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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

Monday, September 29, 2014

Akron Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Possessing Ricin

Jeff Boyd Levenderis, age 58, of Akron, was sentenced to six years in prison for possessing the biological toxin ricin for use as a weapon, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cleveland office.

Levenderis was convicted on four counts -- one count of possessing a biological toxin for use as a weapon, one count of possessing ricin and two counts of making false statements to FBI agents -- earlier this year following a trial.

The evidence and testimony introduced at trial showed that Levenderis produced ricin, a deadly biological toxin, at his home in Akron, 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. The evidence also showed that Levenderis planned to use the ricin against his stepfather and against first responders who might respond to a fire Levenderis planned to set at his house as part of an elaborate suicide plan.

Testimony at trial confirmed that the substance Levenderis manufactured contained active ricin and that it contained hundreds of lethal doses if inhaled or injected.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd and Om Kakani and Erin Creegan, Trial Attorney with the National Security Division of the United States Department of Justice. The conviction resulted from an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Updated March 18, 2015