Federal agents seized five pistols, two rifles, two shotguns and a small amount of a deadly chemical last month during searches conducted after the arrest of a Carmichael man who is accused of illegal gun sales and is believed to have sold toxic poisons nationwide to buyers over the Internet, according to newly unsealed court documents.
James Christopher Malcolm, 29, was arrested May 5 and indicted last week on weapons charges. Agents searched his Garfield Avenue home, his 2007 Chevy Trailblazer and two storage lockers he rented.
The results of those searches remained a mystery until Tuesday, when three of the four search warrant returns were unsealed in U.S. District Court filings in Sacramento, showing that agents seized the weapons, at least 32 computer hard drives, ammunition, Malcolm’s passport and instructions on how to convert Glock pistols to fully automatic weapons.
In the search of Malcolm’s home, agents also reported seizing a sample of sulfuric acid, as well as a sample of sodium azide, which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as a “rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical.”
The fourth search warrant return, listing what was seized from a storage unit in the 6200 block of Fair Oaks Boulevard in Carmichael, remained sealed Tuesday.
The newly revealed paperwork also indicated that agents did not seize anything from a storage unit Malcolm rented on Industry Drive in Sacramento County other than an eye patch and a set of coveralls, but they did take swab samples from a dolly handle, a wooden crate, a plastic box and the handle of a can of acetone.
Malcolm, who is being held without bail at the Sacramento County jail, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in federal court in Sacramento on four counts of illegally possessing a machine gun, and selling weapons and explosives.
Court documents filed in a separate case in San Francisco implicate Malcolm as being at the center of a secretive, Internet-based business that used encrypted websites, payment by bitcoins and code names to sell deadly poisons to buyers nationwide.
Those documents were filed in a case against former San Francisco political consultant Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II, who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt after the FBI suspected he possessed a homemade improvised explosive device.
Chamberlain was arrested last week, and court documents unsealed in that case late Friday indicate that Malcolm told FBI agents he had shipped a deadly poison to a “Ryan Kelly” at an address that turned out to be Chamberlain’s Polk Street apartment. The documents state the FBI National Laboratory in Quantico, Va., determined that the poison, abrin, shipped to Chamberlain “would be enough to constitute (conservatively) hundreds of lethal doses.”
Malcolm told agents that the San Francisco buyer who arranged for the shipment indicated “that he was seeking abrin to ‘ease the suffering’ of cancer patients.” But the buyer also indicated he had unsuccessfully sought to purchase another toxin, ricin, and that if the abrin shipped to San Francisco worked out he “would use the abrin on a larger scale,” the documents state.
Malcolm told the agents he was concerned with the story about easing cancer patients’ suffering and did not send pure abrin to the buyer, court documents say. The buyer later complained the abrin “did not work.”
The arrests stem from a joint investigation by the FBI, Homeland Security agents and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that began in April 2013 and probed a shadowy website known as “Black Market Reloaded,” court documents say.
The website is accessible only through a network designed to shield users’ identities or the Internet protocol addresses of their computers. Such networks are known as “Darknets” or the “Deepweb,” according to court documents.