An Ohio man was convicted this week for possession of the biological toxin ricin for use as a weapon, after a four-day jury trial in United States District Court in Cleveland.
Jeff Boyd Levenderis, age 58, was also convicted of one count of ricin possession and two counts of making false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The evidence and testimony introduced at trial showed that Levenderis produced ricin, a deadly biological toxin, at his home in Akron, Ohio, sometime after 2000 and kept it in his freezer until it was recovered by FBI agents in January 2011. The evidence showed that Levenderis intended to make a “weaponized” form of ricin, and that he planned to use the ricin against his stepfather and against first responders who might respond to a fire Levenderis planned to set.
Testimony at trial confirmed that the substance Levenderis manufactured contained active ricin and that it contained hundreds of lethal doses if inhaled or injected.
Additionally, the jury convicted Levenderis of possessing ricin of an unauthorized type or quantity without justification and with lying to FBI agents on two occasions when Levenderis denied making ricin, claiming it was only ant poison.
“The jury’s verdict confirms the danger posed by Jeff Levenderis in our community. Levenderis produced a dangerous biological weapon that could have been used in multiple ways to harm or kill innocent people,” commented United States Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach. “Ricin is a significant threat and the evidence showed the defendant meant to use it. As a result of this conviction, our community is safer.”