NEWARK, N.J. – A New York City pharmacist arrested on drug-related charges admitted in federal court that he had been trying to make weapons-grade ricin and other lethal toxins and had acquired weapons, body armor and manuals on violent confrontation, federal authorities said Thursday.
Jordan Gonzalez pleaded guilty Thursday morning in a federal courtroom in Trenton, New Jersey, to knowingly attempting to develop, produce and possess toxins and to possessing equipment for producing illegal narcotics.
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Paul Fishman, said the 34-year-old Gonzalez admitted he had been assembling equipment and materials to produce ricin, abrin and other toxins at his apartments in Jersey City and Manhattan. Gonzalez also obtained weapons, ammunition, body armor and survivalist-themed manuals.
"We all have seen the devastation possible when these behaviors go unchecked," Fishman said. "With today's guilty plea, Jordan Gonzalez will face justice and will not be a threat to society."
Gonzalez admitted in court Thursday that he had acquired the materials in anticipation of "using them in confrontations with other people in the future," according to the U.S. attorney's office.
The pharmacist was initially charged by federal authorities in New Jersey with trying to manufacture a controlled substance after authorities found he had made a series of purchases through an online auction of materials associated with the hallucinogen known as MDA.
He was arrested on November 14, 2013, in Jersey City and federal agents searched three locations he was using; a Jersey City storage unit and Gonzalez's apartments in Jersey City and New York City. Court papers show the searches turned up thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin, materials to extract and administer those toxins, and explosive precursor chemicals, including materials for making RDX, an explosive compound used in military and commercial demolition applications.
Authorities also found manuals on extracting ricin from seeds, guides for synthesizing explosives and making destructive devices, and numerous books and documents related to the collapse of social order and techniques for surviving in a lawless environment, according to court papers. Federal agents also found approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, handguns, components for assault rifles and submachine guns, high capacity magazines, a bulletproof vest and a crossbow pistol. Gonzalez also had materials and training manuals for synthesizing controlled substances.
Fishman credited the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the cooperation between federal and local law enforcement agencies, for detecting and disrupting Gonzalez's activities.
Gonzalez could face up to life in prison at his Sept. 17 sentencing.
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