Man Charged With Buying 800 Castor Beans To Make Deadly Ricin Poison

by : Saman Javed on :

Man Charged With Buying 800 Castor Beans To Make Deadly Ricin PoisonLinkedIn/Schnobby/CC BY-SA 3.0

The director of advanced research at a biotechnology firm has been charged with obstruction of justice after allegedly attempting to make a deadly poison using ricin.

Ishtiaq Ali Saaem, from Pennsylvania, placed an order online for 100 packets of castor beans, each containing eight seeds. Ricin is a deadly poison that can be extracted from the beans of the castor oil plant.

The mass order sparked suspicion with law enforcement officials, leading them to question Saaem on why he needed so many of the seeds.


He said he purchased the beans for planting in his apartment for decoration purposes but had accidentally bought 100 packets instead of one.


However, according to the US attorney’s office for the district of Massachusetts, he later researched tasteless poisons that could be made at home. While purchasing castor beans is not illegal in the US, extracting ricin from them is.

In another meeting with law enforcement, he insisted that he had only bought them for decoration. ‘When, in reality, it is alleged that he purchased them to use to extract ricin,’ the attorney’s office said.


If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 (£180,000).

In September 2020, a Canadian woman was charged for allegedly posting a letter containing ricin to Donald Trump, who was president at the time.

Donald TrumpPA Images

Prosecutors believe Pascale Ferrier sent a letter that was intended to reach Trump at the White House, however it was discovered before it could get there.


In the letter, Ferrier asked Trump to bow out of the presidential race. It was allegedly laced with ricin and had her fingerprints on her.

‘I found a new name for you: ‘The Ugly Tyrant Clown’,’ she said in the letter, as per BBC News.


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‘I hope you like it. You ruin USA and lead them to disaster. I have US cousins, then I don’t want the next 4 years with you as president. Give up and remove your application for this election.’

She also referred to the poisoned note as a ‘special gift’, writing: ‘If it doesn’t work, I’ll find better recipe for another poison, or I might use my gun when I’ll be able to come.’


Ferrier is also facing separate charges in Texas, where prosecutors say she mailed ricin to six detention centres and several Texas law enforcement agencies.

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Topics: News, Massachusetts, Now, Pennsylvania, Poison, Poisoning


US Attorney's Office and 1 other
  1. US Attorney's Office

    Pennsylvania Man Charged with Obstruction of Justice Relating to Attempts to Acquire Ricin

  2. BBC News

    Pascale Ferrier: White House ricin package suspect in court