'Breaking Bad obsessed' student arrested for producing ricin in his university bedroom
Student allegedly produced the deadly poison using a recipe found online
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Saturday 22 March 2014
A student has been arrested after allegedly manufacturing the deadly poison ricin in his university room.
Daniel Harry Milzman was arrested on Friday for illegal possession of a biological toxin, an FBI spokeswoman said.
The 19-year-old allegedly produced the substance using materials he purchased from local shops, according to court papers. Police said he discovered a recipe for making it online.
Somewhat bizarrely, Milzman, a student at Georgetown University, then reportedly decided to show some of the ricin to his residential advisor, which led to his arrest.
He is said to have told investigators that during the production process he wore goggles and a dust mask, which authorities later found in the room.
Milzman then used Epsom salts and castor beans, among other materials, to make the ricin in his halls about a month ago, according to the court affidavit, storing what he had produced in plastic bags sealed with hockey tape.
A federal laboratory tested the contents of the bags and confirmed that they contained the ricin toxin.
Joseph Laposata told WAMU his classmate was "obsessed" with AMC TV series Breaking Bad and believed Milzman may have been inspired by events in the programme.
Ricin is a highly toxic substance which naturally occurs in the seeds of the castor oil plant Ricinus communis. A dose the size of a few grains of table salt can kill an adult human if it is inhaled, injected or ingested.
Georgetown University said in a statement on Wednesday that no one had been found suffering from exposure to ricin, and that it had paid contractors who specialize in dealing with biological hazards to clean Milzman's room.
"There is no immediate threat to members of the Georgetown community," the statement said.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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