Election 2020

Candidate Who Ran for Paul Ryan's Seat Accused of Trying to Buy Radioactive Material to Kill Someone

Jeremy Ryan is removed from the state assembly gallery by Wisconsin State Patrol officers at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., on June 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, M.P. King)

A candidate who twice ran for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 1st congressional district seat tried to buy radioactive material online in order to commit a murder, according to an FBI complaint.

Jeremy Ryan, 30, ran against Paul Ryan in 2014 as the only other candidate on the GOP primary ballot, and got 5.7 percent of the vote. After the House speaker announced his retirement, Jeremy Ryan again ran in this year’s GOP primary but lost the August election with 10.4 percent of the vote. He lost a 2012 bid for the state assembly running as an independent, and is a well-known protester at the state capitol.

Jeremy Ryan was arrested Wednesday and charged with attempting to possess radioactive material with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury.

The criminal complaint says Ryan contacted an undercover FBI online operative through a website that “contains numerous subsections advertising the sale of various illegal products, including drugs, counterfeit goods, and weapons.” The FBI employee had posted various illegal items for sale, including radioactive material.

The FBI wouldn’t identify the website, stating a need to not ruin other sting operations there.

After asking the FBI employee in March about different products for sale, Ryan allegedly focused on a product described as custom-made “lethal poison.”

“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?” Ryan asked via email, according to the FBI.

Ryan didn’t contact the FBI employee again until this month, the criminal complaint states, when he ordered the substance and gave the shipping address of a UPS Store in Madison, Wis. He asked about shipping time and tracking info.

The FBI employee asked Ryan about the details of the intended victim in order to custom-make the dose. “Not that it will affect but curious how does it exhibit? No symptoms for a while then quick and painless or how does it work? Also is there any way they can test for it? And if not what will they say it was? 6′ 220 lb man. Thanks!” the FBI says Ryan replied.

“I do have good access to the target. How long would they be very sick? And can they test for it after they are dead?” he allegedly added.

Ryan was arrested after he picked up his package from the UPS Store.

He appeared in court today and the judge ordered that he be held until a Monday detention hearing. He faces up to life in federal prison on the charge.