Jordan Gonzalez, 34, who moved to New York City from Jersey City before his arrest in November, faces a long prison term.
Federal prosecutors said nothing about his motives after the hearing in Trenton. The items seized when he was arrested included handbooks on the collapse of social order and surviving a disaster, prosecutors said.
"Jordan Gonzalez admitted today that he worked to manufacture and deploy deadly toxins, stockpiled weapons and body armor and acquired manuals training him for violent confrontation," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "We all have seen the devastation possible when these behaviors go unchecked. With today's guilty plea, Jordan Gonzalez will face justice and will not be a threat to society."
Gonzalez was arrested in Jersey City after investigators searched apartments there and in Manhattan and a Jersey City storage unit. Thousands of castor oil seeds, the source of ricin, and rosary pea, which contains abrin, were seized along with manuals on making explosives and weaponizing toxins.
Between September 2011 and March 2013, Gonzalez also purchased filtering equipment and weapons, including a cross-bow pistol. He apparently came to the attention of authorities when he ordered a kilogram of sodium azide, a highly toxic and explosive compound, on Nov. 8, 2013.
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