- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

CHICAGO, March 14 (UPI) — A self-styled anarchist who called himself "Dr. Chaos" was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison in the first use of a decade-old law against possession chemical weapons.

Stephen Konopka also faces a maximum 20-year sentence April 11 in Milwaukee for vandalizing television and radio towers, natural gas pipelines and sabotaging electrical substations that blacked out more than 30,000 customers near Green Bay, Wis.

Konopka, 26, a former computer technician from DePere, Wis., pleaded guilty to storing a pound of sodium cyanide and about a quarter pound of potentially deadly potassium cyanide in a storage area in the Chicago Transit Authority's downtown Blue Line tunnel.

Before sentencing, he apologized for causing the line to shutdown on a Saturday night last March after police discovered the chemicals.

Prosecutors said Konopka's plea bargain was the first time anyone had been charged with possession of a chemical weapon under a 1990s law.

"These chemicals could easily have been converted to a lethal gas," said Assistant U.S. Attorney M. David Weisman.

U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen ordered Konopka to undergo drug and mental health treatment while in prison.

The alleged computer hacker was arrested with a 15-year-old accomplice a year ago in an underground steam tunnel at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The boy said they stole the cyanide from an abandoned warehouse nearly a year earlier.

Police also recovered keys, burglary tools, and drawings of the subway system, a Global Positioning System device, a radio scanner and a stolen laptop computer.

Konopka denied he was a terrorist and said he had thought about suicide on at least one occasion. He said he had kept the poison for "no good reasons."


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