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Tests link deadly ricin to suspect

TUPELO, Miss. — Ricin was found in the former martial arts studio of the man suspected of sending poison letters to President Barack Obama and other public officials, and was also discovered on a dust mask and other items he threw in the trash, federal prosecutors said in a court document made public Tuesday.

The affidavit says an FBI surveillance team saw James Everett Dutschke remove several items from the studio in Tupelo on April 22 and dump them in a trash bin about 100 yards down the street. The items included a dust mask that later tested positive for ricin, the affidavit said. Traces of ricin also were found in the studio, and Dutschke used the Internet to buy castor beans, from which ricin is derived, the affidavit said.

Dutschke, 41, was arrested Saturday by FBI agents at his home in Tupelo, and is being held without bail pending a preliminary and detention hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oxford. The FBI searched his home, vehicles and studio last week, often while wearing hazardous materials suits. Attention turned to Dutschke after prosecutors dropped charges against an Elvis impersonator who says he had feuded with Dutschke in the past, Paul Kevin Curtis.

Dutschke's federal public defender, George Lucas, had no comment Tuesday about the information in the affidavit.

If inhaled, ricin can cause respiratory failure, among other symptoms.

Tests link deadly ricin to suspect 04/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 12:13am]
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