Published July 01, 2008
LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. – A suburban Chicago man was charged Monday with possessing an illegal toxin found in puffer fish.
Edward Bachner, 35, was charged with one count of illegal possession of tetrodotoxin, a felony. He was being held in federal custody pending a detention hearing Wednesday.
Using the alias Edmond Backer, Bachner allegedly claimed he was a doctor when he ordered 98 milligrams of the toxin from a New Jersey chemical company, the FBI said. An employee of the company became suspicious due to the large amount ordered and alerted the FBI.
Bachner was arrested Monday when he allegedly tried to get the tetrodotoxin from a member of the FBI, authorities said. Bachner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, according to the FBI. His telephone number was unlisted.
It's not clear why Bachner wanted the toxin, authorities said.
Tetrodotoxin is a poison so potent the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it can "produce rapid and violent death." It is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Puffer fish, called fugu in Japan, is consumed by thrill-seeking gourmets once the poison is removed. Eating the toxin can cause paralysis, vomiting, heart failure and death.