Activist, failed congressional candidate indicted in attempt to buy radioactive material case

MADISON, Wis. - A man suspected of attempting to buy radioactive material was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin.

U.S. Attorney Scott C. Blader's office said in a news release that Jeremy J. Ryan, 30, from the Town of Madison, was charged with attempting to possess radioactive material with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury. 

Ryan was charged with the offense in a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court on Oct. 25. According to the news release, federal law requires that felony offenses be charged by an indictment returned by a grand jury within 30 days of the date a criminal complaint is filed.  

According to the criminal complaint, Ryan tried to buy the material from an undercover FBI agent online in an effort to kill an unnamed man.  The undercover FBI agent received a private message on the marketplace March 16 regarding radioactive substances he had for sale. Ryan allegedly wrote that he was looking for something "preferably ... 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." 

Ryan has also claimed that he bought the radioactive material as a backup plan, in case his cancer returned, to end his life, according to a judge's detention order at the time of his arrest. 


Ryan has been in federal custody since his arrest in Black Earth on Oct. 24. His arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 11:30 a.m.

If convicted, Ryan faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison,  Blader's office said.

Ryan ran unsuccessfully for House Speaker Paul Ryan's seat in the 1st Congressional District as a Republican. He is also a high-profile Capitol protester known as "Segway Jeremy"  and "Segway Boy."   

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