A 29-year-old man is suspected of violating Germany’s weapons law after police found a deadly toxin in his apartment. A local newspaper reported that the suspect came to Germany in 2016 and had terrorist sympathies.
Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has issued an arrest warrant for a 29-year-old man after police found highly toxic ricin in his apartment in the western city of Cologne.
Public prosecutors suspect the Tunisian citizen of violating the War Weapons Control Act and are investigating whether he was preparing a “serious act of violent subversion.”
Special police and fire units found ricin during a raid of the suspect’s home late on Tuesday. Possession of the highly toxic substance is restricted by a 1997 international convention on chemical weapons.
Exposure causes organ failure and death can occur within 36 to 48 hours, according to Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, which categorizes ricin as a “potential biological weapon.”
The suspect first came to Germany in November 2016, local daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reported. He reportedly had sympathies for the “Islamic State” (IS), the Islamist terror group that has carried out attacks in Europe and fought in the war in Syria.
Authorities had been observing him for some time, according to the newspaper. Police reportedly decided to raid his home after discovering that he had ordered ricinus seeds online.
A police spokesperson told Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that authorities could not rule out terrorism as a motivation.
German news agency dpa reported that the suspect’s wife, who was also in the apartment on Tuesday, is not suspected of any involvement in the man’s alleged plans.