Weapon for A Murder: Sanford Faison, a 42-year-old Oakland native, has been sentenced to five years, nine months in federal prison for trying to purchase a chemical weapon on the dark web to kill his wife.
According to reports, in a desperate attempt to get full custody of their child, Faison, deemed it fit to resort to the dark web for a chemical weapon to kill his estranged wife. The plot, however, failed and not so lucky for Faison, he got caught by law enforcement. Along with his 71 months prison sentence, Faison also faces an additional five years’ probation condition, coupled with a series of fines.
During his sentencing last week, prosecutors stated that the chemical Faison attempted to purchase was a volatile, and colourless liquid but was highly flammable and very toxic which is easily absorbed through the skin. Further investigations revealed that, the liquid, when in contact with the human skin, can cause life-threatening conditions.
During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam slammed Faison’s behaviour and stated that his actions were deliberate and analytical with serious consequences all because of a rivalry between him and his wife. He added that Faison’s plan was well planned, and very much intended to end the life of his wife.
He took preventive measures to avoid running into any legal issues, which included, logging on to the dark web firstly, hiding behind a moniker and resorting to cryptocurrency for the transaction. He also used encrypted messages and also setting a drop address with an innocent person at the receiving end.
Faison’s failed plot came to light on December 3, 2017, when he posted to an anonymous forum of a dark web marketplace, asking for help on ways to use a solution he planned to acquire. His mild, friendly tone led to many suggestions from other people on the forum, had no idea what his intentions were. The FBI stated that Faison was planning on murdering his wife and was just out there seeking the best possible way to do it without any physical altercation. He finally decided that the lethal chemical weapon was the best way to go.
In his post on the dark web forum, Faison stated that he aims to ensure his wife’s death within a year and some months, adding that, that period will be long after their divorce was official. An unsealed criminal complaint filed in court revealed that Faison also stated that, the only way to turn a new page in his life and get full custody of his child was to end the mother of the child and his wife of 8 years.
“We currently live together, and I expect to have easy access to her environment and food for another two months at least,” Faison said. He also added that he felt that, chemical poisoning was going to reduce his guilt because it was going to delay the findings in the diagnosis and any further investigations.
Faison also reportedly had several detailed plans on how to make his wife come into contact wife the lethal chemical. These plans included sticking some of the compounds on her keyboard or her doorknob, putting some in her usual coffee and smearing some on her while she sleeps using an eyedropper.
Image Source: researchgate.net
Reports from the FBI suggest that Faison paid an amount of $75 worth of Bitcoin for the lethal chemical and $20 for its shipping.
Faison thought his plan was already a success as he reportedly found a seller and arranged for the package to be sent to one of his tenants in San Leandro. Unbeknownst to him, the seller was an undercover FBI agent who pulled the plug on the whole operation. On January 8, a package filled with surveillance equipment was later sent to Faison’s residence. One of the devices in the box signalled the FBI that, he had opened it and notified his seller that he had the package.
Later that night, agents executed a search warrant on Faison’s residence and questioned him. Faison admitted to using the dark web to acquire a chemical weapon to kill his wife. He also stated that he contemplated for a long time about hiring a hitman but then abandoned that that idea after he realized that would be equally expensive as getting a divorce. The search also uncovered a respirator, two sets of gloves and an encrypted cell phone used to track the package.
In April 2018, Faison, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared in court. Faison worked as a young mentor at Yahoo in 2017. He was currently an employer of PayPal before his arrest and prosecution.
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