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article imageS.F. explosives suspect pleads innocent to weapons charges

By Nathan Salant     Jun 16, 2014 in World
San Francisco - San Francisco political consultant Ryan Chamberlain pleaded not guilty Monday to federal weapons charges despite new allegations that he already had assembled a bomb.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Kearney told a federal judge that Chamberlain, who was the subject of a brief national manhunt before his arrest June 2 at Crissy Field, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge, had built an "aggressive weapon" that was found in a shoulder bag.
"It was ready to go," Kearney said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
"This was a fully functioning device," he said.
U.S. Magistrate Nathanael Cousins ordered Chamberlain held without bail at San Francisco County Jail until the suspect was given a complete mental health evaluation, the newspaper said.
Kearney told the court that Chamberlain, a well-known figure in local politics who advised mostly conservative political campaigns, also had castor beans in his possession when his Polk Street apartment was searched on May 31.
Castor beans contain the poison ricin.
Prosecutors have not suggested why Chamberlain would have possessed these items, nor explained why they think he searched the internet for information about other poisons and bombs, the newspaper said.
Chamberlain was active on a site called Black Market Reloaded, a successor to shuttered black market site Silk Road, prosecutors alleged.
Kearney also told the judge Monday that Chamberlain's seized iPhone and iPad indicated the suspect had searched the internet for information about bombs, killing, poison, ricin and arsenic, the newspaper said.
But Chamberlain's attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Jodi Linker, said Monday that she would not speculate on why her client had materials identified by the FBI besides being someone who was "playing around with electronics and having gadgets."
Chamberlain returns to court Thursday for further discussion of his mental health, the newspaper said.
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