Akron man convicted after making deadly ricin, planning to use as weapon

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AKRON, Ohio — An Akron man has been convicted of possessing ricin and planning to use it as a weapon in an “elaborate suicide plot.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jeff Boyd Levenderis, 58, was found guilty of possessing the biological toxin ricin for use as a weapon, possession of ricin and making false statements.

According to prosecutors, Levenderis produced ricin — a deadly biological toxin — at his Akron home sometime after 2000. He reportedly kept it in his freezer until it was recovered by FBI agents in January 2011.

Evidence showed that he intended to make a “weaponized” form of ricin and use it against his stepfather and any first responders who might respond to a fire he planned to set at his home.

Testimony showed that the substance Levenderis made contained hundreds of lethal doses if inhaled or injected. He told FBI agents the substance was only ant poison.

“The jury’s verdict confirms the danger posed by Jeff Levenderis in our community,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. “Levenderis produced a dangerous biological weapon that could have been used in multiple ways to harm or kill innocent people. Ricin is a significant threat and the evidence showed the defendant meant to use it. As a result of this conviction, our community is safer.”

“Levenderis brought extreme danger to our community by producing and weaponizing this deadly substance,” said Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI Cleveland Division. The jury did an outstanding job handing down these much deserved guilty verdicts.”

Levenderis will be sentenced on a future date.