La Crescenta man pleads guilty to attempting to obtain ricin, said he intended to use it as weapon

LA CRESCENTA-MONTROSE, Calif. (KABC) -- A La Crescenta-Montrose man pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to obtain ricin and said he intended to use it as a weapon, authorities said.

Steve S. Kim, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of prohibition with respect to biological weapons.

"Ricin is an incredibly dangerous biological toxin - just a few tiny grains can kill a human," said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. "Because it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction and there is no antidote for ricin poisoning, any attempt to acquire this deadly chemical agent is an extremely serious matter that will prompt a vigorous response," Hanna said.

Kim attempted to obtain ricin in 2018 from what he thought was an online seller, but was an undercover FBI operative. During the negotiations, Kim said the ricin was for someone that weighed 110 pounds, according to authorities.

Kim was placed under arrest at his home in Nov. 2018 when he opened a package the FBI had delivered to him.

Kim is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, but the government agreed to recommend no more than 87 months in a plea agreement.

During an interview with law enforcement, Kim spoke about marital issues between he and his wife, but it was unclear how he intended to use the weapon.
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