Oakland Man Imprisoned for Attempting to Poison His Wife Using Toxic Substance from Dark Web
A man from Oakland has been put behind bars for buying a dangerous chemical on the dark web as a part of a plot to kill his wife, as reported by the FBI. The 41-year-old, identified as Sandford Bemi Faison, decided to poison his spouse as the two had become estranged, and he sought sole custody of their two children after their divorce.
Faison commenced his plans in December by using a fake name to message dark web vendors with questions on how to procure a toxic chemical. An affidavit read in the federal court revealed that he intended to murder his wife of almost a decade, but he wanted to know how to do so without drawing any suspicion towards himself.
The communication between Faison and the individuals on the dark web had been recorded and was presented in court as evidence. One of the messages written by Faison stated that he wanted to ensure his wife would die in 18 months, which would be long after their separation had been finalized.
He added that her death was the only means through which he could acquire full custody of his children. Another message stated that he and his wife were still living together, and so he expected it would be easy to poison her as he would have access to her food and environment for at least two more months.
Faison was sure that he would be the main suspect if anything bad happened to her. He, therefore, wished to poison her months after they had separated, so he would not be placed as the main suspect.
After acquiring the information he wanted, Faison came up with a number of possible ways to poison his wife with the chemical. These included contaminating her coffee, applying it to her keyboard or the handle to her car door, dropping the chemical in her best shoes, or dabbing it on her hand or foot while she was sleeping. He thought that using a chemical to murder his wife would reduce his liability to the crime by delaying an accurate diagnosis of her death, thereby undermining any investigations.
Using the same fake name, Faison purchased the chemical from a seller who was advertising it on the dark web. He ordered a 10ml vial for $95, a price inclusive of transportation costs. He then requested the seller to deliver it in January to his tenant’s address in San Leandro. Unknown to Faison, the seller was working for the FBI as an undercover agent, which led to the involvement of the Bay Area’s FBI anti-terrorism squad.
Faison later went to pick up his package which contained the chemical vial along with surveillance equipment that had been placed in the package by authorities so that they would know when the vial had been opened. Agents followed Faison to his house, and upon receiving a signal that the vial had been opened, they arrested him.
They also conducted a search of his premises whereby they recovered personal protective equipment, including a respirator and two pairs of gloves. They also found a cell phone that Faison had used to track the package.
According to Special Agent Emily Sung, Faison confessed to the crime during a recorded interview following his arrest. He also admitted that, prior to purchasing the chemical, he had thought of paying a hit man to eliminate his wife, but he later gave up on the idea after realizing it would be as expensive as the separation process.
On January 9, Faison was charged in court with attempting to obtain a chemical and use it as a weapon. The court provided details about his plot but declined to give the address of the darknet market he used nor the name of the poison that had been purchased. FBI authorities only described the chemical as a colourless, vaporous, flammable, and highly poisonous liquid that is easily absorbed through the skin and may have fatal systemic consequences when only as little as a drop of it is used. It is mainly used in chemical research and for a few other legal applications due to its toxic nature.
FBI agents wrote that Faison worked with PayPal and therefore had no legitimate reason to obtain the chemical. He is currently placed under federal custody, awaiting trial.