Complaint: ‘How long would it take to kill,’ former congressional candidate asks of lethal substance

A former Wisconsin Republican congressional candidate will appear in federal court Thursday after being arrested Wednesday by the FBI in Black Earth.

Jeremy Ryan, 30, has been charged with attempted possession of radioactive material with intent to cause death.

Ryan attempted to purchase a radioactive substance online, according to the criminal complaint. Court documents allege Ryan tried to buy the material to kill an unnamed man. The seller of the material was an undercover FBI agent.

Ryan was on a hidden service website that is a publicly accessible marketplace and forum, according to a criminal complaint. The marketplace and forum for the website facilitates the sale of various illegal products, including drugs, counterfeit goods and weapons.

The undercover FBI agent received a private message March 16 on the marketplace regarding radioactive substances he had for sale on the site, officials said.

The user asked the undercover FBI agent how much substance is included in the purchase and if it would get to the U.S. in time to still have time before half-life, according to the complaint. Ryan eventually ordered the lethal poison that the agent claimed to custom make.

Using encrypted emails, Ryan asked “how long would it take the poison to kill someone after ingested? I’m looking for something that’s very rare/difficult to get ahold of. Also that doesn’t show symptoms immediately but kills them fairly soon after,” according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, Ryan also wrote, “Preferably something that is not going to be extremely brutal and drawn out. But the main quality is that it is extremely difficult to procure so that people automatically suspect the government. Do you have something than the [radioactive substance] that would be like that and also safe to ship?”

Ryan paid 0.086018 Bitcoin for the substances, which was equivalent to approximately $569, according to the complaint.

The complaint does not name Ryan’s target, but said the person is 6 feet tall and weighs 220 pounds.

According to the complaint, Ryan asked how long it would take for the person to get sick and if officials can test for the substance after they are dead. Ryan also told the undercover agent he wanted it to look like the person died from cancer.

Ryan asked for the substances to be mailed to a UPS store on Odana Road in Madison.

The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Madison Police Department and other agencies were involved with the investigation.

Ryan run unsuccessfully for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s seat in the 1st Congressional District. He is scheduled to appear in court at 11:30 a.m. If convicted, Ryan could spend life in prison.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.