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Undercover FBI employee on the Dark Web nabs Winnipeg woman trying to buy chemical weapon
WINNIPEG -- A Winnipeg woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for attempting to pick up a toxin in North Dakota.
According to court records, 37-year-old Sijie Liu pleaded guilty in a U. S. District Court to one count of Attempt to Acquire a Chemical Weapon.
The judgment, dated June 22, shows two other charges against her were dismissed.
The court documents say between February 15, 2019, and March 5, 2019, Liu contacted an undercover FBI employee on the “Dark Web.”
The court records say the defendant communicated she wanted to obtain a toxin and protective equipment to safely handle the chemical. Around Feb 12, 2019, the plea agreement says she placed an order for 10 millilitres of toxin, an apron, a mask, and gloves with a shipping address in Pembina, North Dakota.
Court documents did not specify the toxin ordered.
In an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Steven Noldin, on March 5, 2019, Liu drove a white Subaru Forester with a Manitoba plate through the border crossing at Pembina. Noldin says she presented a Nexus ID card and told a border guard she was going shopping for the day in Grand Forks.
Noldin’s affidavit says law enforcement observed the Subaru arrive at a parcel pickup in Pembina. It said, according to plainclothes officers inside the business, Liu used a fake name, Julie Chen. The affidavit said she picked up six packages for Julie Chen and one for a “friend” Sijie Liu.
The special agent says Liu was arrested upon her exit with a small flatbed loaded with the packages and transported to Homeland Security.
Noldin says before she was questioned she stated to officers, “I know what I did was wrong.”
The affidavit also says later she was overheard to say “that she has broken the law and was arrested” when contacting someone identified as her husband.
Liu is in custody in Cass County Jail in Fargo, but the court records say she’ll be held there until she can be transferred to Canada to serve her sentence.