Woman who tried to buy chemical weapon on dark web gets 6-year sentence

by WorldTribune Staff, July 5, 2020

A Canadian woman who attempted to obtain a chemical weapon in the United States has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Sijie Liu. / Cass County Sheriff’s Office

According to court records, 37-year-old Sijie Liu of Winnipeg had in 2019 contacted an undercover FBI agent on the dark web to obtain the unidentified toxin.

Liu pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in North Dakota to one count of attempt to acquire a chemical weapon.

Liu is being held in Cass County Jail in Fargo. Court records say she’ll be held there until she can be transferred to Canada to serve her sentence.

Liu communicated to the FBI agent that she wanted to obtain a toxin and protective equipment to safely handle the chemical, court records show.

Around Feb. 12, 2019, the plea agreement says Liu placed an order for 10 milliliters of toxin, an apron, a mask, and gloves with a shipping address in Pembina, North Dakota.

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 Liu 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. She was 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 Liu was later overheard to say “that she has broken the law and was arrested” when contacting someone identified as her husband.

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