 100 grams of cadmium metal; and approximately 500 mL of hydrochloric acid. An invoice for these products showed they had been ordered together on March 30, 2018.