U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray announced on 30th of November 2018 that Bryant Riyanto Budi, 27 years old, of Matthews, North Carolina appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer and has pleaded guilty to attempted possession of radioactive material with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury to another individual. Budi tried to buy radioactive substances from the darkweb between 22nd of April 2018 and 1st of June 2018 and faces life in prison.
Court documents reveal that the culprit contacted an undercover FBI agent on the darknet inquiring about a hitman. Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Christopher Nasca responded to the inquiry but added that they needed to switch their conversation from the hidden vendor’s messaging system to e-mail. After several e-mails were exchanged with prices, methods, and descriptions of the target, undercover agent raced from his office in New York to Charlotte. The conversations continued from e-mail to SMS where Budi asked for proof of the hitman’s seriousness. Budi asked for photos of the hitman’s guns and the target’s house, to which the undercover police officer complied.
Suddenly, agent Christopher Nasca receives intel from FBI about a person trying to buy radioactive substances to kill a civilian. The buyer specified his intentions to kill the “enemy” with the dangerous material. He asked for an unknown mixture of lethal substances that could kill a person the size, weight, and dimensions of his “enemy” which resembled very much to the descriptions of Budi’s murder-for-hire target. Later, Budi even told the agent that he was scammed by a hitman who was supposed to get the job done.
On the 31st of May 2018, a bait package was sent to Budi’s friend from college at an address in Charlotte. Budi had previously spoken with his friend about him picking a parcel from him. A bait package was then sent which led his arrest the next day.
Budi remains in federal custody and hasn’t received a sentencing date yet. Attempted possession of radioactive material carries life in prison, but the court will probably want to further evaluate the culprit’s mental health.