Complaint: "Segway Jeremy" wanted rare substance that would kill quickly
Federal investigators have unsealed a criminal complaint against a two-time Congressional candidate accused of attempting to purchase radioactive material online with the intent to use it to hurt someone.
Jeremy J. Ryan, 30, made an appearance in front of a federal judge in Madison Thursday where he was ordered to be detained on the basis that he could be a flight risk.
According to the criminal complaint, an FBI Online Covert Employee, also known as an OCE, had listed for sale on a website "several illicit items... including a radioactive substance." The substance described in the agent's listing is known to be highly toxic and deadly in small doses.
The website was not named, but the complaint states that it offers subsections for the sale of drugs, counterfeit goods, and weapons.
On March 16, the OCE received a private message from a user named "tigolebittes" (referred to as "TOB" in the complaint) inquiring "How much is included? And would it get to the US in time to still have time before half life?"
"TOB", later identified as Jeremy Ryan, provided his email address to the OCE so they could enter a conversation over an encrypted platform.
The complaint states that Ryan asked, "How long would it take the poison to kill someone after ingested? I'm looking for something that's very rare/ difficult to get a hold of. Also that doesn't show symptoms immediately but kills them fairly soon after. Preferably something that is not going to be extremely brutal and drawn out. But the main quality is that it is extremely difficult to procure so that people automatically suspect the government. Do you have something other than the [radioactive substance] that would be like that and also safe to ship?"
The OCE didn't hear from Ryan again until Oct. 2018. On Oct. 8, Ryan placed an order for the radioactive substance and paid with Bitcoin. The amount he spent was equivalent to $569, according to the complaint.
Ryan provided a shipping address to a location in Madison. It turned out to be a UPS store.
The OCE asked Ryan if he had access to his intended target. That target has not been identified.
"Yes I do have good access to the target," Ryan replied. "How long would they be very sick? And can they test for it after they are dead?"
Ryan said he'd like it to look like they "died from either cancer or cancer treatment if possible."
An FBI agent obtained a Mailbox Service Agreement from the UPS store. That agreement included Ryan's home address, email address and telephone number. The agreement also had copies of Ryan's Wisconsin driver's license and United States Uniformed Services Card.
On Oct. 15, Ryan was given a tracking number and instructions on picking up the package. On Oct. 24, the FBI saw Ryan travel to the UPS store and leave with a package.
He was later arrested in Black Earth.
If convicted, Ryan faces a sentence of life in federal prison.
Ryan was a familiar face at the 2011 Act 10 protests at the Wisconsin Capitol. He was known as "Segway Boy" and "Segway Jeremy" because he was regularly seen on one of the motorized vehicles.
In 2014 and 2018, Jeremy Ryan entered the Republican Primary for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District. The seat is currently held by outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The FBI says a man living in the Madison area wanted to buy radioactive material with plans to use it to kill someone. The Dane County Sheriff's Office identified him as two-time congressional candidate Jeremy Ryan.
FBI agents from Milwaukee and Chicago arrested Ryan, 30, in Black Earth, about 20 miles from Madison, and executed a search warrant at his home on Munn Road in the Town of Madison. The FBI says Ryan was arrested without incident Wednesday.
The FBI, citing court documents, says Ryan tried to buy a lethal dose of a substance on the internet in March and October. The FBI says Ryan intended to use it against an individual, who was not identified.
, Ryan unsuccessfully ran for state Assembly in 2012 as an independent and twice for the 1st Congressional District seat, in 2016 and 2018, as a Republican. He lost the congressional races in the primaries. Last August he received 6,221 votes, or 10 percent of the vote.
Ryan faces a federal charge of attempted possession of radioactive material with intent to cause death, which carries up to life in prison if he's found guilty.