North Georgia Men Sentenced for Plot to Possess a Deadly Biological Toxin
ATLANTA—Ray H. Adams and Samuel J. Crump have been sentenced to federal prison for possessing and conspiring to possess the biological toxin ricin for use as a weapon.
“Both the words and actions of these defendants supported an idea dangerous to our democracy—that violence is justifiable when citizens grow frustrated with government,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This case demonstrates that we must remain vigilant in protecting our country, not only from the threat posed by international violent extremists, but also from those within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.”
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Today’s sentencing of Adams and Crump concludes a thorough and extensive investigation as well as an equally extensive and intensive prosecution. On this occasion, we would like to remind the public that the FBI’s absolute number one priority is to prevent another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. We believe that we did that here. While the FBI fully understands and respects our citizens’ rights to free speech, our investigations into these matters always look at the overt actions taken in furtherance of the free speech. While only time would tell the true intentions of these individuals, the FBI and its law enforcement partners cannot wait and the public expects no less from us.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the evidence, and testimony presented in court: Between March 2011 and November 2011, Ray H. Adams and Samuel J. Crump conspired to produce and possess ricin, a deadly biological toxin. During this time period both defendants and others attended meetings where participants discussed targeting various government officials, including employees of federal agencies. These meetings were monitored by FBI agents through the attendance of a confidential source, who recorded the meetings and provided the information to the FBI.
During a recorded meeting in September 2011, Crump stated that he wanted to make ten pounds of ricin and disperse it in various cities, including Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Ga. Crump described a scenario for dispersing the ricin in Atlanta in which the toxin would be blown from a car traveling on interstates. Crump allegedly also said that he possessed the ingredient used to make the toxin and cautioned the source about the dangers of handling it.
On November 1, 2011, FBI agents arrested Crump and Adams and executed search warrants at their residences. During a search of Adams’ residence, agents recovered castor plants, castor beans, a recipe for extracting ricin from castor beans, five mason jars and other items. During a search of Crump’s residence agents also recovered castor beans. On December 1, 2011, agents searched a storage unit rented by Crump and recovered castor beans and a copy of the same ricin recipe recovered during a search of Adams’ residence.
In June 2013, after receiving information that Adams had successfully extracted ricin from the castor beans, FBI laboratory testing detected ricin in the five mason jars seized from Adams’ property. In July 2013, based on the presence of ricin in the five mason jars, the FBI obtained and executed a second search warrant at Adams’ residence and seized 28 additional mason jars, some labeled as fruit preserves. In November 2013, laboratory testing confirmed the presence of ricin in the 28 mason jars.
FBI experts found that the ricin detected in mason jars was in its non-active state and experts were unable to determine whether the ricin would have been lethal if it were inhaled or ingested. There is no evidence that Adams distributed any jars of preserves that contained ricin.
Adams, 58, of Toccoa, Ga., has been sentenced to ten years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Crump, 71, also of Toccoa, Ga., has also been sentenced to ten years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Adams and Crump were found guilty by a jury on January 17, 2014.
This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes agents of the FBI, Federal Protective Service (FPS), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Assistance in this case has been provided by law enforcement agencies from Habersham County and Stephens County (Georgia), and the District Attorney’s Office for the Mountain Judicial Circuit.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey A. Brown and William L. McKinnon, Jr. prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.Pressefirstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.