Matthews man accused of hiring hitman, buying 'radioactive substance' to poison roommate

Matthews man accused of hiring hitman, buying 'radioactive substance' to poison roommate

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A Matthews man is in custody after he allegedly tried to hire an undercover agent to kill a Charlotte man in a "murder-for-hire" plot.

An affidavit filed by a federal agent with the US Department of Homeland Security on Sunday said 26-year-old Bryant Riyanto Budi made contact with an undercover agent posing as a hitman about killing a second man living in his apartment.

The affidavit said Budi "used online usernames, encrypted messaging platforms and encrypted email services to disguise his true identity."

The undercover agent was "posing as a seller of illegal goods" on a website, officials say. That's when Budi allegedly asked the agent whether he or she knew someone who is a hitman.

The agent then redirected Budi to another person who would "provide hitman services," but it was the same undercover agent, court officials said.

"My enemy that I am trying to get has been making my life a living hell and extorting me for a year now," Budi told the undercover officer. "I was giving him the benefit of the doubt."

Budi reportedly asked the agent to "make it look like a robbery gone wrong," according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Budi was skeptical about hiring the supposed hitman after being burned by a previous person whom he had hired for the killing.

"The previous person I hired didn't do the job and left with my money," Budi allegedly told the agent.

During the conversation, Budi asked the agent to try and make it look like the victim ran away, court documents state. When the agent said it would be easier to make the victim appear as if he "disappeared," Budi agreed, according to court officials.

On April 27, Budi then told the agent that his victim is 30-years-old and lives in Charlotte, N.C. That's when Budi hired the agent and agreed to pay up to $4,000 worth of Bitcoin. Nearly a month later on May 18, Budi gives the agent the victim's name, height, address and his picture.

Court documents state that the suspect asked the agent to take a picture of his or her weapon that will be used in the alleged attack. The agent agreed and took the picture outside the victim's apartment, according to court documents. On Wednesday, the agent texted the suspect a picture outside the victim's apartment holding a firearm as requested.

The next day, Budi reportedly paid the UCA agent approximately $800 in virtual currency to kill his intended target, according to court documents.

Officers later tracked Budi's IP address to a Holiday Inn in Santa Barbara, California. Court documents state that Budi was the lessee for the apartment where his intended target lived.

In a separate attempted online transaction, the indictment filed over the weekend claims Budi also contacted an employee with the FBI to "purchase a lethal dose of a radioactive substance."

The suspect reportedly contacted the undercover FBI agent - who was posing as an on-line arms dealer - around the same time he hired the agent in the murder-for-hire plot.

According to the affidavit, Budi asked the FBI official whether they sold ricin, a radioactive substance "primarily created in nuclear reactors, is highly-toxic, and will likely cause death if ingested in small amounts."

"How do I know that you have is radioactive not some water solution?" the affidavit says Budi asked the undercover FBI agent.

He then reportedly asked how long it would take someone to die after ingesting the substance, according to court documents.

"I tried to poison him with something else, but it tasted bitter as soon as he took a swig at it so he threw up," the affidavit says Budi told the FBI agent. He then asked whether the substance would show up in an autopsy.

According to the affidavit, Budi told the undercover FBI agent he would be able to put the substance in food to poison the victim "until he dies."

The affidavit said a package of what appeared to be the radioactive substance was delivered to an friend of Budi's in Charlotte.

Budi was arrested Friday night after agreeing to meet the friend in Charlotte "to retrieve the package containing the inert radioactive substance."

Budi currently faces one count of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire plot. He could face more charges.

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