Written by AARON CASTREJON
LOS ANGELES - A man accused of seeking out ricin to use as a biological weapon pleaded guilty Monday.
Steve Kim, a 41-year-old La Crescenta man, pleaded guilty to a single count of violating a federal criminal statute called prohibition with respect to biological weapons, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
An undercover FBI operative sold Kim what the latter believed to be ricin, an extremely-potent biological agent that can kill through only a few tiny grains. Kim tried to obtain the deadly biological agent over a two-month period in 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“During negotiations with the FBI operative, Kim stated that the ricin was intended for an individual who weighed 110 pounds, according to the plea agreement,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The operative sold Kim the fake ricin concealed in another substance for 320 Euros, (equalling $350 U.S. dollars) in bitcoin. The package was delivered to Kim’s Los Angeles workplace November 28, 2018. He was arrested after opening the package at his residence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Kim faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in federal prison, but after pleading guilty, the government agreed that it will recommend no more than 87 months.