SF man charged in bomb case allegedly bought lethal substances online

MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINERA bomb squad technician removes items from Ryan Chamberlain II’s vehicle in the Crissy Field parking lot after Chamberlain’s arrest.

MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINERA bomb squad technician removes items from Ryan Chamberlain II’s vehicle in the Crissy Field parking lot after Chamberlain’s arrest.

A San Francisco man arrested Monday night and charged with possessing bomb-making materials was using anonymous Internet sites last year to purchase illegal, and potentially fatal, toxins, according to an FBI search warrant unsealed today.

Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II has been charged with having bomb-making materials, although there is no mention in the search warrant of any such materials.

A joint federal investigation into an anonymous Internet marketplace led to Chamberlain when a witness brought a vial of white powder to the New York City police in February. That person said they had purchased cyanide and abrin — both lethal toxic substances — online in order to commit suicide, according to the warrant.

That led authorities to an individual in California who had sent those toxins to New York City. That same individual had sent a package to Chamberlain dated Dec. 5, 2013.

The seller, who was arrested on suspicion of firearms and explosives offenses in Sacramento on May 5, said he had sent Chamberlain a package and communicated with him online.

In those messages, Chamberlain said he had tried to buy ricin, a lethal toxin, but it was too expensive.

The FBI has said reports that ricin was found in his apartment were false.

Chamberlain also asked about abrin, another toxin. Specifically, he asked about dosing size and whether an autopsy could show that it had been used to kill a person.

“The initial purchase of abrin would be a trial run, and if it was successful, [Chamberlain] would use the abrin on a larger scale,” noted the warrant.

A vial was sent to Chamberlain from that same person, but it only contained ground rosary peas, which must further be processed to make abrin, according to the warrant.

Sometime after the December shipment, Chamberlain contacted the Sacramento seller and complained that the abrin didn't work.

Chamberlain contacted a third individual in Florida through the Internet to buy pure nicotine, another lethal toxin. Federal authorities learned of these details when they arrested that individual Jan. 18. The individual said a vial containing 140 to 200 milligrams of liquid nicotine was sent to Chamberlain in June 2013.

The warrant also mentions that Chamberlain was arrested on felony charges on two separate occasions, in 2003 and 2009. Both cases were dismissed. In 2003, he was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury and child cruelty. And in 2009, he was arrested on charges of battery and injury of a child.

Correction: This story was updated June 11 to correct the spelling of abrin.

: Ryan Kelly Chamberlain IIBay Area Newsbomb makingCrimeCrime & CourtsFBI

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read